Dubious health advertisements on television claiming to improve one's sexual performance or reduce weight without exercise will be under the government's scanner.
The consumer affairs ministry has decided to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to find out whether these claims are based on any scientific evidence or are being made to cheat the consumers.
"We are considering consumers point of view," a senior ministry official said.
Television channels during night hours are flooded with advertisements making all sorts of claims to improve health in a short period of time. Some people fall for them.
"Not knowing its implication a person took a medicine shown in advertisement claiming to end backache with few days. Instead, the person found himself in a hospital for a major operation due to inflammation caused by the medicine," the official said.
Apparently, the case triggered the consumer affairs ministry to have an in-depth look at such advertisements. The National Consumer Helpline has been receiving several complaints against fake advertisements but the government was not able to take any action.
For the first time, the government has constituted a committee consisting of officials from ministries of consumer affairs, information and broadcasting and health.
The committee also has representatives from the Advertising Standard Council of India, National Consumer Grievance Redressal Commission and civil society organsiations.
The consumer affairs ministry has already prepared a list of dubious advertisements which the inter-ministerial committee will discuss at its first meeting by July end.
Ministry officials said if the committee decides to take action the I&B ministry is competent as per rules to stop an advertisement or a programme from being aired. It can issue directions to the private television channel for violation the advertising code.
"We are looking for a broad policy direction in this regard," the official said.