In a major crackdown on misleading advertisements for aphrodisiacal drugs, the Maharashtra Food and Drugs Department has asked around 14 companies to correct their promotional campaigns.
A senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officer, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. said officials from across the state seized stocks worth Rs 5 lakh of the five alleged aphrodisiacs.
The officer added that five companies - including the one that uses the image of a snake inappropriately - changed their promotional campaign altogether.
FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade confirmed the development. "It is a continuous process and we do it very seriously.
We are still compiling information from all districts," he told the Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
The FDA's task involved verifying more than 100 advertisements by the companies that promoted their products - capsule, oils and sprays - on billboards in print or electronic media.
The officials found some advertisements objectionable on medical grounds under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (objectionable advertisements) Act 1954.
The act specifies that no person or company can advertise about a drug that is used for the treatment of sexual impotence, among other medical disorders, unless prescribed by registered medical practitioners.
Offenders can be punished either with imprisonment extended to six months, a fine, or both for a first-time conviction. It may extend to a one-year imprisonment or with a fine or both on subsequent convictions.