Health ministry moots 5-yr jail, Rs 50 lakh fine for ‘magic cure’ ads
In a draft amendment to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements Act), 1954, the health ministry has proposed a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh for advertising medicines, products and other “magic remedies” for hair growth, fairness and improving sexual functions, among others.
The draft amendment has added 24 new conditions to the existing 54 for which remedies cannot be advertised, including conditions such as AIDS, fairness, power to rejuvenate, change of the sex of a foetus, increasing memory and brain function and premature ageing, among others.
Online advertisements have also been included under the ambit of the 66-year-old law.
“New conditions were added and punishments have been increased for putting up objectionable advertisements in the new draft. In a meeting of the department, it was felt that the current act was not adequately regulating these advertisements. In fact, now even when we take action in some cases, the advertisers can get away with paying a very small sum of money and hence it wasn’t a deterrent,” said AK Nasa, head, Delhi’s drug control department.
The proposal came after the Advertising Standards Council of India raised concerns over misleading advertisements on the basis of consumer complaints.
The draft has been placed in the public domain for comments for a period of 45 days.