Against the backdrop of several instances of violations to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act (DMR Act) last year, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently filed First Information Report (FIR) against Mumbai based weight loss firm Dr Bhavana Shah’s Fitness Highway Slimming Beauty and Wellness Pvt Ltd for publishing misleading advertisement in a reputed national daily making a false claim that it is FDA approved.
FDA officials informed that making false claims about the treatment of weight loss by the centre like advance weight loss and that the treatment offered is FDA approved is in violation of certain sections of IPC and Magic Remedies Act. Around 160 notices were served in Thane and 121 in Mumbai last year in violation of the DMR Act. This is the first such case which has come up this year.
“With centres at Borivali, Khar and Andheri, Dr Bhavana Shah’s Fitness Highway Slimming Beauty and Wellness Pvt Ltd had published the advertisement during January this year and stopped publishing it further after a show cause notice was served to them by the FDA. They again repeated the same offence on May 2, 2014 by publishing the same advertisement with the false claim,” said S T Patil, joint commissioner, Konkan Division, FDA.
A team of FDA officials raided the premises of the centre following the misleading advertisement and enquired about the drugs used or the therapy involved but the staff at the centre failed to give a satisfactory answer on their claims. “Therefore, we had to file an FIR against them at Amboli Police Station in Andheri West area of Mumbai. This also amounts to violation of IPC under its non-cooperation clause. The directors of the company were supposed to furnish authentic clinical details about the therapy and other relevant details which they failed to give,” explained an FDA official.
Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, seeks to curtail undesirable advertisements pertaining to drugs and magic remedies because advertising is considered to encourage self medication of harmful drugs. The Act lists the diseases and disorders in respect of which advertising is banned (Under Section 3 and Schedule of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954.
The main objective of DMR Act is to control the advertisement of drugs in certain cases and to prohibit the advertisement connected with remedies alleged to posses magic qualities and to provide for matters connected therewith. Under the DMR Act, the definition of “Magic Remedy” includes a talisman, mantra, kavacha and any other charm of any kind which is alleged to possess miraculous powers for or in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease in human beings or animals or for affecting or influencing in any way the structure or any organic function of the body of human beings or animals.