The Union ministry of Ayush will soon amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 to prohibit misleading advertisements of Ayurveda, Siddha & Unani drugs.
Presently, there are no regulatory provisions for pre-censorship on advertisements. Action is taken whenever violation of Advertisement Code is brought to the notice of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or the advertisement is found to be in contravention of the provisions of Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder.
In fact, the Ministry in consultation with Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board (ASUDTAB) had already framed and notified draft rules for prohibition of misleading advertisements of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani drugs in the Official Gazette vide GSR No. 396(E) dated 4th April, 2016 to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
At present, complaints about the misleading content of the advertisements of ayurvedic medicines received in the Ministry of Ayush from any source are forwarded to the concerned State Licensing Authorities with the direction to take necessary action in accordance with the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules thereunder. In several cases, the state authorities have reported to have taken actions.
The ministry is now amending the law as it is aware of the sale and advertisement of ayurvedic medicines through TV channels which are required to adhere to the Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules framed thereunder.
At present, there are some mechanisms in place for quality control of products sold or promoted through advertisements. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee to look into the violations of advertisement code suo-moto or whenever violations of the advertisement code are brought to the notice of the Ministry in respect of private TV channels. The Inter-Ministerial Committee meets periodically and recommends actions in respect of alleged violations reported. An advisory was also issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 21.8.2014 advising all TV channels not to telecast advertisements which were found to be violating the provisions of Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Code and also Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954.
As part of the self-regulatory initiative of the industry, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a voluntary body of advertisement industry, promotes self-regulation of advertisement content by monitoring and deciding on complaints against advertisements making misleading, false and unsubstantiated claims of the products including ayurvedic medicines.