National level committee to discuss action plan to address rampant violation of Drugs and Magic Remedies Act
To take head on the growing trend of misleading advertisements with false health claims broadcast across several media, the Union Ministry of Ayush has formed a high level committee to look into the rampant violations of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable advertisement) Act (DMR Act) 1954 in the country over the past few years. Joint Secretary Ministry of Ayush PK Pathak is the chairman of the committee.
The committee which is scheduled to meet this month will look into the cases of DMR violations and subsequent actions taken by the respective state drug controllers in the country to control the advertisement of spurious ayurvedic drugs and to prohibit the advertisements connected with remedies alleged to posses magic qualities.
Based on the deliberations, an action plan will be chalked out to curtail the growing menace of advertisements targeted at vulnerable section of people suffering from diabetes, impotence, obesity and debilitating ones like cancer among other such 35 ailments like hormonal disturbances, female genital tract problems, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, breast enhancement etc.
Dr DC Katoch, Advisor, Ministry of Ayush, Dr S P Shani, deputy drug controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Shweta Purandare, secretary general, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Dr CD Sherat, deputy commissioner, Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA), Dr Suhas Walchale, Technical Officer, Ayush, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr Pradeep Multani, general secretary, Association of Manufacturers of Ayurveda Medicines (AMAM), Dr JLN Shastry, joint secretary, AMAM, Shagun Tulsyan from Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers’ Association (ADMA), Dr Galib from Pharmacovigilance, Academy of Hospital Administration (AHA), New Delhi, Dr Muzamil Rehman, research officer, Ministry of Ayush, Dr Rachna Paliwal, research officer, Ministry of Ayush and Dr G C Gaur from Ministry of Ayush are the other members of the committee.
Against the backdrop of Maharashtra FDA having scrutinised over 4, 000 such cases of misleading advertisements, Maharashtra FDA also recently set up a special task force under Maharashtra FDA Minister Girish Bapat to address the issue which of late has been endangering public health in the name of increasing stamina, treating impotency, height enhancement and enhancing skin complexion among others.
Seven joint commissioners from seven zones in Maharashtra are the members of the task force. The task force will devise action plan and strategy to tackle the growing menace of misleading ads lacking clinical evidences and outcomes endangering patient safety.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra FDA launched around 87 prosecutions under DMR violations under Section 3(d) and Section 4 of the act in the past one year. It also sent 389 show cause notices to the manufacturers and the people involved in violating the norms.
Maharashtra FDA in some of its notices have stated that advertisement of ayurvedic products like ‘Razor Slim’ and ‘Play Win’ capsule published in the print media is objectionable under the DMR Act. The advertisement makes false claims that the said products are for the condition of treatment of obesity and increasing stamina respectively.
According to the notice, the regulator has directed the publications to immediately stop broadcasting of said advertisement. As per official sources, over 90 per cent of notices served in Maharashtra are to the electronic media alone.