On February 03, 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, put forth a proposal to amend the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954, in view of major concerns raised on implementation and effectiveness of the same.1
The health ministry has noticed that there are major concerns regarding the effectiveness of the act; and in response the ministry has proposed that any suggestion regarding the amendment of the bill may be forwarded within 45 days from the date of issue of the notice, by email on email@example.com or by post to Under Secretary (Drugs Regulation), Ministry of Health. All the suggestions shall be taken into consideration within the period of 45 days for finalization of the notification.
- The act shall be called the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Act, 2020, and shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
- n the new amendment, the government has substituted a clause in section 2, for clause (a) which states that " 'advertisement' means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner, poster or such other documents".
- The sub clause of section 3 of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 states that Prohibition of advertisement of certain drugs for treatment of certain diseases and disorders for "the maintenance or improvement of the capacity of human beings for sexual pleasure; or. The new amendment also includes a sub clause after sub clause 2 of section 3 which states that "after consultation with Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board constituted under section 33C of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 in respect of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani system of medicines."
- In case of repeated violation, imprisonment may extend to five years with a fine up to Rs 50 lakh.
- The draft bill has also expanded the list of diseases from 54 to 78 on which the ministry prohibits any advertisements which claim to cure "any" of the 78 diseases, disorders or conditions that it has specified. The current law identifies 'magic remedy' in the form of a talisman, mantra, kavacha or any other charm which supposedly possesses miraculous powers to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent any disease in human beings or animals or for effect or influence in any way the structure or any organic function of the body of human beings or animals.
The health ministry, after receiving various suggestions from different stakeholders, proposed recent amendments in order to keep pace with changing time and technology. These amendments will help the pharmaceutical companies to avoid such kind of advertisement of drugs with magic remedies.
Originally published 28 April, 2020
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