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Times of India
24 July 2012

Files complaints against companies, script–writers, and actors who promote medicines that mislead viewers

Bored of sex? Life–threatening diseases? Use our products for instant relief!" The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department has now guaranteed television viewers instant relief from advertisements like these, which make tall claims and leave the viewer with a false sense of hope.

The department has filed 55 complaints at police stations across the state under various sections of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable advertisements) Act, 1955. These include complaints against advertisements by ‘Sandhi Sudha plus’, ‘Step up herbal oil’ and ‘Power Prash’ among others. The FDA has demanded action against the drug manufacturers, scriptwriters and actors who promote the products, as well as television channels on which they are aired. "Promoting such drugs is a complete violation of law," said FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade. "We have initiated action against these companies across the state and written complaints will be soon converted into first information reports."

Violation of the act attracts imprisonment for six months or a fine or both for the first conviction. Subsequent convictions attract imprisonment for a year or fine or both.

Besides actor Jackie Shroff (above), Govinda and Alok Nath are among those who feature in such advertisements

FDA officials said that these advertisements are completely misleading and the companies end up extracting huge amounts from unsuspecting people who see the ads. "For example, the Sandhi Sudha plus product guarantees joint pain relief and is promoted by actors Govinda, Jackie Shroff and Alok Nath and claims to be made from a rare medicinal plant found in the Himalayas. Power Prash is a product that promises to resolve sex–related problems in both men and women. These are very tall claims."

He added that the advertisement of ‘Step Up Herbal Growth Formula’ blatantly states that the product is approved by the government and the FDA, but has no such proof.

ABOUT THE DRUG & MAGIC REMEDIES ACT

The act aims to control false advertisement of drugs (including those that claim their drug has magic qualities). It states that unless prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, no person or company shall take part in publication of an advertisement referring to any drug that is used for:
» Procurement of miscarriage in women or prevention of conception
» Maintenance or improvement of the capacity for sexual pleasures
» Correction of menstrual disorder in women
» Diagnosis, mitigation, cure or prevention of any disease specified in the act.

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