Health Ministry’s Brave Proposal – 50 Lakh Fine, 5 Year Prison Term for Fairness Cream Advertisements.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has finalized the Drugs and Miracle Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill 2020, which increases the number of diseases and disorders covered by the Act.
According to the draft bill prepared by the government, a penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh and a prison term of up to five years could be imposed on advertising pharmaceutical products for the sake of skin fairness, deafness, height improvement, hair loss or graying, obesity, among others.
A new draft of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Act 2020 has introduced a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to two years in prison for the first offense. A prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh may be levied in the event of a subsequent prosecution.
The first offense under current law is subject to imprisonment for up to six months, with or without a fine, and for a second conviction for up to one year.
The present law defines ‘ magic remedy ‘ in the shape of a talisman, mantra kavacha, and any other potion of any kind believed to have miraculous powers for or in the detection, recovery, relief, care or avoidance of any illness in humans or animals, or to alter or impact the structure or any biological activity of the human or animal body in any way.
It is proposing the amendment “to keep pace with changing time and technology,” according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The proposed amendments also propose to extend the definition of an advertisement to ‘ any audio or visual advertising, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website, including any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner, poster or any other document: provided that the label or wrapper is an advertisement only if it contains any information or claims other than those provided for in the rules.
In the bill, the Ministry proposed to ban advertising of medicines and products intended to cure ‘ any ‘ of the 78 diseases, disorders or conditions specified in the bill. The previous Act had 54 such diseases, disorders and conditions.
The Ministry has decided to request suggestions, comments or objections from the public or interested parties regarding the proposed bill. It can be sent within 45 days, states the Ministry.