New Delhi: Misleading Ministry of AYUSH received 79 complaints in the year 2014 about advertisements and misleading claims allegedly of herbal and AYUSH products. Thereafter, 515 AYUSH-related complaints of misleading advertisements in the print and electronic media have been escalated by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) out of the cases registered in the “Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA)” portal of the Department of Consumer Affairs since March 2015 till date.
The Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy Shripad Yesso Naik gave this information in response to a starred question by Janak Ram and Dushyant Chautala on herbal medicines and products in Lok Sabha today.
The Government was asked about the number of complaints received against misleading advertisements and claims regarding herbal medicines/products made in the electronic/print media during the last three years; whether the Government had also received complaints regarding sale of these herbal medicines and products in the market without any certified clinical tests and incidents of death of people after using these medicines and products; and if so, the details along with the steps taken by the Government to check these misleading advertisements and claims and the success achieved in this regard.
In his reply the Minister told the House that the category of herbal medicines/products is not defined in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the related Rules. However, proof of safety and effectiveness, as required for issuing license to manufacture Ayurvedic, Siddha or Unani medicines, is prescribed in the guidelines under Rule 158-B of the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945, which can either be based on textual rationale from the authoritative books listed in the First Schedule to the Drugs & Cosmetics Act or published literature; and if no such evidence of effectiveness of the drug is available, it needs to be generated by conducting the pilot study.
In order to check the veracity of misleading advertisements of AYUSH products, the Central Government has taken following steps-
- Issued directives to the State Governments for appointing Gazetted officers for monitoring of advertisements of drugs.
- Complaints of misleading advertisements of Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic medicines are forwarded to the concerned State Licensing Authorities for action in accordance with the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules thereunder and Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder. States have reported action taken against the defaulters.
- Ministry of AYUSH has signed MoU with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on 20th January, 2017 to undertake monitoring of the misleading AYUSH –related advertisements appearing in print and TV media and bring the instances of improper advertisements to the notice of the State Regulatory Authorities for taking necessary action.
- Press Council of India has laid down norms for advising the newspapers to reject advertisements that offend the provisions of Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
- Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has issued an advisory to all media channels to ensure strict compliance of the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 in respect of AYUSH health products/drugs. TV channels have been advised to advertise only those AYUSH products, which have valid manufacturing license.