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Gireesh Babu, New Delhi December 27 , 2021
The Ministry of Ayush has taken note of misleading advertisements pertaining to Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) drugs, treatments and related services and the pharmacovigilance centers have reported 14,876 instances of misleading advertisements of ASU&H drugs during the period from August 2018 to June 2021, said the Ministry.

According to the Ministry, these instances were forwarded to the respective State and Union Territory authorities, media channels and the manufacturers for taking prohibitive and regulatory action.

It is implementing a Central Sector Scheme of Pharmacovigilance of ASU&H Drugs, which aims at inculcating the reporting culture among the consumers as well as ASU&H practitioners. Besides monitoring and reporting adverse drug reactions; the present pharmacovigilance scheme also undertakes surveillance and reporting of objectionable or misleading advertisements of ASU&H drugs for regulatory actions.

An officer from the Ministry has also been assigned as nodal officer for handling the complaints related to Ayushproducts and services registered under the Grievance Against Misleading Advertisement (GAMA) portal under the Department of Consumer Affairs.

For the period from April, 2015 to January, 2018 about 809 such complaints pertaining to Ayush(including herbal) products and services were registered on the portal. Total Complaints which have been resolved are about 274 and about 585 such complaints were forwarded by the Ministry of Ayush to concerned state authority for taking appropriate action.

“The misleading advertisements received on the GAMA portal of about 268 advertisements in the year 2019-20 and 339 advertisements in the year 2020-21 have been forwarded to the respective State Licensing Authorities for taking appropriate action as per extant rules,” said SarbanandaSonowal, Minister of Ayush, recently in the Parliament.

Further, in the year 2017-18 and 2018-19, Ministry of Ayush in order to address the veracity of misleading advertisements with respect to ASU&H drugs had signed a MoU with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for suomoto monitoring of such advertisements made in print and electronic media and bring complaints and defaulters to the notice of State Government for necessary action.

The Government has also approached media regulatorsto prevent the publication of inappropriate advertisements promoting sale of ayurvedic and other such medicines in public interest. The ministry of information & broadcasting issued instructions/guidelines to all media channels to abstain from publishing and telecasting such misleading advertisements, which are in contravention of provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules.

Besides, the Ministry of Ayush has issued an Advisory dated August 31, 2018 to the drug manufactures and the advertising agencies to refrain from using the name of Government Departments or Institutions in the advertisements of ASU&H drugs. Also, caution has been issued in November 2018 in leading newspapers for the general public to not to fall prey to fake calls and advertisements of ASU&H drugs. With the enforcement of these steps the advertisers have corrected or withdrawn the improper advertisements, said the Minister.

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