In an attempt to discourage misleading advertisements on ayurveda, homeopathy etc being telecast on television channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has stepped in and issued a stern warning. The Council issued an advisory on July 12 to all TV channels to ensure strict compliance of provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940.
According to the ASCI, the watchdog of the advertising industry, the step was taken after the Ministry of AYUSH had informed them that some channels were broadcasting advertisements with exaggerated or improper claims on Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Homoepathic (AYUSH) drugs which mislead consumers. This can lead to a potential health risk for those who choose to self-medicate themselves.
The Ministry of AYUSH had raised concerns on the medicines being marketed as a miraculous solution to all health problems, which are offered by the self-proclaimed doctors, gurus and vaidhs in these advertisements/programmers.
Doctors and ayurveda practitioners have been raising the issue on the misleading advertorials shown in most of the channels during non-prime time hours. “It is a welcome step taken by ASCI but we are not sure how much it will help as it is not a regulatory body. A strong step by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry needs to be taken against such misleading advertisements and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the respective states too should step in to uproot this menace,” said Dr Kuldip Kohli, director of AYUSH in Maharashtra.
He added that the misleading AYUSH advertisements have been an acute problem as these channels have been telecasting it throughout the day and luring people. “Most of these products are targeted as treatments for diseases like diabetes, obesity and arthritis. We need a robust regulatory mechanism to stop such advertisements. We also need to spread awareness among people so that they don’t fall prey to this trap,” said Dr Kohli.