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Ministry of AYUSH orders to stop advertisement of AYUSH-related claims

April 20, 2020

By Ananyaa Banerjee and Reetika Wadhwa

The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (hereinafter referred to as “Ministry of AYUSH”) vide its notification dated April 1, 2020[1] has ordered the Regulatory Authorities in the States/Union Territories to stop and prevent publicity and advertisement of AYUSH-related claims for treatment of diseases in print, television and electronic media and take necessary action against the persons/agencies involved in contravening the relevant legal provisions.

With the sudden commotion owing to pandemic attributable to viral attack, the society has seen an overall increased caution approach adopted by people at large in respect of public safety as well as hygiene. In the changing scenarios, advisories issued by the government have served as tool to disseminate the importance of social distancing as well as opting for safer and healthier practices in day to day life with a view to battle the war with virus.

Ayurvedic Products and their advertisements

India, being an agrarian economy having rich treasure of traditional knowledge and ayurvedic remedies has a substantial segment of population placing reliance on the age old vedic techniques to cure ailments of varied nature. The manufacture and commercialization or drugs, cosmetics as well as Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani (hereinafter referred to as “ASU”) drugs/medicines in India are regulated under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) as well as the Drugs and Cosmetics Drugs Rules 1945 (hereinafter referred to as the “Rules”) .

Advertisements are a key component in developing the brand value as well as promoting the sales of the products or services intended to be offered. While the need of the hour has escalated the requirements of medicinal products, proper advertisement and backing from the recognized institutions reaffirms the faith of the potential consumers regarding the quality of standards being met with.

Ministry of AYUSH orders Authorities to stop advertisement of AYUSH-related claims

Claims are the statements stating about the specific properties of the goods or services which are intended to be offered for sale. This helps not only in creating an edge over the market competitors owing to the uniqueness of their products but also boost the revenue generation of the advertisers benefiting therefrom. Owing to new requirement of the medicinal and health safety products, a number of players have started considering using claims to back up their credibility.

Vide its notification dated April 1, 2020[2] the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (hereinafter referred to as “Ministry of AYUSH”) has ordered the Regulatory Authorities in the States/Union Territories to stop and prevent publicity and advertisement of AYUSH-related claims for treatment of diseases in print, television and electronic media and take necessary action against the persons/agencies involved in contravening the relevant legal provisions.

The Ministry of AYUSH in its notification also referred to Ministry of Home Affairs order dated 24th March, 2020 and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) order dated 24th March, 2020[3], whereby instructions have been issued to all Central and State/UT Government Authorities under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to take effective measures including making of false claim as punishable offence so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

PCI advises media to stop advertisement of AYUSH-related claims

In furtherance of the aforesaid notification of Ministry of AYUSH, the Press Council of India also issued a press release dated April 03, 2020 advising print media to stop/prevent publicity and advertisement of AYUSH-related claims for COVID-19 treatment[4].

Conclusion

While several products are available in the market to cater the elevated needs, the Ministry of AYUSH brings in an approach to ensure the prevention of misuse of claims which may mislead the consumers at large and may also cause undue hardship and health risks in public.

[1] https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/121.pdf

[2] F. No. Z 25023 /09/2018-2020-DCC (AYUSH)

[3] https://ndma.gov.in/images/covid/ndmaorder240320.pdf

[4] http://presscouncil.nic.in/WriteReadData/Pdf/PReightaprilPCI.pdf

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