The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has now proposed amendments and have submitted a draft amendment to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. In the draft, the ministry has proposed more severe punishment, including a maximum fine of Rs. 50 lakh along with jail term of up to 5 years.
The ministry said that there should no advertisements for “magic remedies” and drugs that promote fair skin, treatment of stammering, grey hair, infertility in women, premature aging, or even enhancing the sexual performance of a person among many other.
The draft of the amendment has proposed several additions to the existing list of conditions, diseases, and disorders that are already covered in the 1954 Act. The Act states that products, medicines and/ or “magic remedies” that can cure any of the 78 conditions, diseases, and disorders on the list shall not be advertised.
The draft adds several new conditions, disorders, and diseases such as, but not limited to:
- AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)
- Grey Hair
- Infertility in Women
- Sexual Performance
- Skin Tone
- Premature Ageing
Under the Act, upon the first conviction, the person can be jailed for a maximum of 6 months or imposed a fine or both. However, a subsequent conviction will result in prison time increase to 1 year or a fine or both.
The draft of the amendment proposes that the severity of penalties must be increased. It proposes that upon first conviction, the jail time should be increased to a maximum of 2 years and a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakh. Upon subsequent conviction, the jail time to be increased to 5 years and the fine to a maximum of Rs. 50 lakh.
The Ministry has said that this amendment is being done to keep up with the change in both technology and time. The suggestions, objections, and comments coming from the stakeholders and the public will be sought and considered. They may be forwarded in under 45 days from the issuance of this notice.
The draft of the amendment also proposes that the definition of an Advertisement needs to be changed as well, changed to: “any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner, poster or such other documents”.