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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Health, beauty advertisements in jeopardy

Joe C Mathew in New Delhi | January 27, 2007 12:47 IST

The Union health ministry is in the process of amending the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 to extend its ambit to all oral care, hair care and skin care products and health drinks.

The Act covers all notices, labels, wrappers, audio visual representations, and advertisements in print and electronic media, including the Internet.

According to health ministry officials, a Cabinet note on the draft amendment has already been prepared.

The amendment could force personal care and health beverage companies, many of them multinationals like Hindustan Lever, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, GlaxoSmithkline and Cadbury's to rework their advertising campaigns.

The Act also provides for penal action against all claims that do not have scientific rationale. The penal provisions are also being tightened to deter companies from indulging in such practices.

The amendment will bring "treatment" under the purview of the Act for the first time. The inclusion of "treatment" is meant to check advertisements offering treatment for diseases for which there are no accepted remedies (like AIDS) and making claims to alter the functions of the human body.

Officials said there was a need to introduce a statutory obligation on every advertiser of such claims to get it vetted by a competent authority.

The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 is primarily meant to control advertisements for medicinal products to ensure that they are not misleading and are presented objectively without exaggeration.

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