Magic 'dawakhana' TV ads to be curbed

MUMBAI: The central government has decided to communicate to all state governments asking them to initiate a crackdown on outdoor advertisements of traditional medicines that promise to "magically" cure cosmetic problems and various illnesses. The development comes after earlier bids to curb such advertisements failed.

In the crackdown on ads that suggested remedies for chronic diseases by reportedly exaggerating the effects of unani and ayurvedic medicines, the government instructed administrative officials to take stern action under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertising) Act, 1954.

Information and broadcasting ministry officials said letters were being sent out following a rap from the Union ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.

Sometime back, the AYUSH ministry had made amendment in the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules making it illegitimate for traditional medicine manufacturers to advertise cures or treatments for over 35 medical disorders, such as baldness, infertility and short height.

Manufacturers of Unani, Ayurvedic and Sidhdha drugs, under the new rules, cannot advertise diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention for cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin darkness, baldness, short height, and greying of hair, sexual performance, dark skin, and cataract, among other.

In August 2014, the information and broadcasting ministry had recommended the TV channels asking them not to carry "dubious teleshopping advertisements that claimed "magical" cures for cosmetic and health problems, offering viewers "immediate weight loss" and "divine" benefits. However, such ads continued to be shown on cinema, general entertainment, and news channels, mostly in the afternoons between 11pm and 2am.

Meanwhile, the ASCI banned 152 ads including Godfrey Phillips, Cadila, PepsiCo, ITC, Nivea, LeEco, HUL, Woodland,, SpiceJet, Tata Value Homes, SBI, Magic Bricks, and Tata Sky in August 2016.

The Consumer Complaints Council upheld complaints against the 152 out of 209 in for either misleading consumers or not able to substantiate their claim. Of the 152, 27 belonged to the healthcare category. The CCC found the claims of 27 to be either false or misleading or not adequately/ scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI's Code, it said.

Among the ASCI banned ads are:

Rajvaidya Shital Prasad & Sons (Hempushpa)

Chetanta (Get Diabetes cured by acupressure Spring)

Olefia Biopharma Ltd (Votif Range of Products)

DHI-Hair Restoration

Jay Pranav Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals (Body Plus Capsules)

Chetan Clinic

Shri Ram Hospital

Anupama Ayurvedic Drug Co. (Arish Tanclear Range)

Divine Care

Nurture Health Care (Ayurex S Capsule)

Zenlabs Ethics (Zenovit Soft Gel)

Dr. Bhavana Shah Fitness Care Pvt. Ltd. (Fat Freeze):

Jippo African Capsule and African Oil

Kerni Fitness Pvt Ltd (Fitness Universe)

Amba Health Clinic

Rex Remedies Pvt Ltd (Rex Dimaghi Brain Tonic)

Mohak Bariatrics and Robotics

German Homeo Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. (German Homeo Laboratory)

Women's Centre

Kudos Laboratories India Limited (Kudoos Range of Products)

S. S. Hospital

Pretti Slim Clinic

Avion Biotech (K lor Free)

Cadila Healthcare Ltd. (Zydus Acti Life)

N.I Education Trust (NIMS Blacumin Tea)

Dr. Dassan's Ayurvedic Herbal (Body Walk Oil)

Dr. Rana's Health Care (Gaino Power Powder)

Leeford Healthcare Ltd. (Meglow Fairness Cream for Women)

Oshea Herbals (Oshea Sunblock Cream SPF 40)

Earlier, in a letter to all district administrators, Uttar Pradesh principal secretary Anita Bhatnagar-Jain had stated that advertisements offering remedies for chronic diseases and magical sex cures were on rise in magazines, newspapers, through wall paintings at public places and even on TV.

The Advertising Standards Council of India's consumer complaints council had upheld complaints against 185 out of 230 advertisements last year, including Hashmi Dawakhana which, through its ads, promised to "nullify the fear of sex, increase the penis size by 1--2 inches, makes one more energetic with super sex power with the consumption of just one strip, with a guarantee."

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