Policy Matter

GOI and ASCI partnership to co-regulate misleading advertisements in the AYUSH sector

Progressing with the impetus towards supporting co-regulation in advertising, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has signed an MoU partnering with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). Addressing the cases of misleading advertisements with respect to Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy Medicines, treatment and related services, ASCI will comprehensively monitor these advertisements across print and electronic media. ASCI has been given a self-monitoring mandate by the Ministry of AYUSH to identify potentially misleading GOI-and-ASCI--partnershipadvertisement in the AYUSH sector and process complaints through its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC). The Ministry of AYUSH will also redirect complaints against misleading advertisements they receive to ASCI, which will be reviewed using ASCI’s code and guidelines. The MoU also requires ASCI to report to the Ministry of AYUSH, advertisements in potential violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder as well as non-compliance of ASCI’s CCC recommendations for the Ministry of AYUSH to take further action.

This partnership will put in place, a much needed formal mechanism to monitor & curtail misleading advertisements in the AYUSH sector and will lead to effective implementation though strong support locally from the State Licencing Authorities as well as Centrally through the Ministry of AYUSH.

Commenting on the partnership, Ajit M. Sharan, Secretary, the Ministry of AYUSH said, “We are happy to announce this partnership with the ASCI. It is yet another important step taken by the AYUSH ministry to ensure that Indian consumers have access to safe and effective medicine. The arrangement would also ensure that any advertisement making claims for diseases and disorders, in violation of the notification issued by our ministry for indications that have been prohibited from claiming, are immediately brought to our attention. We have entered into an MoU with ASCI to effectively weed out such advertisements so that consumers are protected from unscrupulous manufacturers selling products making false claims. This is vital for the propagation of AYUSH system of medicine within India and beyond.”

S.K. Swamy, ASCI Chairman, added, “At ASCI, we have been relentlessly working to encourage self     -regulation in advertising content and ensuring the protection of the interests of the consumers. AYUSH is among top three sectors where we find a high incidence of misleading advertisements and some of the advertisements in the AYUSH sector claiming treatment of certain diseases in violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Regulations have been a cause of concern. ASCI’s partnership with the Ministry of AYUSH will provide the necessary support to our efforts in effectively curtailing misleading advertisements in this sector.”

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