Further, the ambit of what constitutes an ad has been expanded as well to include electronic media and ads on the internet.

Govt proposes 5-yr jail Rs 50 lakh fine for ads promoting fair skin magic remediesImage for representation. Arindam Ghosh - Picxy
news Law Thursday, February 06, 2020 - 15:58

The Indian government has put out the draft amendment to the Drugs And Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, seeking to introduce a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh for advertisements for drugs, ‘magic remedies’ and other products promoting fair skin, enhancing sexual performance, increasing brain capacity and so on.

The draft amendment, released on Monday has made some additions to the list of diseases, disorders, conditions covered in the Act. The Act says that medicines, ‘magic remedies’ and products to cure any of the 54 diseases, disorders, conditions named should not be advertised. The amendment has increased the number of diseases, conditions and disorders to a total of 78. The new additions include ads for drugs or treatment for fairness of skin, premature ageing, AIDs, improvement of memory, improvement in height of kids/adults, improvement in size of sexual organ, duration of sexual performance and so on, among others.

Under section seven of the Act, the first conviction is punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or fine or both; and a subsequent conviction can result in imprisonment of up to a year or fine, or both. The amendment proposes to increase the penalties. For the first conviction, the proposed punishment is imprisonment of up to two years and fine up to Rs 10 lakh. For subsequent conviction, the imprisonment may extend to five years with a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh.

Further, the ambit of what constitutes an ad has been expanded as well. Under the amendment, an ‘ad’ will include any audio or visual publicity, electronic media, “internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner, poster or such other documents: Provided that label or wrapper is an advertisement only if it contains any information or claim other than provided in the rules.”

The Act does not apply to signboards or notice displayed by registered medical practitioners on their premises indicating treatment of a disease, disorder or condition; treatise or book dealing with the issues from a bonafide scientific or social standpoint; government ads; an ad relating to a drug printed or published by any person with the previous sanction of the Government granted prior to the commencement of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Amendment Act, 1963.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed the amendment to reportedly keep up with the changing times and technology.

The draft amendment is open to suggestions, comments and objections from the public as well as stakeholders for a period of 45 days, the ministry said. These can be sent by email to drugsdivmohfw@gov.in, or by post to Under Secretary (Drugs Regulation), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Room No. 414A, D Wing, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi - 110011.

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