Monday, November 21, 2011

'wonder drug' ADS under LENS

'wonder drug' ADS under LENS

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to pull the plug on television channels that offer air time to promote medicines which guarantee to cure joint pain, impotence and weight reduction.
"We see advertisements published in newspapers, pasted on trains and aired on television promoting various medicines. They are misleading and such advertisements are prohibited under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (objectionable advertisements) Act, 1954," explained Mahesh Zagade, FDA commissioner.
The Act states that no person or company can advertise about a drug that is used for treating impotence, among other medical disorders, unless prescribed by registered medical practitioners.
FDA officials recently filed complaint against a Vashi firm for advertising a capsule to curb obesity and seized goods worth Rs20 lakh.

"We had started sending notices to firms involved in objectionable advertisements related to medicines last month," said KB Shende, joint commissioner, FDA (drugs).
After sending show cause notices to the firms, the FDA now plans to send letters to the television channels and actors, including Jackie Shroff, who are involved in the promotion of such medicines
"With actors promoting such medicines, people get easily convinced. Such advertisements play with people's emotion and expose them to possible complications. We have, therefore, decided to become strict and punish the offenders to set an example," said Shende.
Referring to an advertisement promoting a medicine to cure joint pain relief, which is aired on almost all television channels, Shende said: "The advertisement, which has actors Jackie Shroff and Alok Nath, promoting the product, starts late at night and is played continuously until early morning."
Earlier this year, the police had arrested self-proclaimed scientist and miracle doctor Munir Khan for cheating more than 120 people by claiming that his wonder drug, Body Revival, could cure all diseases, including cancer.
The wonder drug was priced at Rs16,000 for a 100 ml bottle. According to doctors, people are likely to be taken in by such tall claims, especially if they promoted by actors, and realise their folly only when it is too late.
Dr Dilip Nadkarni, consulting orthopaedic surgeon at Lilavati Hospital, said: "I had operated on a patient who was on self-medication of a formulation, which had high lead content. Its regular intake had weakened the one of the patient's muscle power. I am happy that the FDA is taking the right step to curb this menace."
"Unless it is a nutritional supplement, people should avoid self-medications via advertisements. A medicine that promises to relieve you from ailments, such as joint pain, should not be believed unless it is prescribed by a certified medical practitioner," Dr Nadkarni advised.
Dr Sudhir Pillai, interventional cardiologist, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital agrees.
"We keep getting two types of cases. In the first, there are patients with controlled blood pressure and diabetes because they were taking some questionable medicines for an ailment. In the second type, a patient diagnosed with blockage in heart, opt for hearsay treatment. Initially they do well because of placebo effect, but come back to us with more blockages or even a heart attack," Dr Pillai said.
He added that most of these questionable medicines have high metal content, which leads to complication.

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