The government has prepared a draft bill proposing amends to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. To control misleading advertisements promoting pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, deafness, improvement of height, hair loss or greying, obesity, etc, the government will impose a penalty of Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to 5 years.
Under the new draft of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, up to 2 years of imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine has been proposed for the first offence. A subsequent conviction could result in jail-term of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh.
At present, the first offence subjects to imprisonment up to six months, with or without a fine, and up to one year for the second conviction.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed the amendment "in order to keep pace with changing time and technology."
Any audio or visual publicity of medicines and products deceiving consumers into curing "any" of the 78 diseases, disorders or conditions specified in the draft will be subject to conviction. The Act currently includes 54 such diseases, disorders or conditions.
The ministry has sought suggestions, comments or objections from the public or stakeholders with regard to the said draft Bill and maybe forwarded within 45 days.