MOFW proposes to step up penalty for violating provisions under amend Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act; invites comments till 18.03.2020

MOFW proposes to step up penalty for violating provisions under amend Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act; invites comments till 18.03.2020

February 12, 2020 OPS, Pharmaceuticals, states 0

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (“Ministry”) has, through a notice dated 3rd February 2020, issued the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (“Bill”). The Bill proposes to make certain amendments to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954 (“Act”)

The object of this Bill is to keep pace with changing time and technology since concerns were raised from several quarters on implementation and effectiveness of the Act.

The Ministry has called for suggestions and objections from the public and stakeholders on the Bill till 18.03.2020. The same can be forwarded by email @ drugsdivmohfw@gov.in or via post to :

Under Secretary (Drugs Regulation), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,

Room No. 414A, D Wing, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi – 110011.

We have prepared an implication note on the key changes proposed by the Bill in the table below:

Act Bill Implication

Expansion in scope of definition of “Advertisement”
Section 2: Definitions

(a): “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting light, sound or smoke;

 

 

Section 2: Definitions

(a):”advertisement” means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, 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 Bill proposes to expand the definition of advertisement.

 

While the Act defines advertisement to include only notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting light, sound or smoke; The Bill proposes to insert the terms “audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website” in the definition to meet the objective of the Bill i.e., to meet the requirements of changing time and technology.

 

Stringent penal consequences in comparison to present law

 

Section 7: Penalty

Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this Act 3 [or the rules made thereunder] shall, on conviction, be punishable—

 

(a) in the case of the first conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both;

 

(b) in the case of a subsequent conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Section 7: Penalty

Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this Act [or the rules made thereunder] shall, on conviction, be punishable—

 

a) in the case of first conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to two years and fine upto ten lakh rupees.

 

b) in the case of a subsequent conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to five years and fine upto fifty lakh rupees.

The Bill also proposes to step up the penalty for engaging in any activities prohibited under the Act:

 

Under the Bill, in the case of first offence, a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to 2 years’ imprisonment has been proposed; which is presently only an imprisonment for 6 months or with fine or both.

 

For subsequent conviction, the Bill proposes a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and up to 5 years’ imprisonmentwhich is presently only an imprisonment for 1 year or with fine or both.

 

The Act in both cases does not provide for a specific fine amount in case of first offence.

 

 

The draft Bill proposes to increase the penalties. For the first conviction, the proposed punishment is imprisonment of up to two years and fine up to ₹10 lakh. For subsequent conviction, the imprisonment may extend to five years with a fine of up to ₹50 lakh.

 

Expansion in list of diseases, disorders or conditions proposed, for which advertisement of certain drugs for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention is prohibited

 

Through this Bill, the Ministry has proposed to prohibit advertisement of certain drugs for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any of the 78 diseases, disorders or conditions as provided under the Schedule to the Act.

 

The Act presently prohibits advertisement of certain drugs for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any of the 54 diseases, disorders or conditions which form part of the Schedule.

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

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