The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed to amend the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. The new rules would be drafted under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

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.

The Ministry has asked for suggestions, comments or objections from the public or stakeholders with regard to the said draft Bill.

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