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Up to Dh260,000 fine, jail for misleading ads in India

Web Report
Filed on February 5, 2020
misleading ads, penalties, Drugs, Ministry, India

(Photo: Alamy)

Ads for beauty products such as fairness creams, premature ageing prevention will face penalties.

Tightening control over companies misleading advertisements of medicines and products, the Indian government could soon slap a fine of up to Rs10 lakh and up to two years' imprisonment. While repeat offender could be fined up to Rs50 lakh (approximately Dh257,751) and imprisonment up to five years.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's new draft of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, provides extremely stringent penalties compared to the current law.

Under the new Act, companies advertising medicines and products falsely claiming to make a person fairer, improve height and memory or cure issues like hair loss or greying and premature ageing, among several others, may attract more stringent fines and jail time.

The current Act, 1954, leaves scope for companies to create deceptive advertisements as first time offender can be jailed for six months while repeat offender can be up to one year in prison, reported The Indian Express.

Under the Bill, deceptive advertisements will cover digital advertising, notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner and poster, among others. The government also plans to expand the scope of the law under the proposed amendments to cover 24 more deceptive claims not included in the current law, like medicines that can cure AIDS, change the sex of a foetus, among others, reported Livemint.

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