Do advertising restrictions apply to food supplements?

By Sidhartha Srivastava and Gurmeet Kainth, DH Law Associates

On the television at night, it is almost impossible to miss the advertisements for products to gain height, lose weight, control drug addiction, and a plethora of other such purposes. The question to be addressed is whether such advertising is allowed in India or are there certain hurdles.

Drug advertising

Drug advertising is regulated by the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. The preamble of the act clearly indicates that all the provisions apply to drugs only.

Sidhartha Srivastava
Sidhartha Srivastava

Under section 2(b)(ii) of the act, “drug” includes “any substance intended to be used for or in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or preventing of disease in human beings or animals”. Section 2(b)(iii) specifically excludes food, clarifying that “drug” refers to “any article, other than food, intended to affect or influence in any way the structure or any organic function of the body of human beings or animals”.

Under section 3, “no person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement referring to any drug in terms which suggest or are calculated to lead to the use of that drug for – (a) the procurement of miscarriage in women or prevention of conception in women; or (b) the maintenance or improvement of the capacity of human beings for sexual pleasure; or (c) the correction of menstrual disorder in women; or (d) the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, disorder or condition specified in the schedule, or any other disease, disorder or condition (by whatsoever name called) which may be specified in the rules made under this Act”.

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Sidhartha Srivastava and Gurmeet Kainth are partners at DH Law Associates.

(D.H. Law Associates)


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