This act is known as the Drugs and Magic Remedies (objectionable advertisements) act, 1954. This act was enacted to control the advertisements of drugs in certain cases, to prohibit the advertisements for certain drugs for matters connected therewith.
The important terms appearing in the Act such as advertisement, drug, magic remedy, and registered medical practitioner have been defined in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. The definitions are as follows:
Advertisement: “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(a) of the Act).
Drug: “Drug” includes:
(i) A medicine for the internal or external use of human being or animals;
(ii) Any substance intended to be used for or in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in human beings or animals;
(iii) 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;
(iv) Any article intended for use as a component of any medicine, substance or article, referred to in sub-clauses (i) (ii) and (iii). (Section 2(b) of the Act).
Magic Remedy: “Magic remedy” includes a talisman, mantra kavacha, and any other charm of any kind which is alleged to possess miraculous powers for or in diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease in human beings or animals, or for affecting or influencing in any way the structure or any organic function of the body of human beings or animals. (Section 2(c) of the Act).
Registered Medical Practitioner: “Registered medical practitioner” means any person –
- Who holds a qualification granted by an authority specified in, or notified under, Section 3 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956; or
- Who is entitled to be registered as a medical practitioner under any law for the time being in force in any State to which this Act extends relating to the registration of medical practitioners. (Section 2(c) of the Act).
WHAT ARE OBJECTIONABLE ADVERTISEMENTS?
Section 3 of the Act prohibits advertisements of certain drugs for treatment of certain diseases and disorders. Accordingly, 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.
Provided that no such rule shall be made except:
(i) In respect of any disease, disorder or condition which requires timely treatment in consultation with a registered medical practitioner or for which there are normally no accepted remedies; and
(ii) After consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board constituted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and, if the Central Government considers necessary, with such other persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of Ayurvedic or Unani systems of medicines as that Government deems fit.
Note: Advertisements of the nature described in this section, tend to cause the ignorant and the unwary to resort to self-medication with harmful drugs and appliances which cause great harm, the Act puts a stop to such undesirable advertisements in the public interest. The provision is subject to the other provisions of this Act. Such provisions are to be found in Section 14.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the advertisements affected by the Act do not fall within the purview of ‘freedom of speech’ in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.