City anchor: Many spurious ‘growth’ drugs being pumped into market: FDA

Days after Bombay High Court upheld the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on the telecast of an advertisement endorsing a 'body growth formula powder', the FDA said there are many such deceptive products in the market that the public should be wary of. Officials said in the past year, the FDA has initiated action against around 10,000 such advertisements.

"Many of these products, the advertisements of which are telecast on TV at early hours, are spurious and are known to be not only useless but also have side effects. These include drugs promising height and weight growth, increase in libido and so on. However, as per the Drugs and Magic Remedies (objectionable advertisements) Act, 1954, manufacturers are not even supposed to advertise these products even if they are effective," said K B Shende, joint commissioner, FDA (Maharashtra).

Following an FDA directive to TV channels to stop advertisements of various products that promise height and stature growth, the manufacturers of a drug called 'Step Up Body Growth Formula', moved court challenging the directive. The HC, however, on Friday said the purpose of the Act was to prevent people from resorting to self medication.

In 2011-2012, the FDA had initiated action against 677 people across the state for flouting norms stipulated in the Food and Safety and Standard Act of India 2006 These included food grains, oil, milk and milk products, packaged food, drinks and tobacco products.

Shende said the number of complaints from the general public was less despite the prevalence of spurious drugs and products in the market.

"There has been a decline in the way such products are advertised over the past two years. However, people should be more forthcoming in their complaints. More importantly, people must be aware and not fall for the claims of these products. The FDA takes suo motu action against defaulting manufacturers as well as specific action from consumers as and when they come," he said.

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