PEMRA’s ban on unethical medical ads lauded

ISLAMABAD: Professionals and medical institutions on Tuesday lauded the government’s decision for banning unethical health care related commercials on television channels.Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), on the directives of the prime minister, imposed the ban and imposed a fine of Rs 1 million each on as many as 10 TV channels for running advertisements promoting unethical and hazardous medical practices.

Amongst those who hailed the decision were newly elected Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) Chairman Khawaja Muhammad Asad, Riphah International University, Riphah Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Army Medical College, Iqra Degree College and a large number of medical professionals.Muhammad Asad thanked the prime minister and Cabinet Division Secretary Nargis Sethi, Drugs Controller Registration Rauf Khalid and PEMRA Chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar for taking this decision. He said that the ban would help curb the menace of unethical and misleading advertisements.

In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Riphah Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences HEC Foreign Professor Dr Ishrat Waheed said, “Your direct and timely intervention in regulating health care and medical advertisement practices in the country is highly laudable.”He said that Pakistan was facing serious health care challenges which were being compounded by opportunistic ad campaigns targeting the afflicted and often naive public.The Army Medical College Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics also appreciated the prime minister’s interest in the problem, highlighting adverts that capitalise on dengue fever.

The letter further said that the step would greatly aid in the elimination of quacks in the country and requested the prime minister to direct concerned authorities to take all necessary steps to eliminate the practice.Hazara University Professor Muhammad Saeed appreciated the ban, calling the adverts “unprofessional practices at the cost of health”. The letter said that the government’s step would go a long way in ensuring the health of common man and that the government should be commended for its enforcement.

Lahore University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz, Army Medical Corps former director generals (medicine), Lt Gen (r) Akhter and Maj Gen (r) Shujaat Hussain, Dr Zaheer Ahmad, Shifa International Foundation Islamabad, Pakistan Institute of Professional Studies Executive Director Usman Dawood, Consumers Association of Pakistan Chairman Kaukab Iqbal, Prof Dr Naseer, Naseer Hospital Lahore, Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacist Bilal Maqbool, Pattan Development Organisation National Coordinator Sarwar Bari, Dr Faisal Q Khokhar, Lahore University of Management Sciences and Sindh Chief Minister Adviser Dr Kaiser Bengali also appreciated the step taken by the government to check such unprofessional health practices.

Diplomat American Board of Paediatrics, Dr Zulfiqar Malik termed the decision of the government as very important and said that it would save million of ailing people from quacks.King Edward Medical College Endocrinologist Dr Ali Jawa said, “As a physician, I am heartened and touched by the government’s action to halt quackery. Indeed the government has taken the right step by banning these advertisements from the air waves. – Dailytimes