Physicians seek ban on fake ads
KARACHI, Feb 12: Five leading physicians of Karachi have welcomed the recent accord between the Federal Ministry of Health and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) under which they will jointly take action against the misleading health-related advertisements frequently aired by various TV channels.
In a joint statement, they said that these advertisements, billed as health care programmes, pretend to offer quick-fix cures of serious diseases such as diabetes, obesity and growth-related problems whose prevalence was quite high in the country. These ads constitute a violation of Section 27 of the Drugs Act. The so-called health programmes, designed to earn easy profits, need to be banned as they can draw the affected or gullible sections of the general public into believing in their false claims and fake remedies, thus putting their health at risk.
They said it was the duty of the health ministry to ensure that health-related information or programmes being telecast by the electronic media were credible, scientific and not aimed at deceiving the public who often do not have the resources to verify wrong claims. The errant TV channels should be taken to task under the law if they do not stop telecasting such unethical programmes, they added. The federal secretary of health had recently stated that “there is need to take immediate steps to stem this tide of advertising.” But the screening of these ads continues unabated. The signatories to the statement are Professor Samad Shera from Diabetic Association of Pakistan, Prof Zaman Sheikh from Pakistan Society of Physicians, Dr Khurram Shahid, President, Pakistan Endocrine Society, Dr Mohsin Ahmed and Dr Jamal Raza from Child Growth Society of Pakistan.