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Eng Irene Kaggwa Sewankabo, UCC Acting Executive Director

UCC Warns Broadcasters Against Herbal, Other Medicinal Adverts

posted onApril 6, 2020

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has warned broadcasters against running herbal and other medicinal advertisements which contradict with National Drug Authority (NDA).

“The Uganda Communications Commission (the Commission) refer to the above subject matter and the several notices, which the Commission and the National Drug Authority issued to broadcasters regarding advertisements, in particular, the advertisement of herbal and other medicines in contravention of the National Drug Authority Act, Cap 206 and the National Drug Policy and Authority (Control of Publication and Advertisements Relating to Drugs) Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 33 of 2014.”

The commission emphasizes that section 33 of National Drug Authority Act, Cap 206 provides that no person shall by way of advertisement, publish, in whatever manner, in relation to any drug, descriptive matter calculated to lead to the use of that drug for the purpose of termination or influencing a course of human pregnancy among others.

The Commission recognizes that medicines and medicinal products do have the potential for beneficial effects but can also be harmful if not used correctly.

“We also acknowledge the existence of alternative, integrative or complementary medicines. Still, we note that the use of these is associated with risks of adverse reactions due to poor products or inappropriate practices, and dangers related to a lack of proper medical follow up.

All forms of advertising and promotion of any medicines and medicinal products, therefore, need to be responsible, ethical, and to the highest standard, to ensure their safe use.”

Diseases specified and listed under the 5th schedule of the National Drug Authority Act, Cap 206 include Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, soft chancre and any form of genitourinary disease or other diseases connected with human reproductive functions.

“Any of the following; menorrhea, Arteriosclerosis, Bladder stones, Blindness, Nephritis or Bright’s’ disease, Cancer, Cataract, Trachoma, Deafness, Diabetes, Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, Dropsy, Epilepsy or fits, Tetanus or Lockjaw, Erysipelas, Gallstones, Glaucoma, Goitre, Heart disease, Hernia or Rapture, Kidney stones, Leprosy, Locomotorataxy, Paralysis, Lupus, Pneumonia, Pleurisy, Poliomyelitis, Scarlet fever, Schistosomiasis, Septicaemia, Smallpox and any structural organic ailment of the auditory system.

According to UCC, “in regards to the cognizance of the special and sensitive nature of medicine and other health care products, and in accordance with section 5(1)(x) of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, it developed advertising standards that among others require all advertisements and promotion of drugs, herbal and complementary medicines to be done only with the prior approval of the National Drug Authority.”

“All broadcasters are accordingly reminded to observe the above legal and license obligations and are directed to ‘immediately stop‘ the broadcasting of any advertisement and programs that are intended to promote the use of any herbal or other medicines and remedies unless the same has obtained prior approval from the National Drug Authority.

The Commission is assiduously monitoring compliance with this requirement and shall subject any broadcaster found in contravention of this to stern regulatory sanctions in accordance with section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act of 2013,” continues the statement.

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