October 2, 2022

Explained: The Drugs and Magical Remedies Act, 1954 and Rules

The Drugs and Magical Remedies act, was enacted to control the advertisement of drugs in certain cases, i.e., diseases and to prohibit advertisements relating to remedies pretending to have magic qualities and provide for other matters connected therewith.

The object of the Act is the prevention of self-medication and self- treatment and a curb on such advertisements.[1]

THE DRUGS AND MAGIC REMEDIES (OBJECTIONABLE ADVERTISEMENTS) ACT, 1954

Before explaining further, it is relevant here to understand the meaning of ‘Drug’ and ‘Magical Remedies’.

Meaning of Drug

The term ‘Drug’ include followings-

(i) a medicine for the internal or external use of human beings 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.[2]

Meaning of Magical Remedies

Under this act, the term ‘Magical Remedy’ includes the following-

  • a talisman, mantra, kavacha, and any other charm of any kind
  • which is alleged to possess miraculous powers
  • for or in the 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.[3]

Prohibition of Advertisement (Section 3)

Section 3 is the most important section of the act because it embeds the whole object of the act.

Section 3 prohibits the advertisement of any such drug which shall be used to-

(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 cure and mitigation of certain type of disease and disorder as mentioned in schedule of act or prescribed by the rule.

Prohibition to take part in advertisement

Further, section 4 prohibits to take part in the publication of any advertisement relating to drug if that advertisement contains the followings-

(a) directly or indirectly gives a false impression regarding the true character of the drug; or

(b) makes a false claim for the drug; or

(c) is otherwise false or misleading in any material particular.[4]

Prohibition to import or export such advertisement

By making advance step, the act also prohibits to import or export any document containing such advertisement as prohibited by this act under section 3.[5]  

Penalty

If anyone contravene any provision of this act or rule made thereunder (mention below), such person shall be subjected to following penalty-

(a) in the case of the first conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both;

(b) in the case of a subsequent conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.[6]

Cases where the act does not apply

This act does not apply to the followings-

(a) any signboard or notice displayed by a registered medical practitioner on his premises indicating that treatment for any disease, disorder or condition of which advertisement is prohibited under this act, is undertaken in those premises; or

(b) any treatise or book dealing with any of the matters specified in section 3 from a bonafide scientific or social standpoint; or

(c) any advertisement relating to any drug sent confidentially to a registered medical practitioner; or

(d) any advertisement relating to a drug printed or published by the Government; or

(e) any advertisement relating to a drug printed or published by any person with the previous sanction of the Government granted prior to the commencement of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Amendment Act, 1963.

THE DRUGS AND MAGIC REMEDIES (OBJECTIONABLE ADVERTISEMENTS) RULES, 1955

Section 16 of the Drug and magic remedies act gives the power to central government to make rules and in exercise of that power, the government made the drug and magic remedies rules, 1955.

REFERENCE

  1. The Drugs and Magical Remedies Act, 1954
  2. The drugs and magic remedies (objectionable advertisements) rules, 1955
  3. Hamdard Dawakhana (Wakf) Lal vs Union of India; 1960 SCR (2) 671

[1] Hamdard Dawakhana (Wakf) Lal vs Union of India; 1960 SCR (2) 671

[2] Section 2(b)

[3] Section 2(c)

[4] Section 4

[5] Section 6

[6] Section 7