In the news: Monitoring AYUSH ads, swine flue in Hyderabad and more

A wrap of the week's health news.

Advertising council to catch misleading ads

The Ministry of AYUSH is cracking down on misleading advertisements that claim to offer cures for diseases through traditional systems of medicine. The ministry has asked the Advertising Standards Council of India to scan such and “identify potentially misleading advertisements in the AYUSH sector and process complaints through its Consumer Complaints Council”, according to a statement by the advertising regulator.

The advertisements that the ministry has asked the council to monitor relate to those offering treatments and services based on ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy medicines. Such monitoring, the ministry says, is needed to protect consumers from unscrupulous manufacturers selling products making false claims.

“This is vital for the propagation of AYUSH system of medicine within India and beyond,” the secretary for AYUSH said, according to a news report.

ASCI will need to monitor advertisements across 900 publications and 500 television TV channels. The ministry, meanwhile, will direct any complaints it receives regarding misleading advertisements to the council for review according to the council’s code and guidelines.

More cases of swine flu in Hyderabad

There is a steady rise in the number of cases of swine flu in Hyderabad. Four women have died at the city’s Gandhi Hospital, which has a dedicated swine flu ward, and there has been a confirmed case of infection in an infant, The Hindu reported on Sunday.

Suspected and confirmed cases are being referred the Gandhi hospital from across the city. The Telangana state government reported around seven cases of swine flu infection on Friday, taking the total number since August to 165.

The death of two women, who were younger than 40 years old and with no apparent co-morbid conditions, indicate that the H1N1 virus was causing causes severe illness without the classical symptoms or expected development of the disease. The rise in the number infections due to the virus is being attributed to cold weather with the number of positive cases being registered in January alone higher than the number of cases at Gandhi Hospital through the whole of last year. In 2015, 156 cases of swine flue were reported in January and 21 people died at the hospital.

Kerala HC’s eye on pharmacies

The Kerala High Court has ordered private and government medical stores to follow regulations that on preparing and dispensing medicines. Based on a petition filed by the Kerala Pharmacists Organisation, alleging that medicines were often dispensed by persons not qualified as per the Pharmacy Act, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and the Pharmacy Practice Regulations, the court said that drug stores should ensure that “no persons other than registered pharmacists shall compound, prepare, mix, dispense or supply medicines.” The court also reiterated that the rules made clear that dispensing medicines without prescription of a registered medical practitioner would amount to professional misconduct.

The court also said that strict action must be taken against violation of the rules and its order, putting the onus on the state department of health and family welfare, the director of health services, the drugs controller, and registrar of the Kerala State Pharmacy Council to ensure implementation of the rules.

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