The government has asked all marketers not to advertise oral emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs).

“Since drug advertising is not permitted under the existing rule, we have sent an advisory to all pharmaceuticals making ECPs, asking them not to advertise their products through the mass media,” a source in the Health Ministry told PTI on condition of anonymity.

ECPs are to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex to avoid pregnancy. These are not scheduled drugs and can be bought over the counter, without a prescription.

The Drug Controller-General of India (DCGI) earlier this year withdrew permission to advertise ECPs as the ads did not convey the fact that the pills were to be consumed only in an emergency.

But later the Health Ministry permitted the advertisements on condition that they make the consumer aware of the side-effects of ECPs.

But recently the DCGI sent notices to three drug makers for showing the ads without addressing the concerns raised by the government.