Classified ads on health remedies show a decline, finds study

Classified advertisements on treatment for sexual diseases, hair problems and diabetes, beauty-enhancing techniques, and obesity and weight gain have come down in major Malayalam newspapers in the past four years.

Those on treatment for alcoholism and piles, however, have slightly gone up, says a study conducted by the Campaign Against Pseudo Science Using Law and Ethics (CAPSULE), a forum under the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad.

CAPSULE functionaries point out that many gullible people fall for the claims in classified advertisements, which come in shorter space and at nominal rates for those who place them.

The study

The study conducted between May 22 and 28 found 192 such advertisements in 12 newspapers in Thiruvananthapuram. About 80% of the advertisements were in five major newspapers. Similar studies conducted between October 1 and 7 in 2018 and in July 2019 had found 475 and 266 classified ads respectively in the same newspapers.

There were 149 advertisements on treatment for sexual problems, 43 on diabetes, 30 on obesity or weight gain, 45 on beauty-enhancing techniques, and 41 on hair problems in 2018.

This year, they came down respectively to 66, 11, 5, 1, and 3. The ads on treatment for alcoholism went up from 21 to 28 and those on piles from 20 to 24. There were 56 ads related to astrology and religious beliefs in six newspapers.

Cracking the whip

CAPSULE chairman U. Nandakumar says there has been a considerable decline in the ads that violated the medical ethics guidelines of the Travancore-Cochin Medical Councils (TCMC). After the forum filed complaints against them with the TCMC, some of the advertisements were found to be withdrawn or the names of doctors removed.

Of the 192 advertisements this year, 113 were against the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Nine were found to have violated the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India guidelines and four against the codes of the Advertising Standards Council of India, Dr. Nandakumar adds.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 6:12:56 pm |