12. December 2011 16:01
A professional fund-raising agency – the Canadian Organisation for International Philanthrophy, has been under the scanner for linking up with two charities in a supposed campaign to provide AIDS medicines in Africa.
The charities told donors they were buying AIDS medicines for $12 a dose, whereas other charities had been buying them from abroad for a fraction of the cost, at 30 to 40 cents a dose, according to investigative journalists from the Star. The Star’s revelations were news to Robert Steen, a senior executive with the fundraising agency. Steen informed the Star’s scribes also that the medicines in question were bought from Globe Lending Group - a Costa Rican company. The Star however wasn’t able to find the group’s head office. Reporters from the Star smelt something fishy also in a picture in the fundraising agency’s boardroom showing one of the agency’s executives in the company of Canadian AIDS activist Stephen Lewis, who was formerly the United Nations HIV/AIDS envoy to Africa. It turned out that Lewis had nothing to do with the group; he was in a conference when he was accosted and the picture taken. Also fishy was the fact that the fundraisers were not able to say where the Africa pictures in their glossy brochures were clicked.
28. November 2011 10:34
The Food and Drugs Administration, Pune, has banned six formulations touted to be effective in increasing height or treating sexual health problems, breast enlargement, and obesity. The products that have attracted the ban: Japani oil, Ratan’s Pursharth massage oil, and Safed Musli Power Plus, all sold as remedies of sexual health problems; SpeedHeight capsules, which supposedly makes you grow taller; Medora oil and gel, sold as remedies for obesity and fat reduction; and breast care capsule and oil for breast enlargement.
The ban has been implemented on the ground that the claims made on behalf of these products in newspaper advertisements run foul of sections 3 and 4 of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954. The Act disallows advertisements for certain categories of disease and disorders, including diabetes, obesity and sexual problems.
The manufacturers of the controversial products, most of them based in Haridwar, have been sent legal notices under the provisions of the Act, requiring them to henceforth desist from advertising their products in newspapers. The recipients have also been directed, by these legal notices, to withdraw promotional material in the form of leaflets, literature, banners and stickers. Failure to comply will make them liable to prosecution, leading to imprisonment for up to six months and a fine for first time offenders, Joint commissioner S.T. Patil said.
The newspapers in which the ads appeared too have been sent legal notices, on the ground that some ads did not provide the addresses of the advertisers. If they do not provide these addresses, they too will be liable for legal action, Joint Commissioner Patil indicated. The Joint Commissioner alleged that the cures attributed to the advertised products are not backed by scientific evidence, and that the claimed benefits are misleading. He wanted the media to refrain from publishing such advertisements.