PMRA, MACRA court dealers of traditional medicines, broadcasters on TCM adverts

The Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) have jointly held orientation meetings with dealers of traditional and complementary medicines (TCM) and broadcasters in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu on advertisement and promotion of traditional medicines.

The two organisations were in Blantyre on Tuesday, Lilongwe on Thursday and Mzuzu on Friday to orient the TCM dealers and owners of broadcasting media houses on the regulation of advertisement and promotion of traditional medicines as provided for in the PMRA Act, 2019.

Section 68 (2) of the PMRA Act states that advertisement of any medicine or allied substance shall require prior screening and approval by the Authority.

Speaking when he presided over the orientation meeting in Blantyre, Allied Substances Sub-Committee Chairperson Bright Lipenga said regulation of the TCM products advertisements was aimed at ensuring that only true information is being disseminated to the public and that the public makes informed decisions based on this true information.

Said Lipenga: “Production of traditional and complementary medicines at industrial scale has resulted in the need for advertisement and promotion of the same.

“Considering that these advertisements are for specialised products and main target are vulnerable people, some of them who are in a desperate need to be helped, there is a need to regulate information being disseminated to the public.”

On his part, MACRA’s Deputy Director of Broadcasting, Kelton Masangano echoed Lipenga’s sentiments saying the Communications Act, 2016 also empowers MACRA to regulate broadcast media content including advertisements hence his organisation’s decision to work with PMRA on the enforcement of regulation of TCM products advertisements.

PMRA and MACRA in November last year signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on collaboration on advertisement and promotion of traditional medicines with the overall objective to jointly oversee operationalisation of the requirement of the PMRA Act to have all advertisements traditional medicines vetted before they are broadcast.