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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 16957

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Shankar R
GSK undertakes to withdraw ad on cervical cancer vaccine to DCGI 2009 Dec 24

Full text:

After almost a month of advertisement blitzkrieg in several national newspapers on cervical cancer vaccine, in gross violation of Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs and Magical Remedies Act 1954, the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has given an assurance to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) that it is unilaterally withdrawing the ads, it is learnt.

“GSK is withdrawing the ads unilaterally and an assurance in this regard has been received by the DCGI office. Since the GSK has unilaterally decided to withdraw the ads, the DCGI office is not issuing any notice to GSK on this issue,” sources said.

During the last almost one month, the GSK had launched a no-holds-barred advertisements in several prominent newspapers on the pretext of creating public awareness on cervical caner. After creating a fear-psychosis among the parents about dangers of cervical cancer, the full-page ads advocate that vaccination can now prevent cervical cancer long before it happens. GSK had recently launched the controversial cervical cancer vaccine, Cervarix in the Indian market early this year.

Meanwhile, medical experts have discounted GSK’s claim that the advertisements were launched in public interest to create awareness on cervical cancer. “Such advertisements to create public awareness are normally launched by independent bodies or public interest groups who have no commercial interest. That the GSK has commercial interest in the ad campaign is crystal clear from the fact that GSK is the one of the only two companies which have launched cervical cancer vaccine,” an expert said.

Medical and legal experts had also came down heavily on the GSK’s over-enthusiasm in running the ad in gross violation of rules. “It is clearly the violation of Schedule J Rule 106 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. For this kind of ad, the government has to issue a special notification which did not come in this case,” said Manoj Tongra, a legal expert and a drug inspector.

Legal experts also feel that the DCGI office should have acted in time to stop the recurrence of such ads. Now that the advertisements have appeared in several newspapers, the purpose of the company has already been served.


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