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NDA Moves to Clampdown on Broadcasters Persistently Airing Misleading Drug Ads

Abiaz Rwamwiri, the Authority’s Public Relations Officer told journalists on Thursday that with increasing complaints of misleading information and claims that some soft drinks contain curative properties against specific diseases, they decided to start dialoguing with broadcasters to stop airing the adverts.
Abiaz Rwamwiri, National Drug Authority Public Relations Officer.

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Amidst the struggles to ensure that producers of herbal medicines comply with the set guidelines for the promotion of medicines, the National Drug Authority (NDA) is partnering with the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to block any irregular advertisements on TV or radio.

Abiaz Rwamwiri, the Authority’s Public Relations Officer told journalists on Thursday that with increasing complaints of misleading information and claims that some soft drinks contain curative properties against specific diseases, they decided to start dialoguing with broadcasters to stop airing the adverts.

He, however, says that they will later ask UCC to revoke or suspend licenses of the errant media houses since NDA lacks the mandate to do so.  

//Cue in:” Energy drinks are …………       

Cue out… These products go,” //  

For any preventive medicine or treatment or product to be advertised in the media, NDA requires the producer to present their content for vetting and approval, a process that costs Shs100, 000. 

Those who’s Ads are approved, Noah Mutebi, a Regulatory Officer in charge of Medicine Information, says that they receive a stamped letter, which they present together with the content to the broadcaster.

But, he notes only a few media outlets have been cross-checking with the authority to establish the authenticity of the documents. Already, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) which is supposed to enforce compliance has in the last year been summoning broadcasters over the persistent breach of advertising standards.

Officials say one of the complaints that stand out is the fact that individuals charge the content after getting an approval certificate from NDA.  Felix Kizza, the Officer in charge of monitoring at UCC told URN that they have so far summoned 20 broadcasters who have been breaching advertising standards while trying to promote energy drinks as having disease healing and prevention properties. 

The biggest problem he says is being seen in the central region.

//Cue in:” Of the complaints …………      

Cue out: ………….. Presented to you,”//

Meanwhile, broadcasters who attended the meeting castigated UCC for unequal enforcement, saying that while some media houses are shut down, the rest are left on air something that affects their revenues. Even with the advent of social media, experts, say the majority of the Ads are still being produced and published by TV and radio stations.  

//Cue in:” We appreciate that …………     

Cue out: …………. Are not sure”. //        

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