By Scoop Reporter
THE Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) says it has observed with great concern, an increase in advertisement of unauthorised medicines and allied substances in print and electronic media, inclusive of social media platforms such as, Facebook, WhatsApp and in public places.
ZAMRA Senior Public Relations Officer Christabel Mutale Iliamupu says the advertising of unapproved medicines and allied substances as well as placement of unapproved advertisements in print, electronic or other media is punishable by law.
Ms. Iliamupu has advised all media houses to request for evidence of approval from ZAMRA for any advertisement of a medicine or allied substance before publishing or running such advertisements.
She says in most cases, the quality, safety and efficacy for such medicines and allied substances has not been verified by the Authority and that these products pose a major public health risk as they lack scientific evidence to support the therapeutic claims.
She says the effects of such products range from lack of effectiveness to life-threatening adverse events and that they also have negative economic impact on unsuspecting members of the public who spend their hard-earned resources on products that have no proven safety or efficacy.
She has cautioned members of the public to be aware that the primary motivation behind the advertisement of such products is promotion of sales for profit.
She says the law requires that for a medicine or allied substance to be placed on the Zambian market, it must meet the set standards of quality, safety and efficacy.
“Sections 39 (1) and 45(1) of the Medicines and Allied Substances Act (MASA) No. 3 of 2013 provides that: A person shall not place on the market, advertise, market, manufacture, sell, import, supply, administer or deal in any manner with any medicine or allied substance without a marketing authorisation issued by the Authority”; and
“An advertisement of any medicine or allied substance shall conform to the information relating to the medicine or allied substance approved by the Authority and as specified in the marketing authorisation”; respectively,” Ms. Iliamupu said.
She says the Authority will continue undertaking routine inspections and monitoring of such adverts and will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone found wanting as per MASA No.3 of 2013.
She says the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) is mandated by law to, among other things, authorise and monitor the advertisement of medicines and allied substances, thereby ensuring that the disseminated information is consistent with what was approved by the Authority.