PMRA, MACRA sign MOU on herbal medicines advertising
The MoU signed on Tuesday in Lilongwe will also see PMRA and MACRA collaborating to educate media outlets on the provisions of the PMRA Act pertaining to the regulation of traditional medicines.
Malawi: The Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) have signed an agreement to regulate the broadcasting of advertisements related to traditional medicines and allied substances by media outlets in the country, writes Judgement Katika.
The MoU signed on Tuesday in Lilongwe will also see PMRA and MACRA collaborating to educate media outlets on the provisions of the PMRA Act pertaining to the regulation of traditional medicines, allied substances, and all other medicines regulated under the Act.
Mphatso Kawaye, Director General of the PMRA, hailed the signing of the MoU as a watershed moment in the Authority's efforts to ensure that herbal medicine traders and media outlets follow the law, particularly when it comes to advertising and promoting traditional medicines.
Advertisers of any medicine or allied substance are required by Section 68 (2) of the PMRA Act to seek prior screening and approval from the Authority before their advertisement is publicised in any media outlet.
"We signed this MoU primarily because of our public health concern about the uncontrolled advertisement of traditional medicines on radios and televisions using unsubstantiated health claims," said Kawaye.
"Although we issued guidelines to media houses regarding the requirement for prior screening of advertisements, we have seen little compliance by media houses, which is why we approached Macra for assistance in enforcing this specific legal requirement."
MACRA Director General Daud Suleman, for his part, stated that his organisation has a role to play in protecting consumers of communication services such as radio and television content from harmful and misleading information, including public health messages.
"We need to start doing the right thing in terms of public health information dissemination," Suleman said, adding that a close working relationship with PMRA would benefit the nation by building a well-informed nation.