Wednesday, January 09, 2008

FDA joins forces with print media to protect consumers


FDA joins forces with print media to protect consumers


The Food and Drug Administration has joined forces with the print media in its bid to give consumers better protection. Thai FDA secretary-general Siriwat Tiptaradol yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with representatives of the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the Economic Reporters Association, whose members are mostly from the print media.

The joint cooperation is aimed at managing exaggerated messages in advertisements dealing with medicines, supplementary food and medical equipment.

Adverts, both direct and indirect, of these products are frequently exaggerated. It is therefore the responsibility of the FDA and the press to help screen messages which could mislead consumers, said Dr Siriwat.

A hotline for the media also would be established so that the FDA could work closely with the press and the inflated content from the advertisement could be removed before it is published in order to avoid violating the law, he said.

Dr Siriwat also plans to seek the cooperation of radio and television broadcasters to this effect, especially community radios, which he says often exaggerate their adverts.

The FDA filed eight lawsuits against local newspapers last year for publishing misleading medicinal-related advertisements.

These legal cases clearly reflect that cooperation between the two sides was badly needed, so that the publishing business would not be affected and the public would receive well-balanced information, said TJA chairman Nattaya Chetchotiros.

In another development, the FDA has decided not to ban the production and distribution of Anapromine. The drug's distribution is still permitted under prescription at pharmacies, said Weerawan Taengkaew, FDA deputy secretary-general.

However, the FDA would require that manufacturers register the ingredients of the medicine individually to avoid its misuse, she said.

Recently, residents in Phetchabun and Nakhon Sawan bought the syrup version of the drug, which some traders said was an appetite medicine, over the counter to boost children's appetite, resulting in abnormal growth of sexual organs.

The Family Network Foundation asked the agency to ban its sale for consumer safety.

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