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Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954

4th March, 2024 Economy

Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954

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  • The Supreme Court of India imposed restrictions on Patanjali Ayurved, a prominent Ayurvedic company, regarding its advertisements.


  • The court restrained Patanjali from discrediting allopathy in its campaigns and from advertising products that claim to cure chronic conditions.
  • This decision was based on the court's observation that Patanjali's advertisements were misleading, particularly in presenting its products as offering "permanent relief," which the court deemed a violation of the law.
  • The court cited provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 (DMR&OA) and its Rules in support of its decision.

Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954

  • The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, controls drug advertising in India.
  • It prohibits ads claiming magical properties and makes such ads a cognizable offense.


  • Defines "magic remedy" as any talisman, mantra, amulet, or object claiming miraculous powers to cure diseases in humans or animals.
  • Includes devices claiming to influence the structure or function of organs in humans or animals.

Prohibited Advertisements:

  • Inducing miscarriage or preventing conception in women.
  • Improving or maintaining sexual pleasure capacity.
  • Correcting menstrual disorders.
  • Curing, diagnosing, or preventing diseases or conditions in the included schedule.

Included Schedule Diseases:

  • Originally included a list of 54 diseases and conditions.
  • The original included schedule contained a list of 54 diseases and conditions:
  1. Appendicitis
  2. Arteriosclerosis
  3. Blindness
  4. Blood poisoning
  5. Bright's disease
  6. Cancer
  7. Cataract
  8. Deafness
  9. Diabetes
  10. Diseases and Disorders of brain
  11. Diseases and Disorders of the optical system
  12. Diseases and Disorders of the uterus
  13. Disorders of menstrual flow
  14. Disorders of the nervous system
  15. Disorders of the prostatic gland
  16. Dropsy
  17. Epilepsy
  18. Female diseases (in general)
  19. Fevers (in general)
  20. Fits
  21. Form and structure of the female bust
  22. Gall stoneskidney stones and bladder stones
  23. Gangrene
  24. Glaucoma
  25. Goitre
  26. Heart diseases
  27. High/low blood pressure
  28. Hydrocele
  29. Hysteria
  30. Infantile paralysis
  31. Insanity
  32. Leprosy
  33. Leucoderma
  34. Lockjaw
  35. Locomotor ataxia
  36. Lupus
  37. Nervous debility
  38. Obesity
  39. Paralysis
  40. Plague
  41. Pleurisy
  42. Pneumonia
  43. Rheumatism
  44. Ruptures
  45. Sexual impotence
  46. Smallpox
  47. Stature of persons
  48. Sterility in women
  49. Trachoma
  50. Tuberculosis
  51. Tumours
  52. Typhoid fever
  53. Ulcers of the gastro-intestinal tract
  54. Venereal diseases, including syphilisgonorrhoeasoft chancre, venereal granuloma and lympho granuloma.

Amendments and Penalties:

  • Schedule can be changed to include more diseases.
  • Maximum penalty is 6 months' imprisonment with or without a fine on first conviction, up to a year on subsequent convictions.
  • Companies found guilty will have all members deemed guilty.

Criticism and Future Amendments:

  • Law is rarely enforced, and products are freely available.
  • Law is considered outdated, with 14 diseases on the list now curable.
  • Proposed amendments raise questions about the status of traditional medicine systems like Yoga and Ayurveda.

Way Ahead

  • Strictly enforce the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
  • Launch campaigns to educate the public about misleading advertisements.
  • Establish mechanisms to monitor and report objectionable ads.
  • Engage with communities to raise awareness.
  • Conduct programs in schools about dangers of unverified drugs.
  • Update the Act to address current healthcare needs.
  • Partner with healthcare professionals to promote responsible advertising.
  • Strengthen bodies to ensure compliance.
  • Increase penalties for violations to deter offenders.
  • Use tech to monitor online ads.


Q. Which of the following diseases or conditions were included in the original schedule of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954?

A) Appendicitis

B) Cancer

C) Diabetes

D) Leprosy

E) Smallpox

F) Tuberculosis

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

  1. A, B, and C only
  2. A, B, C, and D only
  3. A, B, C, D, and E only
  4. A, B, C, D, E, and F

Answer: 4. A, B, C, D, E, and F