The Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) will from 1st August, 2023 commence joint enforcement of requirements for the advertisement of TCM products as provided for under the Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority Act, 2019.
According to a joint statement by PMRA and MACRA, the two organisations entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to oversee, supervise and interact with each other in respect to any matters relating to regulation of broadcasting of advertisements related to traditional medicines.
Effective 1st August, 2023, all advertisements of TCM products must be submitted to PMRA for prior screening and approval before broadcasting. Meanwhile, all running advertisements will continue until 31st July, 2023. However, where paid-up slots for such adverts are likely to spill over the grace period, the dealers are encouraged to submit copies of the adverts and any other new adverts to PMRA for vetting.
Reads the statement in part: “Dealers of TCM products and broadcasters are being reminded that it is an offence under section 68(2) as read with section 68(5) of the Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority Act, 2019, to advertise medicines and allied substances, including traditional and complementary medicines, without prior screening and approval by PMRA.
“Further, the Second Schedule to the Communications Act (Cap. 68:01), in section 22(c), prohibits broadcasters from airing content that is untruthful and inaccurate. The prohibition upholds the principles for content regulation under section 2(a) of the Second Schedule on the need to protect the public against harmful content and under section 2(f) of the Second Schedule to ensure the propriety of advertising aired to the public using radio and television platforms.”
PMRA and MACRA are expected to carry out joint monitoring exercises to ensure compliance by both dealers of TCM products and broadcasters.