Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on regulation of broadcasting of adverts related to traditional medicines and allied substances by media houses in the country.
The MoU signed on Tuesday in Lilongwe will also see PMRA and MACRA working together in sensitizing media houses on provisions of the PMRA Act in relation to regulation of traditional medicines, allied substances and all other medicines regulated under the Act.
PMRA Director General Mphatso Kawaye hailed the signing of the MoU as a milestone in the Authority’s efforts in ensuring that there is compliance with the law by herbal medicines traders and media houses, particularly on advertising and promotion of traditional medicines.
Section 68 (2) of the PMRA Act requires advertisers of any medicine or allied substances to seek prior screening and approval by the Authority before their advert is publicized on any media outlet.
Said Kawaye: “We have signed this MoU basically because of our public health concern over uncontrolled advertisement of traditional medicines on radios and televisions using unsubstantiated health claims.
“Although we issued guidelines to media houses about the requirement for prior screening of adverts, we have seen little compliance by media houses and that is why we reached out to Macra for collaboration in enforcing this particular legal requirement.”
On his part, MACRA Director General Daud Suleman observed that his organization has a role to play in ensuring that consumers of communication services such as radio and television content are protected from harmful and misleading information including public health messages.
“We need to start doing the right thing in as far as dissemination of information around public health is concerned,” said Suleman adding close working relationship with PMRA would benefit the nation through building well informed nation.