#Article (Archive)

On banning of ads for traditional medicine!

Mar 18, 2020, 11:44 AM

Having regard for high professional ethics and codes to ensure public safety is key, the safety of the general public needs to be given utmost and high priority if we are to develop as a nation.

The recent surge in the number of ads for traditional medicines and medicinal products in The Gambia is alarming. This has in fact prompted the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to place a ban of ads of tradition medicines as per Section (21) of the Medicines Act 2014 of the Ministry of Health.

We all know the use of herbal medicinal products and supplements has increased tremendously over the past years with not less than 80% of people worldwide relying on them for some part of primary healthcare. However, the manner and spate in which most of the ads are broadcasted on our local media are not only alarming but worrying.

Inasmuch as the use of traditional or herbal medicines continues to expand rapidly across the world with many people now resorting to these products for treatment of various health challenges, it should not be an excuse to place ads on the media without having abide by the rules and regulation governing Medicines Act of 2014 in the country.

What is indeed alarming is the fact that some of these ads contravene the Consumer Protection Act 2014, Section 12 (regulation 1) which states “advertisement shall conform to the rules of decency, sincerity and shall not exploit superstition, ignorance or fear.”

Many people have been tricked in the sense that they are made to believe that certain herbal medicines could cure certain ailments, which proves to be false. It is true that most of the FM radios these days are inundated with local ads promoting particular marabout or local herbs which ought to be stopped. Certainly, any successful healer or marabout would not need any form of ads to sell his/her products, if he or she is truly a good healer. As a country, we need to put things in the proper order if we are to make any meaningful progress.

Though, some of these ads generate income for those media houses they normally placed their ads on, but this is matter of public safety. The interest, health and safety of the general populace supersede that of any individual or group. 

“I have been asked what would I ban immediately if I could.  Advertising.”

Vivienne Westwood