CAIRO: Egyptian Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud approved Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabaly’s request to crack down on media outlets that promote medical or beauty products not certified by the health ministry.
According to health ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahin, El-Gabaly’s request, filed on Wednesday, was a reaction to the noted increase in the volume of TV ads for “counterfeit products that could endanger human life and mislead consumers.
The minister’s request encompassed independent, private and local media outlets.
Mahmoud gave his approval Thursday in an official statement where he ordered an investigation into citizen complaints against harmful medical products which they purchased based on misleading advertising content.
The statement promised criminal legal proceedings against companies found guilty of trading these products.
Mahmoud further indicated that he sent a memo to the Journalists’ Syndicate, the Higher Press Council, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Consumer Protection Authority asking them to take “all the necessary measures to stop this phenomenon and enforce the law.
He further called for the involvement of all the parties in the process of manufacturing and advertising medical and beauty products to make sure that they are approved by the ministry.
Dealing in uncertified products is fraudulent, he said, violating Egyptian pharmaceutical and consumer protection laws. Media outlets that advertise such products, added Mahmoud, violate both journalistic and advertising codes of ethics.
Last March, the Ministry of Health in association with the Pharmacists’ Syndicate, proposed amendments to a law combating illegal drugs in Egypt that is to be discussed in the coming parliamentary session.
Shahin previously told Daily News Egypt that fake and smuggled drugs are valued at approximately LE 1 billion, about 10 percent of the overall value of the pharmaceutical industry in Egypt.
According to MP Dr Farid Ismail, a member of the Pharmacists’ Syndicate, the new law is expected to increase supervision on pharmacies and impose stricter penalties on pharmacists who sell uncertified drugs.