CityNews – A conference was held to discuss the ethics and potential misinformation regarding the advertisement and promotion of health products.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public discussion today, August 31st at Le Méridien Chiang Mai regarding the advertising and promotion of health products concentrating on drugs and dietary supplements.
Due to concerns over hype advertisement on various media, the conference was held to discuss various issues, and offer an open hearing on the matter with participant from local authorities, the media and civilians in hopes of encouraging the community to report on any possible violations.
Talks focused mainly on the elderly, who are the group who listen to the radio the most. The panel raised concerns about how this group is targeted by companies. It was stated at the conference that these elderly citizens would often believe that these products could cure them when listening to advertisement and celebrity endorsements. Often monks, celebrities, local influential people or self-proclaimed experts would offer testimonials that these products could cure a variety of diseases and illnesses. The concern here is that the companies producing these products can deflect blame by saying that these were personal endorsements and not advertising, therefore avoiding responsibility and liability.
One participant mentioned that often workshops or stalls were set up in communities, luring villagers to sample or buy them, questioning why village headmen allowed such practice.
LT. Gen. Perapong Manakit, Ph.D., Commissioner of NBTC explained that advertisement of foods, drugs and dietary supplements are overseen by two offices, the NBTC and the FDA each of which works separately. Therefore, the process of prosecuting related cases, from reviewing complaints to settling on agreements, can be stretched out as long as six months or a year. To remedy the over extended process, the NBTC and the FDA have set up a centre to work on foods, drugs and dietary supplement advertisement specifically and now the process has reportedly shrunk to three days.
The centre which was set up in May this year had so far reviewed 529 cases, with the majority concerning food.
For those in Chiang Mai who wish to report on hype advertisements please call 053 894 742, 053 221 048, or email at [email protected]