Government Tightening the Screws on Illicit Online Healthcare Advertisers
EghtesadOnline: Local authorities are set to introduce stricter regulations on advertising healthcare products and services through social media platforms, with the aim of squeezing out providers of unreliable ads.
President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the ministries of health and culture to clamp down on the advertisement and introduction of unlicensed healthcare products and services on social media platforms, reported Iran’s Pharmaceutical and Healthcare News Agency.
Presenting inaccurate information and misleading ads to deceive the audience about the side effects of healthcare services and products is illegal. As per the presidential directive, violators will face a prison sentence or fines, as well as two to five years of bans on their activities.
In case the consumers incur damages, the violator is obligated to recompense the aggrieved party for the harms, and in some occasions pay additional penalties and fines, Financial Tribune reported.
Instances of deceitful and imprecise advertisements include cases such as the ones that have been found unreliable, either by experts at the Health Ministry or relevant judiciary officials.
The presidential order further states that under the law, Iran’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of sticking labels of trust on legitimate products, getting help from qualified private firms.
Another clause refers to the responsibility of all related ministries and organizations to deal with violations, calling on them to further collaborate with the FDA to put a stop to such malpractices.
Following the latest presidential directive, an official affiliated to Iran’s Medical Council expressed her disapproval of local deals websites, Netbarg and Takhfifan, offering healthcare products and services, calling the practice illegal and unauthorized.
Fahimeh Salari is of the opinion that these businesses have to come in line with protocols enforced by the Medical Council to be granted certificates of operation in the field.
Founders of Netbarg and Takhfifan reacted to the assertions by Salari, saying they are not advertisement agencies, and merely facilitate the shopping process.
They added that all required licenses have been received from Iran Cyberspace Police; however, the Medical Council would not keep out of their hair, constantly filing complaints and demanding explanations.
However, most observers believe that the recent clampdown can prove helpful in crowding out the providers of misleading and inaccurate healthcare ads.