Promotion of responsible ads on herbal and health products sought

A LAWMAKER is pushing for the promotion of responsible advertising and infomercials on herbal products and food supplements that flood the market today to protect consumers and prospective buyers from possible health hazards.

Rep. Pedro Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin) filed House Bill 2189 to compel the strict compliance by manufacturers, distributors and sellers of herbal medicines and supplementary health products and alternative health foods to advertisement standards in the manufacture, distribution and sale of these products in local or international markets.

“There is a need to provide safeguards to protect consumers and the prospective buyers of these products which consists of teas, tablets, soaps, whitening creams, slimming pills, diet supplements and the like,” stressed Romualdo, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Justice.

In filing the bill, Romualdo noted that there has been an alarming proliferation in the market of well-commercialized herbal and alternative medicines which might pose danger to the public health system and imperil the lives of the unknowing and non-discriminating public.

“Manufacturing firms and distributors of herbal food and dietary supplements have resorted to utilizing powerful marketing and advertising tools to entice the public to try and patronize their
products such as tapping showbiz and sports personalities to endorse various products,” Romualdo said.

Romualdo said with the convincing marketing strategy of advertisers of these various products, it is only prudent to warn the public about its use, potential risks to their health and disadvantages of

According to Romualdo, manufacturers, advertisers and marketers must ensure that interested buyers and loyal patrons of herbal food and dietary supplements are fully aware of what these products are all about and how these affect their health.

“The public must be informed if these products pass and are consistent with certain health and consumer standards such as good manufacturing practices (GMP), are consistent with the recommended daily intake (RDI) and recommended daily allowance (RDA), have the
prescribed nutrient value and comply with health standards imposed by existing health regulatory agencies such as the Department of Health and Food and Drug Administration,” Romualdo said.

Conforming to the advertisement standards does not stifle promotion and restrict the growth of alternative, preventive and curative health modalities, Romualdo added.

Under the measure, the warning “No Therapeutic Claims” and its real classification as “FOOD SUPPLEMENTS” must be highlighted in the packaging, infomercials and handouts of these products in English, Filipino and Visayan languages as well as its potential adverse effects or contraindications to people’s health if used in combination with prescribed medicines for certain ailments.

These words must be placed at the back of the label of the bottle and on the box of the products.

The bill mandates the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drugs Administration, Nutrition Council of the Philippines in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure the compliance of quality and safety standards by manufacturers, distributors and sellers of these herbal and alternative medicines including the provision of accurate detailed information about these products and its responsible advertising.

Violators shall be penalized with a fine ranging from P50,000 to P100,000 for the first offense; P100,000 to P250,000 for the second offense; P250,000 to P500,000 for the third offense and P1,000,000 but not more than P5,000,000 for more than four violations and one year suspension of its permits and licenses.

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