New Delhi: Indian authorities have threatened to pull advertising for two brands of morning-after pills off the air amid concern they promote the drugs as regular contraceptives and misrepresent abortion, an official said on Wednesday.
The manufacturers of Unwanted-72 and I-Pill have aired commercials on satellite TV channels in recent months pushing the morning-after pills as a means to be free of tension after sex.
“We have ethical concerns about these advertisements, they are not projecting the message clearly that these pills are emergency contraceptives and not regular contraceptives,” Ram Teke, deputy drug controller general of India (DCGI) said on Wednesday.
“We are awaiting the companies’ response. This office (DCGI) gave them the permission to advertise and if they do not take corrective action, the campaigns can be pulled off air.”
However, the makers of the Unwanted-72 advertisement find nothing offensive about the the way the message is projected. “The ad is trying to create awareness among youth that abortion is not the only route if no precaution was used,” said Dhaval Vyas, manager of the Unwanted-72 account at Prachar Communications Ltd. “I don’t see anything objectionable in the message.” Network Advertising Pvt. Ltd, the agency for I-Pill, declined to comment.
Alan Collaco, secretary of Advertising Standards Council of India, an industry body that deals with complaints against ads, said: “We have received about five complaints on these ads and the matter is currently with the consumer complaint council, which will take a call on whether it should be pulled off the air.”
Morning-after pills were made available a year ago.
The measure triggered much debate in the sexually conservative country with critics arguing the easy availability of pills would encourage promiscuity among the millions of young people.
Drug makers Cipla Ltd and Mankind Pharma Ltd, which manufacture I-pill and Unwanted-72, respectively, could not be reached for comment.
With inputs from Mint’s Priyanka Mehra.