New Delhi : Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), together with The National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (NAC-SCRT), has begun monitoring ads that communicate stemcell-based therapies. This is in regards with ‘several clinics and organisations advertise therapies in ways that attract vulnerable patients for therapies whose safety and efficacy is not established,’ informed an official statement.
The precautionary step has been undertaken as the therapies are currently investigational in nature and must be conducted only within the scope of clinical trials.
Alok Srivastava, chairman, NAC-SCRT, said, “Advertisements claiming to offer stem cell-based therapies other than Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantations for blood diseases are in violation of the clause 10.3.1 of the National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research-2013. Use of stem cells for any other purpose outside the ambit of clinical trials will be against these guidelines and is hence not permissible. We have asked ASCI to review such advertisements and are happy that action has been initiated against 23 such websites. It is necessary that such misleading advertisements be removed and action be taken against the defaulters unless they are suitably modified to clarify the unproven nature of these therapies and are only offered within approved clinical trials. The NAC-SCRT will be reviewing the developments in the field and modifying its position with regard to proven therapies from time to time.”
Narendra Ambwani, chairman, ASCI, commented, “Since the stem cell based therapies are currently experimental/investigational, advertising these for indications not approved by regulatory authorities is in violation of Chapter III of the ASCI code for Self-Regulation of Advertisements. The code requires that advertisements should not propagate products or services, the use of which is banned under the law. ASCI will be partnering with the Ministry of Health to curb such unlawful advertisements promoting medical practices not approved by regulatory authorities.”
ASCI has processed complaints against web-site advertisements highlighted by NAC-SCRT for violating of the clause 10.3.1 of the National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research 2013 (NAC-SCRT). Advertisers are said to have immediately started amending their website content.