By Shakeh Avoyan
The Armenian government introduced on Thursday significant curbs on the hitherto unrestricted advertising of medicines and medical equipment by television stations and other media.
Officials said pharmaceutical companies or dealers will now need a written permission of the Armenian Healthy Ministry to commission advertisements for any of their licensed drugs. Television and newspaper ads promoting drugs that are not registered with and approved by the ministry have been banned altogether, they said.
“It will also be illegal to state that taking a particular drug does not require the doctor’s recommendation,” Suren Krmoyan, a legal adviser to Health Minister Norayr Davidiants, told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. “Also, it will be forbidden to state that failure to take a particular drug would harm your health.”
According to Krmoyan, advertisers have also been banned from promoting untraditional methods of medical treatment that have not been licensed by the Health Ministry. The same restriction will apply to medical equipment as well, the official said.
The restrictions come in response to serious concerns voiced by medical authorities and doctors about the growing use of televised advertising in sales of mass-consumption pharmaceuticals. Drug ads promising quick recovery from various illnesses increasingly figure in the prime-time commercial breaks of leading Armenian TV channels.
(Photolur photo: Norayr Davidiants.)