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Govt acts on quack doctor adverts

NAIROBI, July 17 – The government on Thursday gave media houses three months to withdraw any advertisements of medicines or persons purporting to cure various ailments that have not been cleared by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Medical Services Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana said this was necessitated by increased media adverts of quacks (untrained people) who claimed to be doctors.

“There are some particular media houses that give very large prominence to people who call themselves doctors but if within 90 days these advertisements are not withdrawn then we will have to invoke the law against the people who are giving those advertisements and also the people who are running those advertisements,” he warned.

The Assistant Minister noted that most of the commercials created the wrong impression that the quacks could cure all manner of diseases like Asthma, Diabetes, and Cancer as well as male and female dysfunctions.

“The law is very clear on who should use the title doctor (Dr). This title should only be used by Medical practitioners and dentists, veterinary and PhD holders,” said Mungatana.

According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board Act, CAP 244 section 39 of the laws of Kenya, it provides that “no person shall advertise any drug or poison except with the written permission of the board.”

He advised the media to cross check with the board whether such adverts had been cleared to protect the citizenry.

“Those advertising are quacks who are masquerading under the guise of herbalists or traditional healers and or Chinese medicine.”

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“They are misleading members of the public by misusing the title ‘Dr’ and thus robbing the public of their money, promising to heal medical conditions but end up killing them,” he added.

Mungatana said failure to adhere to the regulation would attract up to two years imprisonment, a fine not exceeding Sh10,000 or both.

“We are in the process of reviewing all the laws that are governing the health sector and one of the things that we will be looking at are penalties. Because maybe when the Act was put in maybe Sh10,000 in those years was like Sh1 million.”

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board publishes a doctors’ register annually, which the public could access to verify if in doubt of those using the title.

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