The Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has issued directions for celebrities, influencers and virtual influencers in the field of health and wellness.
These guidelines are a significant extension of the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Support for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 issued on 9th June 2022.
In this context, a guide booklet was issued on 20 January 2023.
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the objective of these guidelines is to weed out misleading advertisements and baseless claims and to ensure transparency for health and well-being.
Guidelines issued after consultation with key departments:
Such additional impactful guidelines have been developed after detailed discussions with all stakeholders including Ministry of Health, Ministry of AYUSH, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).
What are the new guidelines:
Under the new guidelines, certified physicians and health experts who are promoting products or making any health claims will be required to disclose that they are certified health and fitness experts and medical practitioners.
As per the guidelines, celebrities and influential persons who are posing as health experts or medical practitioners will have to categorically disclaim the same.
It is recommended that viewers seek guidance from healthcare professionals for expert medical advice and comprehensive product information.
Provision of punishment for violation:
Violation of the additional guidelines issued may attract a penalty under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and other relevant laws.
The department is committed to protecting consumer interests and promoting a fair and transparent marketplace, especially in the increasingly influential digital sector. This guideline will further strengthen the industry and protect consumer interest.