Drug Company’s Ad Pulled for Offering Raffle

An Indonesian pharmaceutical company’s television commercial was pulled off the air by the Ministry of Health because it encouraged people to buy influenza medication to win raffle prizes ranging from motorbikes to refrigerators, said health officials on Tuesday.

“Companies are not allowed to advertise their medicine for lucky draws because the principle is not ethical in the medical world,” said Health Secretary of State Ung Phi­run on Tuesday. The company had not cleared its “lucky draw” advertising campaign with the government prior to broadcast, he said.

Ung Phirun issued the order to ban Procold flu tablet commercials, which were taken off the air Dec 28.

“Procold may be allowed to broad­cast again when they change the words,” he said.

Pen Sunna, a supervisor for the local office of the Indonesian company Kalbe Farma, which has sold Procold in Cambodia for about four years, said the promotion campaign was meant to get customers to “remember the product easily.”

But Voeung Yimheang, chief of the marketing, narcotic control and pharmacies department at the Health Ministry, maintained that the campaign—in which customers sent in their names and addresses on the medication’s four-tablet package for a shot at winning a prize—was “very wrong.”

“Before taking medicine, people need to consult a doctor. Medicine cannot be advertised that it can be exchanged for gifts,” he said, adding that the commercials would likely tempt children to purchase the medication to try their luck in the contest.

Chroeng Sokhan, deputy director of the Health Ministry’s department of drugs and food, said all pharmaceutical adverts have to receive permission from a committee in his department.

However, some them get publicized without authorization, he said. “It’s usually a problem with radio and newspapers—not so much with television,” he added.

Pen Sunna said the Procold commercials had aired on Cambodian television for a month without prior authorization from the Health Min­is­try committee because the company grew tired of waiting for government approval. “I asked for their permission but the ministry worked too slowly,” he said.

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.