By Flavia Ajok
Three government agencies have teamed up to fight misinformation surrounding non-carbonated drinks marketed mainly through electronic media as health drinks.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), National Drug Authority (NDA) and the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) agree that there is a growing number of advertisements for products claiming nutritional and therapeutic (healing) value on television, radio and social media.
The three agencies have separately come under fire in the past for alleged failure to perform their roles, which has abetted the misinformation. However, the three government agencies have agreed to coordinate regarding information sharing and issuance of coordinated directives, for effective enforcement of the policies.
UCC, the regulator of the electronic media, has always warned media houses of repercussions for the continued airing of advertisements of such drinks and related services, which claim to have health benefits without any medical proof. However, most of the media houses have not heeded to the warnings and caution by the regulators.
In an exclusive interview with Spice FM, the manager standards department at UNBS Andrew Otheino accused manufacturers of diverting from the terms and conditions for which they have been certified.
He has also asked the National Environment Management Authority-NEMA to take action against manufacturers who package their products in plastic bottles that are always littered recklessly hence affect the environment.
Yosia Ndibwami, the LCV chairman for Kagadi district has also raised concern over the mushrooming manufacturers of energy drinks that claim to be certified by UNBS.
Section 33 (1)(c) of the National Drug Policy and Authority Act, Cap 206 prohibits the advertisement and publication of information that is calculated to promote the use of a drug for prevention or treatment of any disease or relating to enhancing human potency.