RWANDA – The Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (Rwanda FDA) has announced to stakeholders involved in the business of regulated products that promoting, informing or advertising regulated products should be done subsequent to obtaining approval.
The regulated products listed include processed food for humans and animals, food supplements, fortified foods, food fortification, labels, packages, and raw materials used in the manufacture of regulated products as well as laboratory and cleaning chemicals and pesticides.
According to the agency, all promotions and advertising materials of regulated products are screened and approved by Rwanda FDA before being put in use.
It urged media houses and practitioners such as radios, TVs, print media and online media outlets to desist from airing or publishing any promotional adverts of the regulated products from dealers who do not have official promotion or advertisement authorization.
The FDA also called on the public as well as the media to voluntarily report to them any contraventions or defaulters of the laws and regulations related to the promotion of the regulated products.
“The owner of a business that promotes or advertises regulated products without Rwanda FDA’s approval shall be sanctioned with administrative fines that include warnings and money,” said the authority.
Alex Gisagara, Head of Food and Drugs Inspection and Safety Monitoring Department at Rwanda FDA told The New Times that it had been observed that some people advertise regulated products without verifying if they had been approved.
He said that whoever advertises any of the regulated products should have authorization so that they don’t provide false information to the public.
“They should approach us to ask for approval and prove to us that their products are able to do what they say they can do before advertising them. We released this announcement to sensitize and remind them,” he said.
The announcement also pointed out that the promotion activities include but are not limited to still mode of promotion, light and sound mode of promotion, web-based mode of promotion, promotional samples, promotional meetings, promotional campaigns as well as trade fair or exhibition.
Mixed reactions on FDA’s regulations
The announcement has triggered mixed emotions from broadcasters and advertisers.
Jean Lambert Gatare, the Director of Isango Star radio and TV and a publicist said that their media house had already started asking its clients for the approvals even before the announcement was released.
“Imagine advertising a beer and later it kills people or makes them ill. The affected people would come to me and say that I sensitized them to buy it which is bad,” he said, welcoming the new directive, which he added was long overdue.
On the other hand, Louis Kamanzi, Manager and Proprietor of Flash FM and TV, lamented that anything that restricts advertising is hard and can hold back a business. Nevertheless, he said they will engage their clients who deal in regulated products to establish how easy it is for them to secure approvals from FDA Rwanda.