Indian Medical Association Endorses Pepsi's Tropicana
Times News Network
May 8, 2008

NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry has taken strong objection to Indian Medical Association's move to endorse PepsiCo's Tropicana pure juices and Quaker Oats.

Speaking to TOI, Union health minister A Ramadoss said IMA should focus more on irrational use of drugs and blood products rather than endorse Dettol and juices.

"At present, two third of all deaths in India are being caused by tobacco, alcohol and junk food. IMA should join hands with the ministry in halting such trends. IMA should think about organizing more continuing medical education sessions and help the ministry organize activities against TB and malaria, rather than endorse commercial brands," Ramadoss said.

IMA has also received brickbats from director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Sunita Narain, who said it was very wrong on the part of IMA to have endorsed a particular brand of fruit juice. "If I have to watch a Pepsi advertisement, I'd rather watch film stars Aamir Khan than some doctor. At least I know why he is modelling," she said.

According to sources, Pepsico's India affiliate has entered into a three-year deal with IMA under which the association that represents 1,76,000 doctors is endorsing the Tropicana brand of fruit juices and the Quaker Oats brand.

IMA's past president, Ajay Kumar, has said Tropicana juices and Quaker Oats have scientifically proven health benefits. These benefits, Narain said, were advertising tricks.

IMA sources said that in return of the endorsement, IMA received Rs 50 lakh which will be used by the association in organizing its activities, conferences and seminars.

"Earlier, IMA endorsed other brands like Eureka Forbes for which we received Rs 3 crore. IMA has also passed a deal with Hindustan Lever to endorse a sanitary napkin brand. A deal with Dabur is also being finalized," an IMA source added.

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