Special Correspondent

Two Hyderabad-based labs differ on question of human remains

NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Anbumani Ramadoss on Wednesday said conflicting reports were sent by two different laboratories on the presence of human remains in the Ayurvedic preparations of Divya Yog Pharmacy run by yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

While the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad, said the samples did not contain anything of human origin, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in the same city said the DNA was of human origin.

Given the conflicting reports and doubt about the fact that the samples sent to the Ministry by Rajya Sabha member Brinda Karat were indeed Ayurvedic preparations made by Baba Ramdev's pharmacy, Dr. Ramadoss said the Drug Controller of Uttaranchal has been asked to make further enquiries.

Speedy cognisance

He said his Ministry took cognisance of Ms. Karat's complaint on an issue that essentially falls within the State Government's domain because she was a member of Parliament. The samples were sent to the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha which passed them on for testing to the National Centre for Compositional Characterisation Materials at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, CDFD, CCMB, Department of Veterinary Pathology at the Chennai Veterinary College, and the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences.

Reluctant to speculate on the course of action if the samples from Baba Ramdev's pharmacy test positive for human/animal remains, Dr. Ramadoss said the issue primarily pertained to labelling.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Act requiresthe ingredients used in preparing any medicine to be listed on the label. Violation of this clause could result in the Government withdrawing the licence to manufacture the drug, there is a provision for arresting those responsible.

'Blatant violation'

In July last year, Ms. Karat sent medicines acquired from the pharmacy in Uttaranchal to the Health Ministry with the request that they be tested for animal matter and powder made from human skulls. On December 29, she received a letter from the Ministry confirming the presence of animal products and human skulls in the samples sent by her. She disclosed the matter to the media on Tuesday at a press conference where she also demanded that the Uttaranchal Government take legal action against Baba Ramdev "for his blatant violation of the labelling procedure of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act."