Action proposed against Patanjali unit for misleading ads on Ayurvedic products

Company has not denied violation, says Kannur-based RTI activist

July 09, 2022 06:32 pm | Updated 06:52 pm IST - Kozhikode

The Licensing Officer for Ayurvedic and Unani Services, Uttarakhand, has directed the Drug Inspector, Haridwar, to take action against Divya Pharmacy under Patanjali Yogpeeth for releasing misleading advertisements on its Ayurvedic products.

K.V. Babu, Kannur-based ophthalmologist and RTI activist, who managed to get documents revealing this after filing complaints with the authorities, said on Saturday that the company had not denied violation of Section 3 of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. Its only defence was that action cannot be taken under Rule 170 of The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, as it had been stayed by the Bombay High Court on February 2, 2019. That case was based on a writ petition filed by Ayurvedic drug manufacturers’ association and Divya Pharmacy.

“My complaint did not invoke Rule 170. It has nothing to do with the Bombay court’s stay either. My allegation pertained to the law related to objectionable ads,” Dr. Babu said.

On May 7, an authorised representative of the company had admitted to receiving an official notice alleging that the ads had been found to be “objectionable and misleading” under provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, and Rule 170 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules. “... taking note of your captioned notice(s), the undersigned has immediately stopped publication of the impugned advertisements,” the letter had said. The medicines were Divya Lipidom Tablet, Divya Livogrit Tablet, Divya Livamrit Advance Tablet, Divya Madhunashini Vati, and Divya Madhunshini Tablet.

The licensing officer, in a follow-up mail to the Drug Inspector/ District Ayurvedic and Unani Officer, Haridwar, on May 27 said “necessary action” should be taken against the company. Dr. Babu, quoting the Act, said whoever contravened any of the provisions of this Act shall be punishable, if convicted, with imprisonment up to six months, or with fine, or with both, if it is the first such case. The Union AYUSH Ministry had earlier advised drug licensing authorities in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand to take “necessary action” on complaints that the products were being promoted for heart diseases and liver disorders through illegal advertisements.

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