Ayush ministry makes a U-turn on action against Ramdev's pharmacy for misleading ads

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Ayush ministry has made a U-turn on misleading advertisements of Ayush products contradicting its stand and the minister’s statement in Parliament, an RTI reply has revealed.

After Kannur-based ophthalmologist Dr K V Babu complained against dubious and misleading advertisements by Baba Ramdev’s Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved, the Ayush ministry asked Uttarakhand licensing authority to take action.

Instead of taking action, the state licensing authority cited Rule 170 under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1945, which they said prevented them from penalising the Patanjali group’s Divya Pharmacy and claimed the provision’s application was subjudice and pending before the Mumbai High Court.

Despite knowing that action can be taken under the Magic Remedies Act, the Ayush ministry did not correct the state licensing authority, said Babu.

In its reply to Babu on November 22, the ministry reiterated the same stand taken by the state licensing authority, and said, “the matter is under sub judice and pending” before the Mumbai High Court and the “necessary action may be taken subject to the final decision of the court.”

The ministry didn’t correct the state authority that action can be taken under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) 1954, 3 (d) and Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1945, 106 (1). Under these sections, advertisements of drugs for 54 and 51 diseases that are under the schedule are prohibited. 

The complaint was against an advertisement claiming that Divya Pharmacy’s Lipidom could reduce cholesterol.

“In my complaint in February this year, I had sought action against the misleading advertisement under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) 1954. I made no complaint under Rule 170. They knowingly cited Rule 170, which they knew could not be used, and flagged it to state that the matter is sub-judice,” Babu told The New Indian Express.

“The Drug Policy Section of the Ministry of AYUSH is misinterpreting the stay on Rule 170, which was added just to reinforce the existing Acts, as a stay on the whole of DMR (OA) 1954 section 3(d) and D & C Act 1945, section 106(1), which prohibits the advertisements of the drugs under schedule.”

Babu said he has now written to the Ayush minister Sarbananda Sonowal for “wrong interpretation of the sub-judice nature of Rule 170 of D & C Rules 1945, thereby exonerating the violators of DMR (OA) 1954” and requested him to intervene on the matter.

The RTI activist said the U-turn by the ministry is contradictory to the statement of the minister in the Parliament in March 2022 and their communications to the state licensing authority in April and then in September, asking them to initiate action against Divya Pharmacy under DMR (OA) 1954.

Even the file notings of the Ayush ministry indicate that though Rule 170 is subjudice, action can be taken under DMR (OA) 1954.

“If the present position of the Ministry of Ayush, which is contradictory to the rules of the land, is implemented, it will lead to flooding of the media with misleading advertisements and will prove a public health disaster,” Babu added.

Sonowal in the parliament had said that “the protocol or guidelines are in force to restrict Ayush products of medicinal use with dubious claims and for selling certain medicines under medical supervision.”

“The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules there under encompass the provisions for prohibition of misleading advertisements and exaggerated claims of drugs and medicinal substances, including Ayush medicines and for the penalty to be imposed on the defaulters,” he had said in the Rajya Sabha on March 22.

“The State/UT Governments are empowered to enforce the legal provisions under Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, and rules made thereunder,” he added.

The minister had also said that media regulators have also been approached to prevent the publication of inappropriate advertisements promoting sale of Ayurvedic and other such medicines in public interest.

Despite the minister’s statement, Patanjali Ayurved products continue to advertise in newspapers, Babu said.

NEW DELHI: The Ayush ministry has made a U-turn on misleading advertisements of Ayush products contradicting its stand and the minister’s statement in Parliament, an RTI reply has revealed.

After Kannur-based ophthalmologist Dr K V Babu complained against dubious and misleading advertisements by Baba Ramdev’s Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved, the Ayush ministry asked Uttarakhand licensing authority to take action.

Instead of taking action, the state licensing authority cited Rule 170 under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1945, which they said prevented them from penalising the Patanjali group’s Divya Pharmacy and claimed the provision’s application was subjudice and pending before the Mumbai High Court.

Despite knowing that action can be taken under the Magic Remedies Act, the Ayush ministry did not correct the state licensing authority, said Babu.

In its reply to Babu on November 22, the ministry reiterated the same stand taken by the state licensing authority, and said, “the matter is under sub judice and pending” before the Mumbai High Court and the “necessary action may be taken subject to the final decision of the court.”

The ministry didn’t correct the state authority that action can be taken under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) 1954, 3 (d) and Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1945, 106 (1). Under these sections, advertisements of drugs for 54 and 51 diseases that are under the schedule are prohibited. 

The complaint was against an advertisement claiming that Divya Pharmacy’s Lipidom could reduce cholesterol.

“In my complaint in February this year, I had sought action against the misleading advertisement under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) 1954. I made no complaint under Rule 170. They knowingly cited Rule 170, which they knew could not be used, and flagged it to state that the matter is sub-judice,” Babu told The New Indian Express.

“The Drug Policy Section of the Ministry of AYUSH is misinterpreting the stay on Rule 170, which was added just to reinforce the existing Acts, as a stay on the whole of DMR (OA) 1954 section 3(d) and D & C Act 1945, section 106(1), which prohibits the advertisements of the drugs under schedule.”

Babu said he has now written to the Ayush minister Sarbananda Sonowal for “wrong interpretation of the sub-judice nature of Rule 170 of D & C Rules 1945, thereby exonerating the violators of DMR (OA) 1954” and requested him to intervene on the matter.

The RTI activist said the U-turn by the ministry is contradictory to the statement of the minister in the Parliament in March 2022 and their communications to the state licensing authority in April and then in September, asking them to initiate action against Divya Pharmacy under DMR (OA) 1954.

Even the file notings of the Ayush ministry indicate that though Rule 170 is subjudice, action can be taken under DMR (OA) 1954.

“If the present position of the Ministry of Ayush, which is contradictory to the rules of the land, is implemented, it will lead to flooding of the media with misleading advertisements and will prove a public health disaster,” Babu added.

Sonowal in the parliament had said that “the protocol or guidelines are in force to restrict Ayush products of medicinal use with dubious claims and for selling certain medicines under medical supervision.”

“The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules there under encompass the provisions for prohibition of misleading advertisements and exaggerated claims of drugs and medicinal substances, including Ayush medicines and for the penalty to be imposed on the defaulters,” he had said in the Rajya Sabha on March 22.

“The State/UT Governments are empowered to enforce the legal provisions under Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, and rules made thereunder,” he added.

The minister had also said that media regulators have also been approached to prevent the publication of inappropriate advertisements promoting sale of Ayurvedic and other such medicines in public interest.

Despite the minister’s statement, Patanjali Ayurved products continue to advertise in newspapers, Babu said.