New Delhi: Patanjali Yogpeeth attached pharmacy has withdrawn advertisements of its ayurvedic products claiming to cure diabetes, heart and liver diseases after the company was pulled for allegedly violating provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
As per various media accounts, the Kozhikode Divya Pharmacy has told regulatory authorities that it will refrain from publishing advertisements amid complaints that they breached drug laws.
An authorised representative of Divya Pharmacy, a unit of Divya Yog Mandir Trust, said in a letter to the Licensing Officer, Ayurvedic and Unani Services in Uttarakhand that they had received official notices alleging that the ads have been found to be “objectionable and misleading” under the provisions of the Act and Rule 170 of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
The development comes in wake of a complaint lodged by a Kannur-based ophthalmologist, Dr KV Babu against 3 advertisements published by Patanjali Ayurved. The drugs advertised were Divya Lipidom Tablet, Divya Livogrit Tablet, Divya Livamrit Advance Tablet, Divya Madhunashini Vati and Divya Madhunshini Tablet.
In his complaint, Babu had stated, “Drugs claiming to cure certain diseases cannot be advertised. These advertisements appeared in February. So I sent a complaint on February 24 to VG Somani, Drugs Controller General of India, opposing one of the advertisements that claimed the product would cure heart problems and blood pressure by reducing cholesterol in a week.”
However, the claims were cited as a violation of Section 3 of the Act that prohibited advertisement of certain drugs for treatment of certain diseases and disorders. As per the provisions of this Act, no person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement referring to any drug in terms which suggest or are calculated to lead to the use of that drug.
“People may purchase certain products after viewing misleading ads for them — and they may never know that they were misleading,” Babu told The Telegraph.
The complaint was later forwarded to the AYUSH Ministry’s drug policy section. The Ministry had earlier this year asked Uttarakhand authorities to “take necessary action” against the company, the Ministry further revealed that it was already looking into similar complaints from elsewhere that had been brought to its notice.
The Ministry added that its National Pharmacovigilance Centre had also independently noticed advertisements of other Patanjali products and issued similar directives to Karnataka and Rajasthan authorities. As per a recent media report in The Hindu, two other advertisements placed by the company had claimed that “evidence-based medicines” would help patients get “instant benefit in problems related to fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, and the digestive system.”
It was soon after the Union AYUSH Ministry and the AYUSH Department of the Uttarakhand government made it clear that violation of the Act would invite action, Divya Pharmacy wrote to the state authorities on May 7, “It is submitted that taking note of your captioned notice(s), the undersigned has immediately stopped publication of the impugned advertisements.”