8 December 2022

The Uttarakhand state licensing authority for ayurvedic products issued a notice to Divya Pharmacy, part of the Patanjali group, invoking a section of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act under which it knew it could not take action just a day after telling the central Ayush ministry that the section was sub – judice.

Eight months after Ayush minis try flagged the violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act by Divya Pharmacy and asked the state licensing authority ( SLA ) to take action and put a stop to the ads, the ads for the same products continue to appear. ” My original complaint against the ads invoked DMR ( OA ) 1954 3 ( d ) and Drugs and Cosmetic rules 1945, 106 ( 1 ) only. I made no complaint under Rule 170, which the SLA says is sub judice. Then why did the SLA deliberately use Rule 170, which it knows cannot be used ?, ” asked the complainant Dr. KV Babu, an ophthalmologist from Kerala.

Notice issued to Patanjali's
Notice issued to Patanjali’s

Rule 170 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1945, which was inserted through a gazette notification in 2018, prohibits the advertisement of Ayurvedic, Siddha, and Unani drugs. However, Rule 170 was not invoked by the central Ayush ministry.

The ministry stated in April 2022 that ” on examining, the advertisement was found objectionable as per provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (Objectional Advertisement ) DMR ( OA ) Act, 1954 and Rules 1955 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 ” because the products advertised claimed treatment for conditions for which any advertisement banned

Under section 3 ( d ) of this Act, there is a list of 54 conditions including diabetes, cataract, glaucoma, high or low blood pressure, and heart diseases for which any advertisement claiming cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention is prohibited. However, SLA sent a show cause notice to Divya Pharmacy on April 26 asking it to stop the ads citing Rule 170. The company responded on May 12 stating that any coercive action under Rule 170 against ayurvedic drug manufacturers had been stayed by the Mumbai High Court in February 2019 and that the stay was still in force.

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