New Delhi: Patanjali’s Coronil, which the company’s founder Baba Ramdev has touted as a cure for Covid-19, was approved for boosting immunity and treating cough and fever and not as a treatment for coronavirus, ThePrint has learnt.
The state licensing authority (SLA) of Uttarakhand, which falls under the Ministry of AYUSH, is now ready to shoot off a letter to the Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurveda in connection with its bid to brand Coronil as a cure for Covid-19.
The company faces charges under two Acts, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, if proved guilty of making a false claim, the SLA told ThePrint.
“We will be sending a letter to Patanjali by the end of the day today. We haven’t approved the product for Covid-19 but only to boost immunity and treat cough, fever,” Dr Y.S. Rawat, joint director, SLA, Uttarakhand, said over a call Wednesday.
Covid-19, which has triggered a pandemic around the world, currently has no proven cure.
“The company has to either prove how the drug could treat Covid-19 or else roll back the claim. Otherwise, we will suspend or cancel the licence given to Coronil,” he added.
Patanjali Ayurved spokesperson S.K. Tijarawala, however, told ThePrint that “everything is submitted well in order and as per the rules laid down by the government”.
How was the drug approved?
The company applied for drug approval through an application dated 10 June. “The company had submitted the documents, as per the protocol including the formulation sheet (explaining the formula used to manufacture the drug), testing protocol (to check the efficacy of the drug) and label claim (which mentions that for what conditions the drug will be sold),” Rawat said.
The department, he added, followed the standard procedure for drug approval, “where an expert committee considered the application and approved the drug on 12 June”.
“We had informed the company on the same day about the application clearance,” he said, adding that “the application was not complicated”.
“The drug is made of ashwagandha, giloy and tulsi. While the first ingredient is known for immunity-boosting properties, tulsi and giloy are given for treating cough and fever, respectively,” he added.
Sections under which Patanjali could be booked
The company could be charged under three sections of the two aforementioned Acts. According to Rawat, the firm is under the scanner for allegedly promoting the product with claims of “having magical properties” to cure Covid-19, labeling the product with misleading information, and advertising the products with misleading information.
“The letter, which we will dispatch in sometime, charges the company for breaking the rules under Section 161 and Rule 170 of Drugs and Cosmetics Act,” he said.
The charges, the officer said, pertained to “misleading consumers by printing wrong information on the label and… for inappropriate advertisements”.
“The company will also be booked under Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (if proved guilty) as the company claims to ‘cure’ Covid,” he added.
The SLA will also be responding to a letter received from the Union Ministry of AYUSH Tuesday, where the latter had sought a response on the categories under which the drug was approved.
“We will send the same letter to the ministry to showcase our action against the company.”