Dehradun: Uttarakhand’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government and yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali are on the warpath, with the state ayurvedic and unani services authority banning production of five drugs manufactured by Divya Pharmacy — a Patanjali company — and the latter alleging a conspiracy against the group.
Uttarakhand Ayurvedic and Unani Services Licensing Authority (UAUSLA), in a letter issued by licence officer Dr G.C.S. Jangpangi Wednesday, the authority directed Haridwar-based Divya Pharmacy to stop production of drug tablets Divya Madhugrit, Divya Eyegrit Gold, Divya Thyrogrit, Divya BPgrit and Divya Lipidom.
Alleging misleading and objectionable publication of advertisements of these products in the media, the UAUSLA found Ramdev’s pharma company guilty of violating the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954, and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. It further ordered Divya Pharmacy to remove all advertisements of these drugs from the media with immediate effect.
Divya Pharmacy’s parent body Patanjali Ayurved has called the ban an “act of anti-ayurveda drug mafia” and the UAUSLA “a party to the conspiracy”. The company also denied receiving any letter on the issue and has warned of legal action against those involved in the “conspiracy”.
Ramdev’s close aid and Patanjali Ayurveda MD Acharya Balkrishna tweeted Thursday night: “It’s clear from the information received through the media that anti-Ayurveda drug mafia has conspired against Divya Pharmacy, but we will not allow this to succeed.”
He alleged that “the letter written and circulated in the media by Uttarakhand Ayurveda and unani services department, also a party to the conspiracy, has not been made available to Patanjali sansthan yet. No letter or information has been provided even after the department was contacted”.
He also tweeted that “queries over the matter of misleading and objectionable advertisements were already answered by Patanjali to the licence officer on September 30”.
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What led to action
UAUSLA’s action against Divya Pharmacy was a result of two complaints made against Patanjali by a Kerala ophthalmologist, Dr K.V. Babu, in July and October “about repeated misleading and objectionable advertisements published about these drugs”.
In the letter written to Divya Pharmacy on 9 November, licence officer Jangpangi said “a drug panel constituted by the directorate had examined formulation sheets and label claims of the drugs” in question.
“Following examination, the panel asked for submission of amended formulation sheets and label claims of these drugs with the department and restart production only after amended sheets and labels are ratified by the authority. At the same time, you are directed that only those advertisements permitted by the department be published in the media in future, else permission granted to you for manufacture of the formulations be cancelled under Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954, and rule 170 of Drugs and Cosmetics Act,” the letter added.
According to the Patanjali Ayurved MD: “All products and medicines made by Patanjali follow prescribed standards, fulfilling all statutory processes and international standards with the highest research and quality in the ayurveda tradition, with the help of more than 500 scientists”.
On UAUSLA’s warning of future action against Divya Pharmacy under rule 170 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, Balkrishna said the rule had been stayed by the Mumbai High Court.
Rule 170 prohibits the advertisement of ayurvedic, siddha and unani drugs.
Balkrishna further warned UAUSLA to “rectify its mistake and take appropriate action against the persons involved in this conspiracy”.
“Else Patanjali sansthan will resort to legal action (of) criminal charges against persons involved in the conspiracy and compensation of losses incurred to the organisation’s reputation,” he tweeted.
(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
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