Uttarakhand revokes production ban on 5 Ramdev products, calls it an ‘error’

Updated on Nov 13, 2022 07:19 AM IST

On November 9, the Uttarakhand authority ordered ban on production of BPgrit, Madhugrit, Thyrogrit, Lipidom and Eyegrit Gold tablets, which the Divya Pharmacy, part of Patanjali Group, aggressively advertised as cure for these diseases.

Patanjali Group thanks authorities for rectifying the error in a timely manner.” (PTI)
Patanjali Group thanks authorities for rectifying the error in a timely manner.” (PTI)

The Uttarakhand Ayurveda and Unani Licensing Authority on Saturday revoked its order that banned yoga instructor Ramdev’s Divya Pharmacy from production of five products that the company claimed can treat blood pressure, diabetes, goitre, glaucoma and high cholesterol.

On November 9, the state authority ordered ban on production of BPgrit, Madhugrit, Thyrogrit, Lipidom and Eyegrit Gold tablets, which the Divya Pharmacy, part of Patanjali Group, aggressively advertised as cure for these diseases.

“We allow the production of medicines (five products) to continue as earlier by amending the previous order dated November 9 issued by this directorate,” said the letter issued by Uttarakhand drug regulator Dr GCN Jangapangi on Saturday. HT has seen a copy of the letter.

“We issued the previous order hastily and it was an error. We have allowed the Divya Pharmacy to continue the production of the five medicines (products) by issuing a fresh order,” Jangapangi told HT. “We should have given time to the company to explain their stand before ordering a ban on production.”

After the ban revocation order, Patanjali spokesperson SK Tijariwala on Saturday said: “We are humbly grateful to the Government of Uttarakhand for taking cognizance of this irrational act of defaming Ayurveda; and for rectifying the error in a timely manner.”

In a statement, the company further said: “Through 30 years of continuous effort and research, Patanjali Institutions, for the first time in the world, has generated the acceptance of Ayurvedic medicines in the form of research and evidence-based medicine.”

“...Unfortunately, some of the ignorant, insensitive, and underqualified officers of the Ayurveda Licensing Authority of Uttarakhand have been tarnishing the entire sage tradition of Ayurveda,” the statement said. “This indiscreet error of an officer, (which is) a question mark on the tradition and authentic research of Ayurveda, has been raised in order to utterly tarnish it. A reprehensible act to maliciously defame Patanjali was done on purpose.”

In July, Kerala-based ophthalmologist KV Babu complained that the company was violating the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable advertisement) Act 1954 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945, by promoting these products as remedies for these diseases.

Babu sent another complaint to the State Licensing Authority (SLA) on October 11 through an email.

On November 9, the authority asked the pharmacy to remove “misleading and objectionable advertisements” from the media space with immediate effect and in future.

“The company should publish advertisements that have been approved, else its manufacturing licence would be revoked,” it said and gave a week’s time to the company to respond. On Saturday, it extended the time given to the company from a week to 15 days to submit its response.

Patanjali had reacted sharply to the order, terming it “an act of drug mafia and threatened with legal action against those trying to malign their image”.

In its November 9 letter, the authority also asked the company to submit revised formulation sheets and label claims for each of the five formulations for fresh approval of its products. It had said the production can be restarted only after the authority approves the revised indications.

In September too, the state health authority, as well as the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), had taken a firm view on five advertisements by Patanjali Ayurveda that promised to treat blood pressure, diabetes, goitre, high lipid levels and glaucoma.

The state authority on September 7 asked Divya Pharmacy to remove the advertisements from the media and submit an explanation within a week. It also forwarded the complaint to the Union ministry of Ayush for further action.

In August, the Delhi high court sought clarification from Patanjali founder Ramdev regarding his company’s product ‘Coronil’, on allegations of spreading misinformation about the Covid-19 cure capacity of the product.

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