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TV guru floored

Brinda Karat has alleged that the medicines manufactured at Swami Ramdev's pharmacy contained human bone.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2006 01:02 IST

Swami Ramdev, whose popular yoga classes are beamed to lakhs of Indian homes daily, has come under a cloud of controversy with CPM leader Brinda Karat alleging that ayurvedic medicines manufactured at his Hardwar-based pharmacy contained human bone powder and animal parts. Ramdev has denied the allegations.

Citing a Health Ministry laboratory report on two medicines used for treating epilepsy and impotency, Karat said on Tuesday, "The impotency drug contains testicles of animals, crushed to powder. Bone and skull powder was also detected."

A Health Ministry spokesperson said a complaint had been received that all the ingredients of the two medicines — sent by Karat — were not mentioned on the labels. "Tests have been done and the report has been made available to the Uttaranchal government," he said.

Ramdev's Divya Yogi pharmacy at Kankhal in Haridwar manufactures over 160 types of medicines including syrups, tablets, powders and metallic preparations.

The medicines, he claims, can cure diseases ranging from acidity to impotency and even control cancer in initial stages.

Six months ago, Karat had collected two medicine samples from the pharmacy and sent them to the Health Ministry for testing.

The samples were then forwarded to three laboratories affiliated to the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha.

On December 29, Karat received a letter from the Department of AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy). The letter said the analysis of the samples revealed "a violation of licensing and labelling provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act (DCA), 1940". It also said the Health Ministry was bringing the issue to the notice of the Uttaranchal government for investigation and action under the "licensing and labelling provisions of chapter 4A" of the act.

Chapter 4A of the DCA deals with non-allopathic medicines. "There are four sections— 33E, 33EE, 33EE(a) and 33EE(b) — which deal with misbranding, adulteration, spurious drugs and licensing," says Dr C.M. Gulhati, editor, Monthly Index of Medicine Specialties. "The offences are criminal in nature and the punishment ranges from one year to three years or more in jail and a fine."

Karat said there were medicines in India where powdered animal parts were used. "But it requires separate labelling and licensing procedures," she said. "Swami Ramdev didn't do the first one and didn't have the second. Teaching yoga is one thing but by making medicines with animal parts, he has betrayed the trust of his followers, many of them vegetarians."

In Lucknow, Ramdev said he was open to any kind of inquiry into the contents of the ayurvedic medicines sold from his ashram at Kankhal, Haridwar. Speaking to newspersons about Karat's allegations, he said an attempt was being made to frame him under the pressure of MNCs who had suffered because of his swadesi campaign.

To the charge that animal fat had been used in his medicines, he said, "What's the proof that the samples on the basis of which Karat is making these allegations were of the medicines we make? And even if they were, what guarantee is there that they were not doctored?"

In Dehradun, the Uttaranchal government said a probe would be conducted into the matter. State chief secretary M. Ramachandran said the government had received a letter in this regard from the Centre and steps would be initiated soon.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 01:02 IST