A health regulatory authority on Wednesday, citing misleading advertisements, asked Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved to stop manufacturing five products the company has promoted as a treatment for blood pressure, diabetes, goitre, glaucoma and high cholesterol.
The Ayurveda and Unani Licensing Authority in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, directed the manufacturer Divya Pharmacy to stop production of Madhugrit, Eyegrit, Thyrogrit, BPgrit and Lipidom, promoted under Patanjali’s range of ayurveda health products.
The authority, responding to complaints filed by Kerala-based ophthalmologist K.V. Babu in July this year, has also asked Patanjali to submit revised formulation sheets and label claims for each of the five formulations for “fresh approval”.
Label claims list the specific indications or health disorders for which a formulation has been approved. The company can restart production only after the authority has approved the revised indications, the authority said in a letter sent to Divya Pharmacy.
The authority also said the company should in future publish advertisements that have been approved by the authority or the manufacturing licence of the drugs would be revoked.
The Uttarakhand licensing authority had in early September also asked Patanjali to refrain from advertising the five products. Babu had complained to the licensing authority that Divya’s advertisements violated the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Magic Remedies Act, 1954.
The Acts prohibit advertisements that promote prevention, treatment, or cure of certain disorders, including blood pressure, glaucoma, goitre, diabetes, liver disorders and heart disease.
The subject line of the licensing authority’s letter on Wednesday to Divya said: “Repeated contravention” of the two Acts by Divya Pharmacy, Haridwar. Among the advertisements Babu had flagged was one that claimed that the product called Lipidom reduced cholesterol “in a week” and protected people from heart problems and blood pressure.
Email queries sent by this newspaper to Divya Pharmacy and Patanjali seeking their response to the authority’s letter on Wednesday have not evoked a reply.
Officials from the company were not immediately available for comment.
“The order to stop production and revise the claims being made comes as a relief — many consumers might have consumed the products after being misled by the ads,” said Raj Shekhar Yadav, an Alwar-based physician and convenor of the United Private Hospitals and Clinics Association of Rajasthan.
Babu said he decided to complain to authorities because he is among doctors concerned about the health implications of the repeated release of advertisements to members of the public
“The licensing authority’s decision today is a welcome decision for all those who believe and practise evidence-based medicine,” Babu said.