Patanjali Ads Case Would Not Have Reached a Conclusion But for the SC’s Intervention!

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Patanjali
  • At the outset, the Indian citizens would be grateful for the reinvention of the ancient Ayurveda courtesy of Patanjali proponent Baba Ramdev in the last few decades. The traditional medicine practiced over the millennium received a breath of fresh air from the renowned Yoga exponent. People who were hitherto drifting away from traditional medicine and practices were brought into the fold through concerted efforts of Ayurveda and Yoga exponent Baba Ramdev to a great extent. Millions of people became aware of the ancient practices when the Yoga Guru went about aggressively propagating the benefits which were wholeheartedly welcomed. Again, millions will vouch for how Yoga and breathing techniques helped in leading a healthy life. No questions asked.

SC

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  • I am sure, most of us would vouch unequivocally about the benefits derived from practicing some of the breathing exercises propagated by the Yoga Guru. However, the revered Guru is in the news for all the wrong reasons of late what with the Supreme Court stepping into address. As you are aware, the crackdown on Patanjali and its associate Ayurved factory Divya Pharmacy for malpractices reached the hallowed portals of the Supreme Court for airing advertisements related to drugs claiming cures for diseases. Note that Yoga Guru Ramdev’s project Patanjali has for years advertised its full range of Ayurved drugs, across every medium available. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had lodged a complaint against Patanjali for false claims on curing diseases.
  • Indian law in very clear terms bans advertising, direct or indirect, in any form, for a range of diseases and conditions, regardless of the efficacy of the drug, promise of a cure, or therapy. The SC was unsparing in its takedown of Uttarakhand’s state licensing authority over its inaction in cracking down on Patanjali and its associate Ayurved factory Divya Pharmacy. Its question was simple and direct: why did the regulator need court orders to act? The Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (Objectionable Ads) states that for 54 conditions/diseases, advertising of any cure or therapy is banned. The SC put forth a pertinent question to the regulator – it was only after our order that you realized that there is a law -The Drugs and Magic Remedies Act.

ADs

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  • For the uninitiated, SC has been hearing an IMA writ petition against Patanjali’s misleading ads, including its claim to have completely cured diabetes and asthma through medicine and yoga. Given Patanjali’s dual business as a pharma company and FMCG, IMA’s petition focused on misleading ads of its drugs, under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, of 1954. Given the case’s gravity, and a defiant Patanjali, SC strongly criticized Patanjali for persisting in publishing deceptive claims and ads against modern medical systems, warning it in Nov 2023 of a fine of Rs. 1cr if Ramdev and his company persisted. The SC also ensured that Patanjali placed a full-page ad in newspapers while tendering unconditional apologies for false claims.
  • In conclusion, the state regulatory body has failed the public it serves by not acting against Patanjali at the first appearance of an ad that was banned by law.