Patanjali Barred from Publishing Misleading Medicine Ads; SC Issues Contempt Notices to Patanjali Ayurved and Acharya Balakrishna
Moneylife Digital Team 27 February 2024
Coming down heavily on Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, the Supreme Court (SC) barred it from advertising or branding its medicines for treating specified diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and asthma, under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act. The SC also issued a contempt notice to Patanjali Ayurveda and the company's managing director (MD), Acharya Balakrishna, for not following the apex court order in November last year. The SC was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
 
In an interim order, the bench of justice Hima Kohlia and justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah says, "You (Patanjali Ayurveda) had the courage and guts to come up with this advertisement after the order of this Court. In this advertisement, you say permanent relief, what do you mean by permanent relief? Is it a cure? Patanjali has been taking the country for a ride by making misleading claims that its medicines would cure certain diseases despite no empirical evidence for the same."
 
"Respondent 5 (Patanjali Ayurved) is restrained from advertising or branding the products (specified as a disease under the Act and Rule) manufactured and marketed by it. The respondent is also cautioned from making any statements against any system of medicine in the media (both print and electronic) in any form as undertaken by him on the last date," the bench ordered.
 
During the hearing, senior counsel PS Patwalia submitted an advertisement published by Patanjali in The Hindu. Referring to the ad, he says, "With the help of yoga, we have completely cured! sugar...asthma... The Court has restrained him in the last order... Now, he is going on releasing and advertising his products; this cannot be done."
 
Mr Patwalia stated that his briefing counsel proposed to file the advertisements, a YouTube link, and a transcript of a press conference held by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishna conducted on the very next day of the last order issued by the SC. 
 
When justice Kohli asked about the memorandum of understanding signed between the Union ministry of Ayush and the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), additional solicitor general of India (ASG) KM Nataraj stated that under section 8 of the Act, the execution part is done by the state government and the ministry cannot do the implementation. 
 
"Prima facie, this Court is of the view that Patanjali Ayurveda is in violation of the undertaking...Issue notice as to why the contempt proceedings should not be initiated against Patanjali Ayurveda and its managing director (Acharya Balakrishna)...A detailed affidavit shall be filed by the Union (government) for the steps taken in terms of the last order. If the court is not satisfied with the steps, appropriate orders will be passed," the bench says.
 
In November 2023, the SC had asked Patanjali Ayurveda not to make any misleading advertisements or false claims, and warned of hefty penalties of Rs1 crore on every product for false or misleading claims in advertisements. (Read: SC Warns Patanjali of Rs1 Crore Penalty for Every Product with Misleading Claims in Advertisement
 
The bench of justice Amanullah and justice Prashant Kumar Mishra had said, "All such false and misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurveda have to stop immediately. The Court will take any such infraction very seriously, and the Court will also consider imposing costs to the extent of Rs1 crore on every product regarding which a false claim is made that it can 'cure' a particular disease."
 
The apex court also pulled up Patanjali Ayurveda for its regular advertisement making false claims against evidence-based medicines. 
 
The bench stated that it did not wish to make the issue of an allopathy vs Ayurveda debate but wanted to find a real solution to the problem of misleading medical advertisements.
 
Directing Patanjali Ayurveda to not publish such advertisements in the future and also to avoid making such claims to the media, SC noted that ultimately, a solution was needed regarding misleading medical advertisements.
 
In August 2022, the SC had questioned Baba Ramdev on his attempt to discredit allopathy and its practising doctors during the coronavirus pandemic. IMA also initiated multiple criminal proceedings against the yoga guru. He was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).
 
In May 2021, the IMA also wrote to prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi, demanding action against Baba Ramdev for his alleged misinformation campaign on vaccination and challenging government protocols for the treatment of COVID-19.
 
In its letter, IMA says, "Misinformation campaign on vaccination by Patanjali owner Ramdev should be stopped. In a video, he claimed that 10,000 doctors and lakhs of people have died despite taking both doses of vaccine. Action under sedition charges should be taken against him."
Comments
trivenipapercup
2 months ago
MacDonald was found, to using vegitable oil to make artifical cheez. sc will not say a word even dr will keep quite
iaminprabhu
Replied to trivenipapercup comment 1 month ago
Fist FDA & FSSAI have to take action & go to court for falsifying things !

SC doesn't jump into every case without reason.
trivenipapercup
2 months ago
baba yoga with are more effective then dr medicine . ayurved and yog are used to in india for centuries.
every thing is time tested . modern medical science is new. every time they come with new medicine becuase earlier was having side effect.
let check people come at baba ashram . there can be test who cure and who not . are dr. ready?
iaminprabhu
Replied to trivenipapercup comment 1 month ago
YOGA is not under discussion or IMA Court matter here!

It's BABA & ACGARYA fooling common people & SELLING Products with FALSE CLAIMS & that too at the cost of belitting MEDICAL SCIENCE!

First get your facts cleared & then post comments!
trisha.sudhakar
2 months ago
This is just one side of the story. Please also inform what the Solicitor of Ramdev had submitted before the court.
iaminprabhu
2 months ago
Balakrishna & Rsmdev must be HEAVILY PENALIZED for blatant "Misleading without Factual proofs peer reviewed data" fir SELLING THEIR PRODUCTS to the gullible common people across our country! Not only these products BANNED IMMEDIATELY but product RECALL from market must be enforced by Honorable SC. Let us be saved from such BABAS & ACHARYAS who are putting our ancient Ayurveda to shame for their BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESSES!
kumasuresh
Replied to iaminprabhu comment 1 month ago
Do you know that scientific cure of diabetes is available in the medical world. It is found by an Iranian doctor by stem cell research. But it will never come out as the diabetes medicine market is huge and it cannot be cured with these existing medicines. Patanjali beat the shit out of multinationals. Even Europeans are using their products.
iaminprabhu
Replied to kumasuresh comment 1 month ago
Stem Cell Reasearch & it's applications have vast potential including Cancer! This has NOTHING TO DO with BABA & ACHARYA selling PRODUCTS making false claims fooling common people & that too by putting down Medical Science.

This company dosent have PEER REVIEWED FACTS published & verified by Govt. OR Science Authorities
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