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Supreme Court Issues Warning to Patanjali Ayurved Over Misleading Medical Claims

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the Supreme Court of India has issued a stern caution to Patanjali Ayurved, a company co-founded by yoga guru Ramdev, for making “false” and “misleading” claims in advertisements about its medicines as a cure for various diseases. The caution comes in response to a plea filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), alleging a smear campaign by Ramdev against the vaccination drive and modern medicines.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued notices to the Union health ministry, Ministry of Ayush, and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd on August 23, 2022. The IMA raised concerns about a campaign led by Ramdev criticizing allopathy and allopathic practitioners. The court had expressed its displeasure over such criticism, emphasizing the need to restrain from abusing doctors and other systems of treatment.

During a recent hearing, a bench comprising justices Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Prashant Kumar Mishra orally observed that all false and misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved must cease immediately. The court emphasized the seriousness of such infractions and warned of potential consequences. The bench explicitly instructed Patanjali Ayurved not to publish misleading claims and advertisements against modern systems of medicine.

The Supreme Court also indicated that it might consider imposing a fine of Rs 1 crore on each product if found to be making false claims regarding its ability to cure specific ailments. This move aims to deter companies from making unsubstantiated medical claims in their advertisements.

The IMA, in its plea, highlighted several advertisements that allegedly portrayed allopathic doctors in a negative light. It claimed that disparaging statements were made by firms producing ayurvedic medicines, misleading the public by suggesting that medical practitioners were dying despite taking modern medicines. The IMA argued that these efforts were part of a larger campaign to discourage vaccinations, including the COVID-19 jab drive, and the use of allopathic medicines in the country.

The Supreme Court has scheduled the hearing on the IMA’s plea for February 5 next year. The bench has urged the counsel representing the Centre to find a remedy to the issue of misleading medical advertisements, emphasizing the need to address claims about medicines offering a perfect cure for certain diseases.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the Supreme Court’s warning to Patanjali Ayurved serves as a reminder of the importance of responsible advertising in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. This case reflects broader concerns about the potential impact of misleading medical claims on public health, especially in the context of critical issues such as vaccination drives and the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The court’s scrutiny underscores the need for transparency and accuracy in healthcare-related communications to ensure the well-being and trust of the general public.

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