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Patanjali Ayurved MD Acharya Balkrishna submits unqualified apology to Supreme Court over alleged misleading ads

Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna has tendered an unqualified apology in the Supreme Court over alleged misleading advertisements.

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Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna has tendered an unqualified apology in the Supreme Court over alleged misleading advertisements. In an affidavit, Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna said that he submits an unqualified apology before the top court for the breach of the statement recorded in the order copy of the top court dated November 21, 2023.

Acharya Balkrishna said that he will ensure that such advertisements are not issued in the future and submits that its intention is only to exhort the citizens of this country to lead a healthier life by consuming products of the Ayurvedic company, including products for lifestyle ailments, through the use of age old literature and materials supplemented and backed by Ayurvedic research. “The deponent regrets that the advertisement in question, which was meant to contain only general statements, inadvertently included the offending sentences. The same was bona-fide and added to the routine course by the media department of the Respondent No. 5 Company. The personnel of the media department of the Respondent No. 5 Company were not cognizant of the order dated November 21, 2023,” read the affidavit.

Acharya Balkrishna further submitted that Schedule J of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, read with the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1955, is in an archaic state and the last changes were introduced in 1996. The Drug & Cosmetic Act, 1940, was passed when scientific evidence in Ayurveda research was lacking. The Ayurvedic Company now possesses evidence-based scientific data with clinical research conducted in Ayurveda, which would demonstrate the advances made through scientific research in the context of diseases mentioned in the said schedule. In light of the same, it is humbly submitted that the deponent’s only quest is for a better and healthier life for each and every citizen and to reduce the burden on the country’s healthcare infrastructure by providing holistic, evidence based solutions for lifestyle-related medical complications through the use of the age-old traditional approaches of Ayurveda and Yoga, the affidavit said.

In fact, the idea was to promote the Ayurvedic products, which are based on age old literature/material backed by scientific research, the affidavit said. The affidavit came as a response to the SC’s earlier order, whereby the court sought from Patanjali Ayurveda Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna a response to the show cause notice in contempt proceedings against him over alleged misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurved.

In the earlier hearing, the top court issued notice to Ayurvedic Company, asking it to show cause why contempt of action should not be initiated against the company and its managing director for giving misleading advertisements. The top court had observed that the ayurvedic company has prima facie violated the top court’s order dated November 20, 2023, where it cautioned against misleading advertisements about its medicines.

The court had also restrained the Ayurvedic Company (Patanjali Ayurved) from advertising or branding their products specified as treating disease under the drug norms and also cautioned it from making any statements against any system of medicine in the media. The court’s observation came when it noted that the company has given alleged misleading advertisements.

The court was dealing with an Indian Medical Association plea seeking to frame guidelines for prohibiting false and misleading advertisements in relation to allopathy and modern medicine. IMA, a registered society, has more than 3,30,000 medical doctors as its members all over the country.

The petition also raised the issue of the campaign of misguidance, misinformation and disparagement against the modern system of medicine. IMA, in its plea, had sought to pass an order directing the Center and others to immediately take strict and prompt action, in accordance with law, for the violation of the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 by the repeated acts of omission and commission of Respondent Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., including by publishing advertisements all over the country making illegal and prohibited claims.

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