Supreme Court Rebukes Uttarakhand Drug Authority Over Patanjali's Misleading Ads

Supreme Court rebukes Uttarakhand drug authority for failing to act on Patanjali's misleading ads for Coronil. Demands accountability, suspends officials.

The Supreme Court lashed out at the Uttarakhand government's drug licensing authority for its failure to take action against misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved, particularly regarding Coronil, touted as a COVID-19 cure.

"Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah expressed dismay at the insincere apologies from the company and its founders," highlighting the seriousness of the matter. Dr. Mithilesh Kumar, the Joint Director of the state's Food and Drug Administration, faced the court's ire, begging for mercy with folded hands.

"Please spare me," Dr. Kumar pleaded, explaining that he assumed his position in June 2023. However, the court demanded accountability, questioning why action wasn't taken and stressing the repercussions for innocent consumers.

The court suspended three officers from the drug licensing authority, deeming their actions inadequate. It criticized the authority for issuing warnings instead of taking appropriate legal action under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.

"This happened six times... back and forth," the court noted, emphasizing the authority's negligence. Dr. Kumar was grilled for failing to seek legal advice regarding the Health Ministry's notice and not taking sufficient steps to address the issue.

"We will register (now)...," Dr. Kumar attempted to reassure.

"No... now you just sit at home for a few days. You are playing with the public's health!" the court responded firmly.

The court's scathing remarks reflect its frustration with Patanjali's repeated violations and the authorities' lackluster response. Last week, the court rebuked Patanjali's co-founders for defying its orders, questioning the AYUSH Ministry's inaction.

In February, the court directed Patanjali to cease misleading advertisements immediately. Despite assurances, misleading ads persisted, prompting the court to reprimand both Patanjali and the government.

The case stemmed from the Indian Medical Association's petition, alleging Baba Ramdev's smear campaign against the COVID vaccination drive and modern medicine.