In A First, Kerala Drugs Control Dept Files Complaint Against Divya Pharmacy In Kozhikode Court

Kozhikode: After the Supreme Court, yoga and ayurveda guru Baba Ramdev is set to face legal proceedings in Kerala over alleged misleading drug promotions. The Kerala government’s drugs control department is the first such state agency to file a case to prosecute Baba Ramdev and Divya Pharmacy he founded. He has been named third accused in the case, after the pharmacy and Acharya Balkrishna, chairman of Patanjali Ayurved. If convicted the duo could face a jail term of up to six months and a fine.

In its case, filed before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court IV in Kozhikode, the department said that Divya Pharmacy had advertised pharmaceutical products that claimed to cure sexual impotence and diabetes. These are among the 54 diseases for which cure should not be advertised, under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

Though the pharmacy has been repeatedly accused of violating drug laws, it eluded prosecution due to difficulties in filing cases. This time, however, the drugs regulator was emboldened by the Supreme Court’s intervention. Drugs controller Dr K Sujith Kumar ordered a statewide combing operation, involving 40 inspectors, to dig up violations. In Kozhikode region alone, 20 instances of violations were found, which forms the basis of the department case.

Shaji Varghese, the assistant drugs controller, sent a special team to Delhi to trace the people responsible for the advertisements. The case was initiated based on a complaint filed by Dr Babu K V, a health activist from Kannur.

“Repeated advertising by Patanjali, which involved even urging patients to stop taking insulin for type 1 diabetes and switch over to their products, can lead to a major public health crisis, with parents stopping insulin for children. I am certain the decisive intervention of the Supreme Court and prosecution by Kerala drug authorities will put an end to ongoing illegal advertising by Patanjali and other ayurveda companies,” said Dr Babu, who also played a decisive role in the case against Baba Ramdev in the SC.

Since 2022, he has filed over 100 RTI applications and complaints to halt alleged illegal drug promotions by Divya Pharmacy.

The Kerala government’s drugs control department is the first state agency to file a case to prosecute Baba Ramdev and Divya Pharmacy he founded. He has been named third accused in the case, after the pharmacy and Acharya Balkrishna, chairman of Patanjali Ayurved.

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