Questions raised over drug advert by Kerala govt. firm


RSS quick to point out that drug is from cow products; health activists see bid to mislead public

A classical Ayurvedic drug, prepared according to age-old texts using cow products, and marketed by a Kerala government undertaking, has become a subject of political discussion, also incurring the wrath of activists.

Panchagavya Ghrutham is manufactured using cow milk, curd, ghee, dung, and urine as per the Ayurveda classical text Ashtangahridayam. All major Ayurveda pharmaceutical companies have been making it for long. What kicked off a controversy, however, was an ad placed by Oushadhi, the Kerala government-owned Ayurvedic drug manufacturing unit. The product description says that it is for the treatment of ‘mental diseases, jaundice, fever and epilepsy and improves memory power and concentration.’

Organiser, the right-wing magazine owing allegiance to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, came up with a social media post recently saying that the “Kerala government company is making profit by selling cow dung and cow urine products to boost memory and concentration”. The sarcastic jab was pointed towards the ruling Left, which always corners the Sangh Parivar for its thrust on “cow politics”.

CAPSULE version

The advertisement, however, has not gone down well with public health activists as well. Campaign Against Pseudo Science Using Law and Ethics (CAPSULE), a wing of the Left-leaning Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, has lodged a complaint with the State Drugs Controller and the Deputy Drugs Controller in-charge of Ayurveda. CAPSULE chairman U. Nandakumar and convener M.P. Anil Kumar said in their letter that mental diseases or diseases or disorders of brain, fever and epilepsy were among the 54 diseases whose drugs should not be advertised under Section 3D of the Drugs and Magical Remedies Act, 1954.

Also, according to the Section 106 Schedule J of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940, (labelling and packing of drugs other than homoeopathic medicines), indications such as epileptic fits and psychiatric disorders, increase in brain capacity and improvement of memory, jaundice/hepatitis, and liver disorders should not be displayed along with the medicines. The details about the product on the Oushadhi website could mislead the people, the complaint added.



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