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What is the Magic Remedies Act under which Patanjali is facing scrutiny

Everything you need to know on the false advertisement case against Patanjali and the implications of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954

pharmacy, drugs, medicine, pharma companies, pharmaceuticals, vaccine, coronavirus, covid, testing

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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Patanjali Ayurved, co-founded by yoga guru Ramdev, is under scrutiny by the Supreme Court after failing to adhere to its commitment to refrain from making “misleading” claims in advertisements for its medicines.

The top court has prohibited Patanjali Ayurved from disseminating advertisements that claim to treat medical conditions such as  BP, diabetes, fevers, epilepsy, and lupus, as outlined in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954.
This development highlights the significance of the Magical Remedies Act of 1954 and its implications in regulating advertisements related to medicinal products. Here is a closer look at what this Act entails.

What is the Magic Remedies Act?

The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954 is a legislative framework to control the advertisement of drugs and prohibit claims of magical qualities in remedies. The Act encompasses various forms of advertisements, including written, oral, and visual mediums.

What does the Magic Remedies Act entail?

Under the Act, the term “drug” refers to medicines intended for human or animal use, substances for diagnosis or treatment of diseases, and articles affecting the body’s functions.

Other than articles meant for consumption, the definition for “magic remedy” under this Act also extends to talismans, mantras, and charms that allegedly possess miraculous powers for healing or influencing bodily functions.

Regulations on advertisements under the Magic Remedies Act

The Act imposes strict regulations on the publication of advertisements related to drugs.

It prohibits advertisements that give false impressions, make false claims, or are otherwise misleading. Violations of these provisions can result in penalties, including imprisonment or fines, upon conviction.

The term “advertisement,” under the Act, extends to all notices, labels, wrappers, and oral announcements.

Who comes under the Magic Remedies Act?

The Act applies to all individuals and entities involved in the publication of advertisements, including manufacturers, distributors, and advertisers.

The Act can hold both individuals and companies accountable for contraventions.

If a company violates the act, individuals in charge of its business operations may also be deemed guilty unless they can prove lack of knowledge or demonstrate due diligence in preventing the offense.

Directors, managers, or officers of the company may also be held liable if they consented to or neglected the offense.

What is the punishment for violating the Magic Remedies Act?

Violating the Act can result in imprisonment, fines, or both.

If this is the first conviction for the violator, they may face up to six months in prison, fines or both. For subsequent conviction, imprisonment may extend to one year, fine, or both.

The Act does not include any limits for the fines that may be imposed on individuals or organisations.

In the case of Patanjali, the court had warned in November 2023 that they may face a fine of up to Rs 1 crore for the misleading advertisement, however, no such announcement has been made in the hearing. The company has been given three weeks to respond to the court on why no action should be taken against it.

Additionally, the Supreme Court has reprimanded the central government for its inaction on matters pertaining to public health and safety.

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First Published: Feb 29 2024 | 4:07 PM IST

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