HC Relief to Reckitt Benckiser in advertisement of ASU drugs case
New Delhi: Reckitt Benckiser, over a decade long market player in the health, hygiene and home consumer goods has been smoothly commercialising its widely used products including Moov, Strepsils, Dermicool powder and so on, until the centre came up with orders to restrict the advertisement of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani range of drugs.
However, the firm challenged the prohibitory orders and filed a plea. Acting on the plea Delhi High Court has directed the centre not to take any coercive step against the pharma major.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre not to take any coercive steps against pharma major Reckitt Benckiser if it advertises its Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani range of medicines despite the prohibition on such activity under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.
A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Prateek Jalan gave the interim protection to the pharma major while issuing notice to the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and the Drugs Controller General of India seeking their stand on its plea challenging the prohibition which was inserted in the rules in December last year.
The court granted the relief after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Reckitt Benckiser, told the bench that since the company has a manufacturing licence it should not be stopped from advertising its Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani range of products, which include Strepsils, Moov, Krack cream and Dermicool talcum powder.
The AYUSH ministry, represented by central government standing counsel Ravi Prakash and advocate Farman Ali Magray, told the court that the rule was put in place after it was circulated among all stakeholders.
The company has contended that though the rules provide for a process to obtain pre-approval for advertising, it is "illusory", "unworkable" and does not sub-serve the objective sought to be achieved.
It has claimed that in the case of allopathic medicines, the restriction on the advertisement is confined to only prescription and narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and there was no prohibition where homeopathic medicines were concerned.
Reckitt Benckiser, in its plea, has further said that under the draft rules, which were circulated for approval, it was proposed to totally ban advertising of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani drugs only in respect of serious ailments and diseases.