Baba Ramdev
TOUGH TIMES: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna at their routines. REUTERS/Amit Dave

In a setback to yoga auteur Baba Ramdev, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, his corporate arm, has been asked to recall six of its medical products from Nepal by the country's Department of Drug Administration. The department, which functions under the Ministry of Health, found the products to be of "substandard quality".

The public notice was issued after officials conducted inspections at a number of outlets and tested samples. Officials said all six products – made in Patanjali's manufacturing unit Divya Pharmacy in Uttarakhand – failed microbial tests, according to a Hindustan Times report on Thursday.

Authorities have asked Patanjali's local unit to keep them informed about the measures being taken to process the recall of the products from the Nepalese market. They have asked stakeholders to not sell or prescribe these drugs with immediate effect.

The six medicinal products include a specific batch of Patanjali's Divya Gashar Churna, Bahuchi Churna, Amla Churna, Triphala Churna, Adviya Churna and Aswangandha.

In a public notice which made the social media rounds, the administration said that the six products, which were inspected and tested at various outlets failed the microbial tests.

The Hindustan Times cited a Right to Information (RTI) reply in India which revealed that nearly 40 percent of ayurvedic products, including items from Patanjali, were found to be of substandard quality by the Haridwar-based Ayurveda and Unani Office.

In addition to these, another India-made drug Bactoclav – manufactured by Bengaluru-based Micro Lab Ltd – also failed tests, and the department has ordered its recall from Nepal.

Patanjali withdraws trademark application

In another blow, the Economic Times (ET) reported on Thursday that Patanjali Ayurved has been forced to withdraw its trademark applications for soap brand Ojas after rival Charak Pharma filed a case in the Bombay High Court alleging the brand is deceptively similar to its herbal tablets and syrups brand name Ojus.
In the court, Patanjali lawyers gave undertaking it will withdraw the application for Ojas brand name. A lawyer representing Charak Pharma said the court also directed Patanjali not to sell products under that brand.

"We have already withdrawn all the Ojas trademark applications on 19-April-2017," SK Tijarawala, spokesman for Patanjali Ayurved said in an emailed response to Economic Times. "Yes, this case was under hearing before the Bombay High Court. Because Patanjali had already discontinued the Ojas brand in the year 2014 that is the reason we gave the undertaking before the High court that we will withdraw our trademark application."

ET noted that while Patanjali Ayurved had claimed to have discontinued sale of products under the Ojas brand name in 2014, searches on ecommerce sites including Big-Basket and Grofers showed the products listing with them.