The Madras High Court on Thursday imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on Patanjali Ayurved for ‘Coronil’—a drug which the company claimed cures COVID-19 only to make a U-turn later.
Patanjali was fined for “chasing profits by exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for coronavirus when actually their ‘Coronil tablet’ is not a cure, but rather an immunity booster for cold, cough and fever”.
The court also restricted Patanjali and Divya Yog Mandir Trust from trademarking ‘Coronil’.
The Chennai-based company filed suit against Patanjali
The order was given Justice CV Kartikeyan while hearing a suit filed by Arudra Engineers Private Limited. The petitioner, a Chennai-based firm, had claimed that ‘Coronil’ is a trademark owned by it since 1993.
The company’s registered trademark, called ‘CORONEL-92 B’, is an acid inhibitor product. It is used to clean heavy machinery and chemical preparations for industrial use.
The court order said that ‘there are organisations helping people in this critical period without seeking recognition. It further remarked that it would be appropriate for the defendants to pay costs to them’.
Fine proceeds to be used for medical care
As per the order, Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Divya Yog Mandir Trust, also owned by Ramdev, will have to jointly pay the fine. While Rs 5 lakh has to be paid to Adyar Cancer Institute, another Rs 5 lakh has to be paid to Government Yoga and Naturopathy Medical College and Hospital. Both these organisations provided free treatment to patients during the pandemic.
The defendants have been asked to pay the fine by August 21.
Controversy over Coronil
Patanjali on June 23 had said that it has come up with a “research-based medicine”. It claimed it had conducted clinical trials in joint efforts with the National Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Jaipur. The research-based medicine—Coronil—was propagated as a cure for coronavirus.
However, the company faced sharp criticism and government scrutiny for launching ‘Coronil’. The company’s CEO on June 30 said that they never claimed that the drug “can cure or control coronavirus”.
The shift in the statement came after an FIR was filed in Jaipur against Yoga guru Ramdev, Patanjali CEO Acharya Balkrishna, and four others for “misleading” people by propagating Patanjali Ayurved’s drug Coronil as a cure for the infection.
“We never told the medicine (Coronil) can cure or control coronavirus. We said that we had made medicines and used them in clinical controlled trials which cured corona patients. There is no confusion in it,” Patanjali CEO Balkrishna had said.