Waking up to false claims

NGOs, govt body promise action on firm claiming AIDS cure.

Mid Day
By: Alifiya Khan Date: 2010-06-15

NGOs, govt body promise action on firm claiming AIDS cure

A DAY after MiD DAY reported that an Indore-based herbal medicine company was promoting its products as cures for medical conditions like hepatitis and AIDS, government agencies and NGO’s announced they would be conducting a detailed investigation into the claims.

It was reported yesterday that Swaarnim Naturscience Ltd claimed on its website that its herbal anti-bacterial product Aidcure was “useful in various bacterial infection” and “also helps to cure aids” with its “anti bacterial action.”

Another product called Heptone B was said to help cure hepatitis B and C.

AIDS and hepatitis are two of 51 medical conditions that are listed as incurable under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and claims of preventing or curing these diseases are punishable under the law.

NGOs step in

K K Abraham, general secretary of the Indian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said the Madhya Pradesh chapter of his organisation would investigate the company’s claims.

“If they are making these claims, even if on a website, they will face legal action from us,” said Abraham. “We will file a complaint against the company.”

Sanyogita Dhamdhere, representative of Centre for Advocacy and Research, an NGO that works in HIV/AIDS cases, said they had in the past got a doctor couple from Nanded prosecuted for making such claims and will resort to legal action again if evidence were found against Swaarnim Naturscience Ltd.

“Firstly, their brand name itself is suggestive, and we don’t think it is ethically correct,” she said. “Legally, we will work through our network and take appropriate action against them.”

NACO to look into it

A senior official of National AIDS Control Organisation in Delhi said the matter would be followed up and that the Madhya Pradesh State Aids Control Society (MPSACS) should also be contacted. Savita Thakur, deputy director of MPSACS, said she was on leave but would look into the claims made by Swaarnim Naturscience Ltd as soon as possible.

“We will initiate action if it is found that they are claiming any sort of cure. Also we may need to seek the help of the Drug Controller General of India’s office,” said Thakur.

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