Consider PIL alleging ORS mislabelling: HC to officials

Delhi HC asks authorities to consider plea alleging mislabelling of products as ORS

Pharma firms were deliberately and intentionally mislabelling their other products as ORS to promote sales

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the authorities to consider as representation a PIL alleging the deliberate mis-labelling of products as Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) by certain pharmaceutical companies.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh directed Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Delhi government to decide the representation in accordance with the law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the case and disposed of the petition.

The court said that while deciding the representation, the authorities shall give adequate hearing to the other parties if any adverse order is likely to be passed against them.

Petitioner Rupa Singh, an Assistant Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the mother of an 8-year-old child, claimed that a local pharmacy sold her an ‘ORS Liquid’ in the name of ORS and the same deteriorated the minor’s health.

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“When the child’s health deteriorated, she consulted a pediatrician and was shocked when it was told to her that ‘ORSL’ is not ‘ORS’ and does not even have the composition as prescribed by WHO,” the petition said.

The plea, filed through advocate Gurinder Pal Singh, said that based on guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO), an Indian expert body has recommended “a single universal ORS solution containing sodium 75 mmol/L and glucose 75 mmol/L, osmolarity 245 mosmol/L was acceptable for all ages and all types of diarrhea”.

However, pharma firms were deliberately and intentionally mislabelling their other products as ORS to promote sales.

“None of the aforesaid beverages being sold under the name ‘ORSL’ use the composition of the new ‘ORS’ formulation as prescribed by WHO... None of the beverages being sold under the name ‘ORSL’ have requisite licenses under the Drug and Cosmetics Act,” the plea alleged.

In the petition, Singh has prayed for directions to not only ensure that the authorities publicise the distinction but also sought action against the pharma firms for causing health and monetary loss to the public and making unlawful gains to themselves.

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