Novartis’ Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250 does not contain calcium salt like the company’s flagship brand Calcium Sandoz, the company said in a statement.
The retail traders from Mumbai, who were boycotting Novartis’ drug alleging ‘unethical promotion’ of drugs, have been at logger heads with Novartis India for using the brand name Calcium Sandoz for Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250, which the company is promoting as an ayurvedic medicine.
The traders’ body alleged that Novartis is using its age-old and popular brand name Calcium Sandoz to promote this ayurvedic product to escape price control which Calcium Sandoz fall under.
Novartis’ strategy, according to the traders associations, was to push Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250 directly among doctors and other consumers as an ayurvedic preparation (which does not come in price-control net) and gradually discontinue Calcium sandoz from the market.
Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250, available in packs of 100 chewable tablets and in soft chew butterscotch packs 30 have been prescribed by allopathic doctors for some time, said Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Association (PWA) and the Retail Dispensing Chemists and Druggists Association (RDCA) According to the existing rules, allopathic doctors are not supposed to prescribe products containing ayurvedic ingredients
Objecting this manner of promotion, the retailers’ body had also asked the Novartis to clarify what does the 250 in the brand name stand for. In Calcium Sandoz brand, it stood for 250 mg of calcium carbonate IP in each tablet.
Following this, Novartis India issued a statement saying that Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250 is a Proprietary Ayurvedic Medicine, being manufactured under a valid Ayurvedic Licence which contains 250 mg elemental calcium.
“We have not discontinued the Calcium Sandoz brand. Earlier this was an allopathic drug and we have converted this product to a Proprietary Ayurvedic Medicine by replacing Calcium Carbonate I P with Khatika Churna about four years ago,” the reported statement said.
The packaging on Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250, clearly mentions that this is a Proprietary Ayurvedic Medicine “in keeping with the Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 and rules there under. As per the Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940, this product does not require a prescription to be sold by a retailer or to be recommended by a doctor. In addition, please note that we are not positioning or promoting this product as an allopathic product either to the doctors or to the pharmacists.”
However, the traders body looks still confused. They wonder whether it is possible to claim accurately 250 mg of elemental calcium in an ayurvedic product. And also, what sort of ayurvedic manufacturing process has been followed by Novartis to create this magical formula.