Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Novartis says Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250 contains no calcium
Both the traders and the Novartis India are giving out absolutely contrasting statements on the controversial issue of a new marketing strategy resorted to by Novartis in which the company has launched an ayurvedic product, Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250, and is being aggressively promoted through allopathic doctors. The product contains no calcium but the company is apparently using its decades old Calcium Sandoz brand name to give a push to the new product, thereby confusing the consumers.
While a statement issues by Novartis said, "We are not positioning or promoting this product as an allopathic product either to the doctors or to the pharmacists," the traders are up in arms against the product being promoted through allopathic doctors which is not allowed under the law. They fear that this practice will put them in legal trap. Taking strong exceptions against the company's strategy of using an old brand name for its new product, the traders have sought clarifications from the company.
In a statement, Novartis said, "Khatika Curna-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 Curna about four years ago."
"The packaging 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," the statement said.
However, doubts persist over the intention of the company in launching a product with a confusing brand name. According to sources, Novartis' old calcium brand, Calcium Sandoz@250, which is a price controlled medicine, is already in the market and the company wanted to withdraw the product once the new product -- Khatika Churna-Calcium Sandoz@250 (which does not fall under the price control) - captures the market.