Recent health crisis COVID-19 outbreak has been producing many unexpected things. One such thing is that drugs are sold as food supplements particularly which are common in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) drug category. The best example is Kabasura kudineer. It is a siddha sastric medicine recommended in COVID-19 management by AYUSH ministry of India. It has been sold under the food license in many outlets. Clear violations are happening in this area.

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Here we discuss about difference between drugs and foods and try to understand the facts and avoid unnecessary health hazards.

What is Drug?

Manufacturing and marketing of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani drugs are controlled by Drugs and Cosmetics act, 1940 in India.

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Drugs are defined as all the medicines intended for internal or external use for or in the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of disease in human beings or animals in accordance with the approved literature.

What is food?

There are two types in this category. One is Food and another one is Food supplement. Foods are controlled by FSSAI act2006 and Food supplements are under Drugs and Cosmetics act, 1940.

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According to FSSAI act, foods are defined as any substance whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed which is intended for human consumption and it has nutritional value which will give health benefits.

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Food supplements defined as positive health promoter formulations recommended for promotional and preventive health as per D&C act.

Where they differ?

Some ingredients have been used as both drugs and foods for a long time. They differ at only one point,  ”CLAIMS”. IF they licensed under drug, it has drug or therapeutic claims and they have only nutritional claims if licensed under food.

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Food act permits health claims, Nutritional claims and Non-addiction claims only and never allowed drug or therapeutic claims.

What are the consequences?

As per Drug act, if drugs are not labelled as prescribed or having any misleading or false claims, it shall be deemed to be misbranded drugs and punishable.

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Foods carrying the disease curing claims are also punishable. Labels carrying the all information and labelling laws are very strict.

What to look?

People are always aware about these types of market gimmicks. When huge demand for particular product arises, these things are happening. General public look the label very keen and read completely. Labels carry all the information of the product. They look the details of authority,

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manufacturer, manufacturing date and expiry date. If any suspicion aris, either complaint to the respective authority or ignore the product and switch to correct product.


Above mentioned facts clear our doubts regarding difference between drug and food marginally. So people choose right product and keep their health in right way.

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