Hamdard Laboratories Faces Scandal Over Rooh Afza: False Health Claims and Bribery Allegations Surface

Hamdard Laboratories, renowned for its halal-certified beverage ‘Rooh Afza,’ is under scrutiny following allegations of deceptive marketing and potential health risks associated with the popular cooling drink. Reports from the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) suggest that millions of consumers in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the Middle East may have been cheated by false claims made by the brand.

Rooh Afza, known for its unique blend of flavors and herbal ingredients, is widely consumed as a refreshing drink, particularly in the Indian subcontinent.

The brand touts Rooh Afza as a “nutritional drink” that “maintains and adjusts the body’s water level” with a composition of 13 herbal ingredients and 36 types of fresh fruit juices and flower extracts. However, the DSCC alleges that several mentioned ingredients do not exist, raising concerns about the accuracy of the product’s promotion.

Health experts have also expressed apprehension, asserting that Rooh Afza may pose serious health issues, particularly for individuals with diabetes.

The revelations stem from data collected by the DSCC through an investigative initiative. In response to the accusations, Dr. Hakim Muhammad Yusuf Harun Bhuiyan, the Managing Director of Hamdard, issued a written apology for the “false promotion” of the product.

Reports further claim that Hamdard Laboratories (Wakf) Bangladesh attempted to offer a bribe to civic authorities in Dhaka to suppress the matter. The Dhaka South City Corporation has reportedly filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Food Directorate regarding this alleged bribery attempt.

A Bangladeshi website, Kalbela, reported that the civic body collected samples of Rooh Afza from the market and conducted laboratory tests. The findings revealed discrepancies, prompting the city corporation to file a complaint.

The controversy dates back to 2018 when the Dhaka city corporation filed a case against Hamdard, resulting in the company’s voluntary admission of guilt and payment of a fine. However, the court later ordered a refund of the fine after the company filed an appeal.

The latest developments have sparked renewed concerns about the ethical practices of Hamdard Laboratories and the authenticity of their product claims. The DSCC’s CEO has called for action against the company with the Anti-Corruption Commission.

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