Cosmetic Product and Medicament – Distinction Between

In Commissioner of Central Excise v. Ciens Laboratories, Mumbai, (2013) 14 SCC 133 it was held as under:
“Firstly when a product contains pharmaceutical ingredients that have therapeutic or prophylactic or curative properties, the proportion of such ingredients is not invariably decisive. What is of importance is the curative attributes of such ingredients that render the product a medicament and not a cosmetic.
Secondly, though a product is sold without a prescription of a medical practitioner, it does not lead to the immediate conclusion that all products that are sold over/across the counter are cosmetics. There are several products that are sold over the counter and are yet, medicaments.
Thirdly, prior to adjudicating upon whether a product is a medicament or not, the courts have to see what the people who actually use the product understand the product to be. If a product’s primary function is “care” and not “cure”, it is not a medicament. Cosmetic products are used in enhancing or improving a person’s appearance or beauty, whereas medicinal products are used to treat or cure some medical condition. A product that is used mainly in curing or treating ailments or diseases and contains curative ingredients even in small quantities, is to be branded as a medicament.”

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Filed under Commercial Law, Drugs and Cosmetics

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