Last month on Women’s Day i.e 8th March, researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi) including a professor in the department of design — Prof Srinivasan Venkataraman and the institute’s incubated startup Sanfe, which was co-founded by 3rd year students of IIT Delhi, had launched Sanfe Period Pain Relief Roll On device to relieve periods pain and ease out the mood swings faced by women during menstruation cycle.
Developed by two B. Tech 3rd year students of IIT Delhi — Mr Archit Agarwal and Mr Harry Sehrawat, along with an a Professor Dr. Srinivasan Venkataraman at IIT Delhi, Sanfe Period Pain Relief Roll On is an essential oil based natural formulation which has to be applied during periods on cramp affected areas (lower abdominal area, lower back and legs).
According to AltNews investigative report, a fact checking and fake news busting website, Sanfe has made three claims on approvals by top medical and Clinical test agencies including Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. . The startup, in its official website which is now deleted (see archived page), the startup had claimed — 1) it received ‘FDA approval claiming no side-effects’; 2) Received an ‘AYUSH ministry certificate of safety’ and 3) The product by the startup is developed, medically tested in collaboration with AIIMS Delhi.
However, in a surprise revelation, especially from a premier institute like IIT Delhi, a cross check email to all FDA, AIIMS and Aayush Ministry, it comes out that none of the claims are true and in case of FDA approval, the startup is in fact playing cheap word-game where it comfortably says that Sanfe doesn’t have the American FDA approval, but actually acquired the approval from FDA, Haryana.
Going forward, an email from AltNews team to Division of Drug Information in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (firstname.lastname@example.org) also confirmed that ‘Sanfe Period Pain Relief Roll-On’ is NOT a U.S. FDA approved drug product (see screenshot of email response below).
Further when AltNews team confronted one of the co-founders, Archit Agarwal, about the reason behind the startup’s misleading claims on FDA approval, he said that the AYUSH certificate was ‘FDA like’ and hence was advertised that way.
As a matter of fact however IIT-Delhi never claimed that Sanfe was approved by AIIMS for clinical tests and its also evident on IIT-Delhi Website’s page.
Its very unfortunate that students of India’s premier institute IIT Delhi, which counts Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal and Nikesh Arora of Softbank as some of its notable alumni, fell short of code of ethics and tried to forge on medical claims that is related to health and women — two most lowest priorities of India, nowadays.
IIT Delhi has taken serious note of deliberate attempt by student co-founders of Sanfe, who misrepresent facts.
On April 8, the founders of the startup — Mr. Agarwal and Mr. Sehrawat issued a press statement and apologized stating: “It is a factual and an unintentional mistake” to have stated that the product is FDA-approved. The factual and the unintentional mistake was the consequence of our misunderstanding that FDA is the equivalent of Directorate of Ayush for this product. We deeply apologise for the mistake.”
In this matter, IIT Delhi has issued an official press statement as follow –
An internal inquiry is being initiated against the Sanfe (Redroomtechnology Private Limited) founders and a show cause notice has also been issued to them. Based on this inquiry report action would be taken.
Prima facie it appears that a certificate issued by Directorate of Ayush Haryana, Sector-3, Panchkula, has been misrepresented as that issued by FDA.
IIT Delhi has zero tolerance policy for false representation of information and takes strict action in such cases.