NEW DELHI, Feb 22: The war between the Indian Medical Association and the Ayurvedic-medicine promoter “Patanjali” has hotted up over its “Coronil” tablets with two union ministers kept in the loop for remaining present at the launch of the “uncertified” medicine.
Ever since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the IMA and Patanjali had crossed swords on several occasions over the effectiveness of its products in curing or preventing the highly contagious disease.
After the World Health Organisation on Monday denying that it had given any certificate to “Coronil” as had been claimed by Patanjali, the IMA called it a “national shame” and questioned the union health minister how justified was it to release such “falsely fabricated unscientific product” to people of the country as a medicine.
The Association expressed shock and dismay at what it called is a “blatant lie of WHO certification” for Patanjali’s Coronil tablet, which the company had claimed could be used to fight against Covid-19. It has also demanded an explanation from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan about his presence at the event where Coronil was launched last week.
The Association’s two-page note came after the WHO clarified that that “it has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment of COVID-19.”
Baba Ramdev, the Yoga guru and promoter of Patanjali, had launched the product on Friday in the presence of Harsh Vardhan and his cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
The IMA said it was shocked to note the “blatant lie” of certification for a “secret medicine” launched in the presence of the Health Minister, who is a doctor as well. The country “needs an explanation” from him, it said in a statement.
“This claim is a blatant deceiving of the people of the country. The Association will write to National Medical Commission for seeking suo motu explanation for his blatant disrespect to the code of conduct.”
It has asked the Health Minister: “How appropriate and rational is it to release such false projections in front of the whole country? Being a Health Minister of the country, how justified is it to release such falsely fabricated unscientific product? How ethical is it to promote the product in unethical, wrong and false ways to the whole country? Being a modern medicine doctor, how ethical is it to promote the unscientific product.”
The IMA also asked the government, if Coronil was effective, why was it spending ₹35,000 crore for vaccination?
The WHO’s South-East Asia office clarified that it hadn’t reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for treating COVID-19. Patanjali Ayurved managing director Acharya Balkrishna put out a clarification shortly before the WHO tweet.
“We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO Good Manufacturing Practices compliant COPP certificate to Coronil is issued by the Drugs Controller General of India, Government of India. It is clear that WHO does not approve or disapprove any drugs. WHO works for building a better, healthier future for people all over the world,” he said.
The AYUSH Ministry had earlier said Coronil can be sold only as an immunity-booster and not as a cure. But the tablet was launched in the presence of the ministers as curative medicine for the pandemic on which the scientists and medical fraternity are yet to reach definite conclusions on various aspects.
In a statement, the national association of doctors has also said it would write to the National Medical Commission, highlighting the “blatant disregard” of the Indian Medical Council’s code of conduct.
During the launch of the product by Baba Ramdev, Harsh Vardhan and Nitin Gadkari were seen standing on either side of Patanjali co-founder and president promoting the untested drug in front of a banner that called it the “first evidence-based medicine for covind-19.
The IMA’s national president Dr Jayalal later told the media, “Let us not adulterate Ayurveda on the pretext of market gain to some monopoly corporate and create a disaster for humanity.”
The company recently launched a research paper at the Patanjali Research Institute to support its claims about the ayurvedic medicine Coronil. Without approval to do so, the drug was being promoted as a medicinal treatment for Covid-19 and was given permission by the government for sale as immunity-booster but without any accompanying caution.
Patanjali had claimed at the launch event that Coronil had been given the “Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) from the Ayush section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation as per the WHO certification scheme.” These certifications approximately define quality assurance in medicinal products and permit export of the product to 158 countries.
WHO’s regional office for South-East Asia posted on its official Twitter handle, “@WHO has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment #Covid19.”
The quick response from the global organisation, as per the IMA statement, is a “slap and insult to the whole nation.” It also proves “how false the projections are about the said anti-corona ayurvedic medicine.”