AYUSH Ministry is endangering people, jeopardising Ayurveda with lax response to Patanjali's Coronil and COVID-19, warn experts
After a public launch of an alleged “cure” for COVID-19, Patanjali Ayurved’s marketing stunt with ‘Coronil’ has effectively backfired. The two COVID-19 treatments that the Ayurveda and FMCG giant launched last week were publicised prematurely and with no clinical data to prove they were even safe, let alone effective.
The news was met with harsh criticism on social media, dragged through the dirt on Twitter within minutes of making headlines. Hours later and well after the controversy had erupted, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) responded to the news with a stern statement , urging that Patanjali stop advertising their product till its claims were verified by the ministry, and the product given approval.
Founder Baba Ramdev and CEO Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali launch an Ayurvedic medicine kit that they claimed can treat coronavirus patients within seven days. Image:@PypAyurved/Twitter
“If you’ve seen the trial report that Patanjali has sent out, it excludes everybody below 10 years and above 59 years, people with diabetes, hypertension, respiratory diseases, cancer,” says Dr Om Srivastava, Visiting Professor (Infectious Diseases) and Director of the Infectious Diseases Department at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai.
“To people who are asymptomatic in the mild form of the disease, the recovery rate is between 95 and 97 percent already. So what are you really achieving?”
Moreover, some practitioners are confused as to how Patanjali could have named, developed, and advertised a product without receiving approvals from the AYUSH ministry in the first place.
“If you look at the Pharmacopoeial Medicines R&R page which is applicable to homeopathy and any form of medication under AYUSH for that matter, the medicine requires approval before which you can’t name a medicine. And till that happens, they cannot issue a public notice claiming and naming their drug,” says Dr Radhika Tonsey, a homoeopathy physician who also consults at the Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Research Centre in Mumbai.
The AYUSH ministry chief has since denied giving Patanjali clearance to sell or advertise Coronil, in an interview with Times Now .
Meanwhile on Saturday, the Rajasthan Police lodged an FIR against Ramdev for launching the drug without regulatory approval, PTI, reported. Four others, including the MD of Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna, director of National Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (NIMS), Jaipur, BS Tomar, his son Anurag Tomar and senior scientist Anurag Varshney have also been named in the FIR, as per the report.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashok Gupta said a case has been registered at the Jyoti Nagar Police Station in Jaipur on the basis of a complaint lodged by advocate Balram Jakhad. He said multiple complaints were received against Ramdev at various police...