Indian Medical Association demands explanation from Union Health Minister for 'promoting' Patanjali's untested Coronil
WHO's South-East Asia office clarified that it hadn't reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for treating COVID-19.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has reportedly come down hard on Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, demanding an explanation for "promoting" CORONIL, untested Ayurvedic medicine from Patanjali Ayurved to treat COVID-19. In a statement, the national association of doctors has also said it will write to the National Medical Commission, highlighting the "blatant disregard" of the Indian Medical Council's code of conduct.
Harsh Vardhan was earlier seen endorsing Patanjali's COVID-19 drug, called Coronil, at a relaunch event for the treatment. During the 19 February event, where Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari were seen standing on either side of Patanjali co-founder and president Baba Ramdev, promoting the untested drug in front of a banner that called it the "first evidence-based medicine for COVID-19".
"Being a Health Minister of the country, how justified is it to release such falsely fabricated unscientific product to people of the whole country and how ethical was it to promote the product in unethical, wrong and false ways," the IMA's national president Dr Jayalal is quoted as saying to Indian Express. "Let us not adulterate Ayurveda on the pretext of market gain to some monopoly corporate and create a disaster for humanity..," he added.
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 is being promoted as a medicinal treatment for COVID-19, where it was given permission by the ministry for sale as an immunity booster.
According to multiple news reports, Patanjali claimed at the event that Coronil has 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, according to a News18 report, 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."
— WHO South-East Asia (@WHOSEARO) February 19, 2021
Amid speculations about the certification given to Coronil for treating COVID-19, the managing director of Patanjali Acharya Balkrishna made a clarification so as "to avoid confusion".
"We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO GMP compliant COPP certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI, Government of India. It is clear that WHO do not approve or disapprove any drugs. WHO works for building a better, healthier future for people all over the world," Balkrishna tweeted.
We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO GMP compliant COPP certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI, Government of India.
It is clear that WHO do not approve or disapprove any drugs.
WHO works for building a better, healthier future for people all over the world. pic.twitter.com/ZEDPdWy0tg
— Acharya Balkrishna (@Ach_Balkrishna) February 19, 2021
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."