In a strongly worded statement, the IMA asked Vardhan the ethics of such endorsement and release of “such falsely fabricated and unscientific product to the people of the whole country”.
Yoga guru Ramdev had on Friday released a paper by Haridwar-based Patanjali Research Institute on Coronil, which it claimed to be the “first evidence-based ayurvedic medicine” against the coronavirus disease.
“Coronil has received the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) from the Ayush section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation as per the WHO certification scheme,” said Patanjali in a statement.
The launch was attended by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Following this, World Health Organization South-East Asia said in a tweet: “@WHO has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment #Covid19.” The company had issued a clarification, just ahead of the WHO’s tweet: “We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO GMP compliant CoPP certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI... 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.”
IMA has sought details of the timeline of clinical trials of the Coronil drug from the health minister. “Can you clarify the number of patients in the double blind or single blind trials of this so-called anti-corona product promoted by you? On what ground was it approved by the DCGI as was announced in your presence?” the IMA statement reads.
Referring to Ramdev’s statement that modern medicine was medical terrorism, IMA said in reply: “Being the health minister of the country and a modern medicine doctor, can you clarify the highly objectionable and instigative statement by Ramdev.”
IMA also said: “The country needs an explanation from the minister. The Indian Medical Association will also write to the National Medical Commission for seeking suo moto explanation for his blatant disrespect to the code of conduct of Medical Council of India.”
Quoting the code of conduct under the Indian Medical Council Act, the IMA statement said no doctor can promote any drug, for compensation or otherwise. “Dispensing by a physician of a secret remedial agents of which he does not know the composition, or the manufacture or promotion of their use is unethical and as such prohibited.”
Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved had launched Coronil on June 23. Patanjali CEO Acharya Balkrishna claimed that the medicine could cure Covid-19 patients within 5-14 days.
At the time of the launch of the drug, the AYUSH ministry had asked the company to stop ads for the drug until the issue had been examined. The ministry had also sought a detailed report on composition, testing and other data for the drug. The Centre had barred the firm from advertising the products after Ramdev said they cured 280 patients within days in trials. Coronil was then passed as an “immuno-booster” only.