On July 02, the Uttarakhand High Court issued notices to yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali, Union and state governments, seeking a reply within a week on the firm’s Coronil drug. Hearing a PIL challenging Ramdev’s claims regarding the medicine, a division bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice R C Khulbe issued the notices. It also seek response from Patanjali; the director of the AYUSh department in Uttarakhand; ICMR and Rajasthan’s NIMS University. The PIL filed by advocate Mani Kumar has sought a ban on the drug, accusing the yoga guru of misleading people by launching Coronil as a medicine to cure coronavirus.
Patanjali Ayurved on July 02 said it never claimed that its newly-tested medicine could cure Covid-19, and that clinical trials of its newly tested medicines indicated that “coronavirus patients got cured after consuming them”.
Ministry of Ayush said Patanjali Ayurved will not be allowed to sell its medicines with claims of curing Covid-19, though the company can sell its Divya Coronil tablets as an immunity booster and gave it the licenses to make all its three medicines, namely Divya Coronil, Divya SwasariVati and Divya AnuTaila. The Ministry also said in a letter addressed to Patanjali that the packaging and labelling displayed on the medicines cannot claim cure of Covid-19.
Maharashtra FDA Minister Rajendra Shingne on July 03 said that action will be taken against Patanjali if the company created confusion or misled people that Coronil can cure Covid-19.
On June 23 yoga guru Ramdev came out with a medicine for Covid-19. The kit products made of phytochemicals derived from ashwagandha, tulsi and giloy comes with a price tag of Rs 545.
Just hours after yoga guru Baba Ramdev claimed that Patanjali has discovered a medicine to ‘beat’ the novel coronavirus, the Ayush Ministry of Uttarakhand clarified that the licence issued was not to find a cure for coronavirus. The license was issued only for the production of immunity booster kits and fever medicine.
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.
“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?”
According to Ramdev, “Trials were conducted on 100 patients at NIMS, Jaipur and 69 per cent of them were cured in three days, while 100 per cent were cured in seven days,” Ramdev claimed. The question of whether Coronil should have been propagated as an immunity booster or cure should be asked from Patanjali. We had informed the Rajasthan health department on 2 June, BS Tomar said.
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. The five have been booked under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, according to police.
Another criminal complaint was filed in a Bihar court against yoga guru Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved MD Acharya Balkrishna, alleging that they have misled and put at risk the lives of lakhs of people by claiming to have developed medicine to treat Covid-19. The court posted the matter for hearing on June 30. The complainant has sought registration of a case under IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty inducing delivery of property), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), among others.
Suryakant Dhasmana alleged that Swami Ramdev and Balkrishna had violated the norms and regulations of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), 2005 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act by making unverified claims of finding a cure for Covid-19 disease. He said the duo violated the circular issued on April 1 by Centre’s AYUSH department prohibiting advertising of any medicine as cure for Covid-19, citing the NDMA.
In a new twist to the controversy surrounding Baba Ramdev’s claims of a coronavirus ‘cure’, Jaipur’s National Institute of Medical Sciences which had collaborated on this has now distanced itself from the controversial ayurvedic drug and stated that no clinical trials of it were conducted at the hospital. NIMS Chairman, Dr. B.S. Tomar said, “there was no clinical trial in our hospital of the drug. There was no serious case in the patients we admitted. Only 100 asymptomatic patients were given few Ayurvedic medicines under the sponsorship of Patanjali. But we did not prepare any medicine nor did we know its name. Dr. Tomar claims that he had the CTRI permission for five ayurvedic medicines to be tested on coronavirus patients. “We had not asked for medicine to cure coronavirus but only these ayurvdic immunity boosters.