IMA slams Patanjali campaign as breach of medical ethics

Published on Dec 06, 2022 12:47 AM IST

Patanjali, co-owned by Ramdev Baba, recently issued a spate of advertisements called ‘Misconceptions spread by allopathy’, claiming chronic diseases like hypertension, blood sugar, thyroid, asthma, and incurable diseases like autoimmune disorders and heart blockages can be cured by yoga, ayurveda and naturopathy

Baba Ramdev addresses a press conference on black money as Janta Party leader Subramanian Swamy looks on at Constitution Club in New Delhi. HT Photo/Virendra Singh Gosain
Baba Ramdev addresses a press conference on black money as Janta Party leader Subramanian Swamy looks on at Constitution Club in New Delhi. HT Photo/Virendra Singh Gosain
BySomita Pal

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has termed Patanjali’s recent campaign against allopathic medicines a breach “of medical ethics”.

Patanjali, co-owned by Ramdev Baba, recently issued a spate of advertisements called ‘Misconceptions spread by allopathy’, claiming chronic diseases like hypertension, blood sugar, thyroid, asthma, and incurable diseases like autoimmune disorders and heart blockages can be cured by yoga, ayurveda and naturopathy.

The IMA has decided to lodge a complaint with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

This is not the first time that Ramdev has had a run-in with the IMA. In 2021, during the second wave of the pandemic, the yoga guru reportedly questioned the efficacy of allopathy in treating Covid-19. After the Centre and IMA intervened, he withdrew the statement.

Reacting to the claim made by the advertisement, Dr Santosh Kadam, general secretary, IMA-Maharashtra, said, “It breaches medical ethics. In neither field of medicine can you advertise to seek patients. We strongly oppose this.”

In August, the Supreme Court had criticised the yoga exponent for making statements against allopathy and modern medicine while promoting his ayurvedic cures.

Dr Ravindra Kute, president of IMA-Maharashtra, said chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes cannot be cured, although the “patient has to modify her/his lifestyle” to cope with the ailments. “The advertisement is misleading and putting patients’ lives at risk,” he said.

Soon after the advertisement was visible on public domain, leading city doctors, including Dr CS Pramesh, Tata Memorial Hospital’s medical director, and well-known surgical gastroenterologist Dr Sanjay Nagral also expressed themselves on Twitter and requested concerned authorities to take action for misleading patients.

Dr Nagral likened it to a pharma giant talking about another system of medicine. “It is unethical. He is actually bringing a bad name to ayurveda. We need serious work on all complimentary alternative systems of medicines from a scientific angle,” said Dr Nagral.

Dr Rajeev Kovil, secretary of Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI, Maharashtra chapter), said members of the body, who are endocrinologists, have decided to counter this by spreading awareness among people instead of taking legal recourse.

“We have decided to do it through various social media platforms. Influencers like Baba Ramdev should not mislead people. We have had patients who stopped insulin and medicines, which led to a spike in their sugar levels,” said Dr Kovil. “You are risking lives and such advertisements are disruptive.”

An RSSDI member, Dr V Mohan, a well-known endocrinologist based in Chennai, tweeted that Type I diabetes patients should not stop insulin and be misled by such claims.

HT had reached out to SK Tijarawala, PRO and spokesperson for Patanjali, for the company’s version of the issue. However, the newspaper’s communication remained unanswered.

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