Govt asks Patanjali to stop ads of Covid drug
The Union government has demanded clarification from Patanjali Ayurved, the company promoted by Baba Ramdev, over its claim of having developed a cure for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), and asked it to stop advertising the product till the claim is verified.
The company announced its discovery in a press conference and Ramdev, a popular yoga guru, followed it up with a spate of interview to TV channels extolling the benefits of the cure, which, if it holds up to scientific scrutiny , will be the first of its kind in the world.
“Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the Ministry… Patanjali Ayurved Ltd has been asked to provide at the earliest details of the name and composition of the medicines being claimed for COVID treatment; site(s)/hospital(s), where the research study was conducted for Covid-19; protocol, sample size, Institutional Ethics Committee clearance, Clinical Trials Registry- India registration and results data of the study (ies)…,” said the ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) in a statement on Tuesday.
According to Patanjali, the products have been made in association with privately-owned National Institute of Medical Science, Jaipur. The company also claimed the medicines cleared a clinical trial in several cities including Delhi, Ahmedabad and Meerut and the RCT (Randomized Clinical Trial) controlled with placebo at the Jaipur-based National Institute of Medical Sciences & Research. To be sure, no clinical testing data was released by the company.
The approvals for manufacturing and marketing for the drugs named Coronil and Swasari have likely come from the licensing authority of Uttarakhand government, which is the state licensing authority for Patanjali in Haridwar.
The Centre has asked the Uttarakhand government for details and also ordered Patanjali to stop advertising the products.
“…and stop advertising/publicizing such claims till the issue is duly examined. Ministry has also requested concerned State Licensing Authority of Uttrakhand Government to provide copies of license and product approval details of the Ayurvedic medicines being claimed for the treatment of COVID -19,” the statement further read.
In a press briefing held on Tuesday morning, Ramdev announced that its new drugs Coronil and Swasari will cure Covid-19, and that it has been proved through clinical trials. “We conducted a clinical case study and clinical controlled trial, and found 69 per cent patients recovered in three days and 100 patients recovered in seven days,” he said.
The Ayush ministry has also warned Patanjali to stop misleading advertising till the results are verified.
“The concerned Ayurvedic drug manufacturing company has been informed that such advertisements of drugs including Ayurvedic medicines are regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules there under and the directives issued by the Central Government in the wake of COVID outbreak. Ministry had also issued a Gazette Notification dated 21st April, 2020 stating the requirements and the manner the research studies on COVID-19 with Ayush interventions/medicines should be undertaken.”
An official in the Ayush ministry, on condition of anonymity said, “The central ministry wasn’t involved in the process, as health is a state subject the state regulators have the powers to grant approvals. The claim, however, needs to be verified now that it has come to our notice.”