New Delhi: A week after launching a kit of what he claimed to be “Covid cure” drugs, Yoga guru Ramdev Wednesday said the Narendra Modi government has used the term ‘Covid management’, and not ‘Covid treatment’, for the medicines development by his Patanjali group.
“The AYUSH department has said that Patanjali has taken a good initiative for management of Covid-19 and that it is working in the right direction,” Ramdev said at a press conference. “The AYUSH ministry has used the term ‘Covid management’ for our medicines and not ‘Covid treatment’,” he added.
“AYUSH Ministry said Patanjali has done appropriate work for Covid management. The treatment word is not used. From today, these medicines will be available in the country without any legal restrictions… I thank the AYUSH Ministry and the Narendra Modi government,” said Ramdev, with his close aide Acharya Balkrishna, CEO of Patanjali Ayurveda, by his side.
Ramdev was referring to a letter the AYUSH ministry wrote to the State Licensing Authority, Uttarakhand, Tuesday.
The letter, accessed by ThePrint, stated: “It is observed that Divya Pharmacy, Patanjali Research Foundation Trust, Haridwar has initiated necessary actions for the management of Covid-19 appropriately, which is duly noted.”
While the Yoga guru hinted that the drugs have been acknowledged by the ministry for “Covid management”, the government in its letter didn’t clarify what it means by “management” of Covid-19, and and whether the drugs have been approved for use in anyone has Covid symptoms. It just mentioned they could only be sold for those conditions for which they were approved.
Permission to sell the drugs as ‘immunity-booster’
On the ministry’s official WhatsApp group for journalists, a PIB officer said: “AYUSH Ministry has only given permission to sell this particular formulation as an immunity-booster and not as a medicinal cure for Covid-19.”
Last week, Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurveda had launched a pack of three medicines — Coronil tablet, Swasari Vati and a nasal oil — and claimed that these medicines would cure the novel coronavirus within seven days.
The virus still has no known cure despite researchers worldwide toiling in its pursuit.
Soon after its launch, the Ministry of AYUSH ordered Patanjali to stop advertising the product until the “issue is examined” by its task force.
What the ministry later says
ThePrint Monday reported the recommendations given by the 17-member taskforce to the Ministry of AYUSH. It said Patanjali should sell medicines for cough, fever and immunity-booster as these are the conditions for which it had sought approval, and not as a treatment for Covid.
Following the recommendations, the Ministry of AYUSH sent a letter Tuesday to the SLA, Uttarakhand, which, in turn, informed Patanjali about the government’s decision.
The letter, written by the ministry’s drug policy section, said the documents sent by the company “were duly examined”.
“It was observed that the proposed drug Divya Coronil Tablet is registered by the SLA as an immunity-booster, especially against the respiratory tract involvement and all types of fever,” according to the letter.
The other two drugs in the kit are for use as “kasa and svasa” (for cough).
“It is further decided that the proposed three drugs… should be marketed in accordance with the scope of licence issued by the SLA,” the ministry said.
Patanjali may continue the clinical trials
“It may be ensured that on the package and label displayed on the medicines, no claim for the cure of Covid-19 should be mentioned,” the letter stated, adding that “the advertisement and the publicity of the drugs should be ensured in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954”.
“The relevant provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 should also be duly followed.”
The letter, in its last point, also mentioned that the Patanjali Research Foundation Trust, Haridwar, may continue the clinical trials duly following the necessary provisions.