Coronil controversy and why Maharashtra wants to ban it; all you need to know

The IMA has also sought clarifications regarding Coronil clinical trials and the whole procedure which was followed for the trials. Image: Twitter/ Archarya Balkrishna

In a recent turn of events, while ayurveda company Patanjali- led by Yoga guru Ramdev has claimed that the medicine Coronil can be used for COVID-19, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh took to Twitter and said that the state is not in favour of allowing Patanjali to sell Coronil, unless there is proper certification from health organisations like IMA or WHO. According to the tweet, the IMA has also questioned the claims made by Patanjali on clinical trials of Coronil drugs whereas, WHO has indirectly refuted the claims made by the company regarding Coronil’s effectiveness for Coronavirus treatment.

Deshmukh said that the product being hurriedly launched and its endorsement by two senior Central Union Ministers “is highly deplorable.” He added that till a proper certification from competent health organizations will not come, the drug sales will not be allowed in the state.

Why such controversy?

Recently, during a press meet, Patanjali claimed that the drug has received certification from AYUSH ministry and can be used as an immunity booster and a “supporting measure in Covid-19.” The press conference was also attended by Union Ministers like Nitin Gadkari and Harsh Vardhan where Vardhan commented on how Ayurvedic products have been growing post Coronavirus outbreak. Patanjali released a statement that day saying that Patanjali has received the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP). According to the statement, this permission has come from the Ayush section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation which in turn is compliant with the WHO certification scheme. Further, the company called it an “evidence-based medicine to fight Covid-19.” Apart from this, Patanjali said it can export the drug to 158 countries under the CoPP.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) indirectly distanced itself from the whole approval aspect. The organisation did not take in names, but the same day tweeted that it has not reviewed or given certification for any effectiveness of traditional medicine when it comes to treating COVID-19 infection. Meanwhile, the company clarified the certificate coming from the government of India and not WHO. It is to note that WHO checks that any medicine is being sold after its development under internationally recognised norms, guidelines and standards. Apart from this, the organisation gives assistance to countries to follow these guidelines but it does not approve or disapprove drugs per say.

A report by The IE noted that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday had criticised the blatant lie Panjali Ayurved made of getting the WHO verification done and therefore, has demanded an explanation from Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan as he has been seen endorsing it. IMA said that it is not justified for a Health Minister of a country to promote a product (which can be seen as a false and unethical way). He can also not release a product which is “unscientific and falsely fabricated.”

The IMA has also sought clarifications regarding Coronil clinical trials and the whole procedure which was followed for the trials. Last year, as the company said, the trials were successful on patients showing mild to moderate impact of COVID-19 infection. It also claimed that the recovery rate was 100 per cent in seven days only. However, at that point, the product was just called an immunity booster by the government.

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