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Patanjali endorsement: Union ministers misleading people over Coronil as 'medicine for Covid-19'

Coronil may even turn out to be injurious to the health of those who take it
Last Updated : 26 February 2021, 19:53 IST
Last Updated : 26 February 2021, 19:53 IST

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The endorsement by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan of a "medicine for Covid-19’’ produced by yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s company Patanjali is not just a case of impropriety but an act of complicity in fraud. The minister said he was pleased to be present at the function where a "scientific research paper’’ was released which claimed that Patanjali had produced Coronil, the "first evidence-based medicine for Covid-19’’. The Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari was also present. The presence of two senior ministers at the event and their support has given Patanjali’s claim an official sanction and this amounts to misleading the people on a product that has not been tested scientifically and found effective in treating Covid-19. It may even turn out to be injurious to the health of those who take it.

The minister should not have taken part in a commercial event for advertisement of the product of a private enterprise. He was not only present but said that the government had a longstanding relationship with Ramdev and shared his commitment to Ayurveda. As a medical doctor also, he erred. As the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has taken a serious view of the entire matter and objected to his conduct, pointed out that he violated professional ethics by endorsing a medicine and taking part in its advertisement campaign. But the bigger issue is the fraud that is committed on the people with the claim that the product is a medicine for Covid. It was even claimed that the medicine had the approval of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This was denied later as WHO clarified that it had not certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine.

The IMA has said that it was totally unjustified on the part of the minister to release "such a falsely fabricated unscientific’’ product. It also said it is unethical to promote it in ’’wrong and false’’ ways and termed the projection of an unscientific medicine as a "slap and insult to the people’’. Last year also Patanjali had offered its product as a cure for Covid but in the face of criticism described it as an immunity booster. Political and other considerations should not override the government’s and the minister’s responsibility to ensure that the people get the best treatment and are guided rightly in dealing with the pandemic. It is not known what research has gone into the making of Patanjali’s product. As long as its benefits are not proved scientifically, its promotion can only be considered a fraud on the people, and those who endorse it are complicit in it. The claimed ancient knowledge of plastic surgery and genetics would not help to make claims about the medicine come true.

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Published 26 February 2021, 18:30 IST

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