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Centre asks Patanjali to stop advertising COVID-19 cure

Haridwar/New Delhi: Yoga guru Ramdev’s herbal medicine company Patanjali Ayurved on Tuesday claimed to have discovered a medicine that could cure coronavirus in just seven days – a claim that the Ayush Ministry scoffed at by seeking stopping of advertisements for the drug.  While Ramdev claimed that Ayurved-based ‘Coronil and Swasari’ medicines have shown 100 per cent favourable results during clinical trials on COVID-19-infected patients except those on a life-support system, the Ayush Ministry sought from the company detailed report on composition, testing and other data of the drugs.

The ministry also used powers under a 1954 law to ask the firm to “stop advertising/publicising” claims of corona cure drug until the issue is examined by it.

A government notification bars companies from advertising a cure without government approval. But it was not immediately clear if the drug can still be sold. Ramdev said the medicines have been developed by Patanjali Research Centre, Haridwar and privately-owned National Institute of Medical Science, Jaipur following all protocols with clinically controlled trial-based evidence. “Patanjali first conducted clinical case study and conducted clinical control trials following all protocols of drug discovery,” he said.

Sidestepping questions on the drug being approved by government agencies such as ICMR, Ramdev said clinical controlled study of these medicines was done in several cities including Delhi, Ahmedabad and Meerut and the RCT (Randomised Clinical Trial) controlled with placebo was conducted at Jaipur-based National Institute of Medical Sciences & Research.

“This was done after getting approval from Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) and all other required formalities,” he said. “We have followed all the parameters set up by modern science for such clinical trials.”

Reacting to the announcement, the Ministry of Ayush issued a statement saying, “Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known” to it.

“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, CTRI registration and results data of the study (ies) and stop advertising/publicising such claims till the issue is duly examined,” the ministry statement said.

The ministry also asked the concerned State Licensing Authority of Uttarakhand government to provide copies of licence and product approval details of the Ayurvedic medicines being claimed for the treatment of COVID -19.

Under the ministry’s guidelines for drug development of ayurvedic formulations, state licensing authority grants licenses for manufacturing any Ayurvedic, Siddha or Unani medicine. Ramdev at a launch press conference in Haridwar, where his company is based, claimed that his ayurvedic drugs have shown 100 per cent favourable results during the clinical trial.

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