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RAMDEV’S PATANJALI SHOULDN’T SELL ITS MEDICINES AS COVID CURE, TASKFORCE TELLS MODI GOVT

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A 17-member taskforce, formed to investigate the efficacy of yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s ‘Covid cure’ kit, has suggested to the Modi government that Patanjali Ayurveda should not sell its ayurvedic medicines as “Covid-19 cure”, ThePrint has learnt. 

The taskforce has told the Ministry of AYUSH in its report that the company should first complete the clinical trials and it should sell the medicines only for those conditions, such as treating cough and fever, for which it has sought the approvals.

The report has already been submitted to the ministry.

Ramdev last Tuesday launched the Covid kit - a pack comprising three products, including a medicine named Coronil - and touted it as a cure for the novel coronavirus, which still has no known cure, despite researchers worldwide toiling in its pursuit.

However, soon after its launch, the Ministry of AYUSH ordered Patanjali to stop advertising the product until the “issue is examined”.

The matter was handed over to the “interdisciplinary AYUSH taskforce” set up in April to initiate, coordinate and monitor research and development activities in Covid-related medicines that emerge from the ayurveda-unani-naturopathy-siddha-homoeopathy stable.

The taskforce includes members from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the World Health Organization, and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Taskforce suggestions

A government official privy to the development told ThePrint: “The committee has suggested that the company must finish the clinical trials first. The company was supposed to enroll 120 patients under the trial as per the trial design submitted for the registration. They have tested the drug on 100 patients, while 20 are still pending.” 

A second government official said: “The task force in its report has mentioned that the company must not sell the product claiming it’s a Covid cure. It has also noticed that the approvals were sought for cough, fever and immunity boosting. So, the drug should be sold only for these conditions.”

When ThePrint reached Bhushan Patwardhan, the vice-chairman of the University Grants Commission, who heads the taskforce, he said: “I would not be able to comment.”

ThePrint also reached Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, secretary, AYUSH ministry, via texts, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.

Patanjali ‘denied’ advertising drug for Covid

Meanwhile, in response to a letter sent by the State Licensing Authority (SLA) of Uttarakhand, last week, Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurveda denied “commercially selling” or “publicising” any product called ‘Corona Kit’. The SLA falls under the Ministry of AYUSH. 

“The company has denied in the letter dated 26 June selling any product named Corona Kit. They have also denied that they have publicised any product as treatment for Covid-19 or coronavirus,” Dr Y.S. Rawat, joint director, SLA, told ThePrint over the phone.

“We are awaiting directions from the Ministry of AYUSH for further action. We understand that the company has applied for a trade mark for the brand name, Coronil,” he said.

“The next order may ask the company to tweak brand name and change the pictorial representations from the label, which shows the animated picture of round shaped ‘coronavirus with spikes’,” he added.