By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-06-25 13:42:45
Ramdev's Patanjali has released an ayurvedic formulation Coronil (being sold as a kit along with two other formulations, priced at Rs 545) which it claims is the first ayurvedic medicine for Covid-19. The government has asked it to stop making the erroneous claim. The Uttarakhand government has issued a clarification saying that Patanjali had applied for a license for making a medicine for boosting immunity, cough and fever which was granted to it. It also said that a notice has been issued to the company asking it to reply to why it was claiming that the drug cured Covid-19. States like Rajasthan and Maharashtra have already banned the sale of the formulation and more states are likely to do so.
It was unethical for Patanjali to make such a claim without proper trials and verification by drug bodies or the Ayush ministry of the government of India. By trying to cash in on the pandemic, Patanjali has shown that it is like other profit-minded pharma companies despite flaunting its credentials as a company rooted in making drugs as per ancient Hindu medicinal texts. It is beyond one's comprehension as to how ancient ayurveda texts could have anticipated the Covid-19 virus and prescribed a formulation to treat it. It should have promoted the drug for what it was - an immunity booster.
It is good that the Centre as well as the states have taken immediate steps to call its bluff and ask for an explanation. With citizens worried about their health due to the pandemic, such companies cannot be allowed to feed on this and fill their coffers by making false claims. Since people are trying a host of home remedies to boost immunity and since Patanjali has brand value, it is obvious that if the government does not step in to stop the sale of the dubious medicine there will be many takers for it. Patanjali should be asked to reposition the kit as one for boosting immunity and change its name before releasing it in the market.