Ayush ministry clears Patanjali drug for sale as immunity booster


Patanjali Ayurved’s Coronil ayurvedic drug will soon be available for sale across the country, the company’s founder, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, said on Wednesday, announcing the resolution of issues with the government over the launch of the product that Patanjali billed as a cure for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) before reclassifying it as an immunity booster.

In New Delhi, the ministry of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) clarified that it has approved the drug as an ayurvedic immunity booster, and not as a cure or treatment for the disease.

“Ayush ministry has only given permission to sell this particular formulation as immunity booster, and not as a medicinal cure for Covid-19,” said Suvidha Kumra, a spokesperson for the ministry. The ministry did not seem to have a problem with the name of the formulation, which suggests an ability to fight the coronavirus disease for which there is, as yet, no confirmed cure, although there are several experimental ones that have been approved.

Last week, Patanjali’s Divya Pharmacy claimed it has found a cure for Covid-19, following which the AYUSH ministry asked the company to validate the “facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study”. The ministry also directed Divya Pharmacy to immediately stop advertising the product until its claim was verified.

In its latest order, the ministry asked the Uttrakhand licensing authority to ensure that the ayurveda kit launched by Patanjal was not marketed as a cure for Covid-19.

In Haridwar, where Patanjali is based, Ramdev said at a press conference that Coronil had been allowed to be marketed as a “Covid-19 management drug”.

“All issues with the AYUSH department have been resolved and our ayurvedic drug has been labelled a Covid-19 management drug. This is appropriate and proves that Patanjali has done nothing wrong but followed all due legal processes,” the 54-year-old said.

“Our Covid-19 immunity boosters are solely abstract and compounds of ayurvedic herbs like Giloy, Tulsi, Ashwagandha and have been effective during the treatment of coronavirus patients. Soon, this Covid-19 immunity booster kit will be available across the country, and we are in talks with those states also where due to confusion Coronil sale was being opposed,” said Ramdev.

However, he referred to the controversial clinical trials carried out by the company and NIMS Medical College in Jaipur, which claimed the company’s ayurvedic formulations completely cured Covid-19. The clinical trial application filed with the regulator clearly mentions the title of the study as “Impact of Indian traditional Ayurvedic treatment regime for nCov-2 (Covid-19)”.

It subsequently emerged that only mild and asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 were enrolled in the trial, which also excluded people with co-morbidities.

On Wednesday, Ramdev insisted that Patanjali also carried out research on serious patients. He also played the nationalist card.

The drug mafia, MNCs [multinational companies] and anti-national forces want me in jail,” he said.

Acharya Balakrishna, Ramdev’s aide, said Patanjali had carried out clinical trials on diseases like dengue, hypertension, asthma and swine flu and it was not the first time the company has conducted virology trials.

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