A major political row has erupted over Indore District Collector Manish Singh "allowing" yoga guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Research Foundation Trust to conduct trial of ayurvedic medicines to assess its impact on COVID-19 patients' immunity and resistance. Congress leader and former MP chief minister Digvijaya Singh has said he's surprised the trust has been given approval without a nod from the country's drug controller. "I am sure Collector Indore was blissfully unaware of these guidelines. I would request him and GOMP not to treat citizens of Indore as Guinea Pigs to oblige someone close to The Powers That Be. The orders should immediately be withdrawn," Digvijaya Singh tweeted.
He added there were guidelines for approval of a new drug as prescribed under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act. The Congress leader also said any drug could be tested on humans after certain regulatory approvals from the Drug Controller General of India only. "When I checked with senior officials of GOMP I was told that GOMP has not given any permission to Patanjali to give Drugs for trials to Corona patients in Indore. I spoke to Collector Indore and he promised to look into it," he added.
State Congress spokesperson Neelabh Shukla also sought a high-level probe into the matter. Last week, the Indore district collector said the Patanjali Research Foundation Trust had sought approval to initiate a trial of their ayurvedic drug on COVID-19 patients in Indore, The Times of India reported. The proposal has been approved, he said, adding an MBBS doctor and a district ayurvedic officer had been assigned to conduct the trial. The yoga guru's company Patanjali's ayurvedic medicine has reportedly shown effective results. The same ayurvedic medicine was also being tested on COVID-19 patients in Jaipur, the report added.
After proposing to initiate the trial, Ramdev also reportedly told Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that Ayurvedic medicines had shown "good results" on COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, Manish Singh has rubbished claims that he approved Patanjali's proposal. "Confusion is being spread in this regard," the bureaucrat said. Patanjali Ayurved's Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna has said the Patanjali Foundation didn't want to conduct any new trials on patients and that misinformation was being spread. "Our proposed treatment regime for this pandemic is based on traditional Ayurvedic medicines already being used by millions of people. We want to prove this treatment methodology globally through scientific evidence," he said.
He assured the foundation was going by the book and that "multinational companies and other vested interests" were raking up the controversy "unnecessarily" as they "don't want to see Ayurvedic advancements". Notably, the AYUSH Ministry in collaboration with the health ministry is already planning to launch clinical research studies on Ayurveda interventions as prophylaxis and as an add-on to standard care to COVID-19.
With PTI inputs