Yoga guru Ramdev's 'Coronail kit', which sparked massive debate over its efficacy to prevent coronavirus last year, has once again run into controversy. Although this time the AYUSH ministry has approved Patanjali Ayurved's Coronil for the treatment of coronavirus, the World Health Organisation has sidelined itself.
In a tweet, the WHO South-East Asia wrote, "WHO has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment of COVID-19". The statement came after, at the launch event of Coronil kit, Patanjali said, "Coronil has received the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) from the Ayush section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation as per the WHO certification scheme."
This meant the Coronil kit, which comprises three kinds of different ayurvedic medicines, holds a certificate of a pharmaceutical product (CoPP) and is recognised by the World Health Organisation's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Both these standards define quality assurance in medicinal products.
Under the CoPP, Coronil can now be exported to 158 countries, Patanjali claimed.
Besides, in the grand launch event, where Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari were also present, the product was billed by the company as the "first evidence-based medicine for COVID-19".
Now as the WHO rejected the claims, Patanjali CEO Acharya Balkrishna has made a clarification on Twitter. He wrote, "We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO GMP compliant COPP certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI, Government of India".
Balkrishna also added that "WHO does not approve or disapprove any drugs. Instead, it works for building better and healthier future for people all over the world".
We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO GMP compliant COPP certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI, Government of India.— Acharya Balkrishna (@Ach_Balkrishna) February 19, 2021
It is clear that WHO do not approve or disapprove any drugs.
WHO works for building a better, healthier future for people all over the world. pic.twitter.com/ZEDPdWy0tg
Patanjali had introduced Ayurveda-based Coronil on June 23 last year, when the pandemic was at its peak. The company had to face severe criticism as the kit lacked scientific evidence regarding its efficacy.
However, at that time, the union Ayush ministry brushed aside Patanjali's claim and categorised the medicine as an "Immuno booster". Ayush ministry also ordered Patanjali Ayurveda to halt advertisements of Coronil kit, claiming to prevent COVID-19.
Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the Ministry and complete details of the supposed medicines have been sought, AYUSH said in a statement. The ministry allowed the medicine to enter into the market only as an 'immuno booster product', and not as medicine for coronavirus.
But now the ministry has recognised Coronil as medicine for "supporting the measure in COVID-19" treatment, Ramdev said.
"Study on the impact of Coronil on COVID has already been published in leading journals," Ramdev said, adding "it would work not only for treatment, prevention and cure of COVID but also help in after-effects". The yoga guru also claimed that Coronil medicines will also work against asymptomatic, symptomatic and severe (cases) also.
Meanwhile, as an immuno booster, Coronil has received a huge positive response from the customers, baba Ramdev has claimed. He said, "It received a huge response despite all controversies. We have data which suggests that more than one crore people have consumed it". Patanjali spokesperson S K Tijarawala said Coronil has done a business of Rs 500 crore in the last seven months.
After Coronil, Patanjali now plans to introduce more ayurvedic medicines, backed with scientific evidence and certification, Ramdev said.