Synopsis: Coronil Launch event is in controversy again. Ministers and public figures must not be seen as endorsing drugs whose efficacy is in doubt
At a recent event, Haridwar-based Patanjali announced that its Coronil Ayurveda medicine recognized as a “supporting measure in COVID-19” by Ayush Ministry. Ministry awarded the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) as per the WHO certification scheme.
After receiving certification, the export of medicine has become possible. This event was presided by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The company claimed that it is the first evidence-based medicine to fight COVID-19.
This event attracted several criticisms. Indian Medical Association (IMA) criticized this promotion as unethical and a “blatant deceiving of the people of the country”.
What are the issues associated with the launch of Coronil?
- Firstly, Patanjali is a private company and coronil is the product of it. As per code of act, Doctors are barred from promoting any drugs and Dr Harsh Vardhan (health minister) is an ENT surgeon.
- Secondly, Baba Ramdev claimed at the event that WHO endorsed Coronil. Whereas, WHO South-East Asia in a tweet refused any such endorsement.
- Third, the publication of a randomized clinical trial of Coronil in a research journal was also put forward as an endorsement by that magazine. These publications are nothing but an initial requirement that put forward the report in front of subject experts.
- Fourth, the published report reveals that medicine was tested only on 95 patients. All of them were asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic but confirmed as RT-PCR positive. This number is very small. Moreover, a large population with mild or no symptoms recovers without any external intervention.
However, it is not the only case, where a drug approved without any solid research. DGCA previously approved itolizumab by Biocon, which was tested only on the sample of 30. Approval of Covaxin also was in a haste and lacked solid scientific evidences.