Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Photo Credit: ANI

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday came down heavily on the Centre's latest guidelines which recommend Ayurveda and Yoga as a line of treatment for asymptomatic and mild patients of Covid-19.

The apex medical body has told the government that the AYUSH treatments prescribed by the Centre have little scientific evidence. It has also demanded that the ‘evidence’ the government possesses be released in public and made available for scientific scrutiny.

The IMA says in its letter that the Union Health Minister "has arranged impressive names of institutions to support his prescription." But "these are based on empirical evidence, which means that the evidence is anecdotal and based on individual subjective experiences."

It has further addressed several pointed questions at the Union Ministry of Health to know how the drugs mentioned in the protocol were chosen for prevention and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The IMA further wants to know whether the proponents of this claim and the Health Ministry are prepared to subject themselves as volunteers to an independent prospective 'Double Blind Control' study.

Also, how many ministerial colleagues of Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan have till now made the informed choice of getting treated under these protocols?

If the government has so much faith in the alternate system of medication then it should hand over COVID care to the Ayush Ministry and if it can't then Vardhan would be inflicting fraud on the nation by passing off placebos as drugs.

The government on Tuesday released national protocol on infection management in mild cases of Covid-19. An Ayurvedic practitioner can now prescribe medicines in asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19. The new clinical management protocol both for prophylaxis and management of the virus has been released by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Ayush.

What is stopping him (Dr Harsh Vardhan) from handing over Covid-19 care and control to AYUSH Ministry? "IMA demands that Dr Harsh Vardhan should come clean on the above questions. If not, he is inflicting a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs," said the apex medical body. On Tuesday, the Union Health Minister had released a protocol for the clinical management of Covid-19 that listed dietary measures, Yoga and Ayurvedic herbs and formulations such as Ashwagandha and AYUSH-64 for prevention of coronavirus infection and treatment of mild and asymptomatic cases.

The protocol suggested use of medicines such as Ashwagandha, Guduchi Ghana Vati or Chyawanprasha as prophylactic care for high-risk population and primary contacts of patients. It recommended consumption of Guduchi Ghana Vati, Guduchi and Pippali or AYUSH-64 for asymptomatic Covid-19 positive patients for prevention of disease progression to symptomatic and severe forms and to improve the recovery rate. The protocol said Guduchi, Pippali and AYUSH-64 tablets can be given to mild coronavirus infected patients. The document also listed Ashwagandha, Chyawanprasha or Rasayana Churna for post Covid-19 management to prevent lung complications like fibrosis, fatigue and mental health.

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