The controversy over Ramdev’s commentary on modern medicine seems to have calmed down now, with the yoga guru apologizing for his statements.
However, earlier Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had not criticized the remarks and urged Ramdev to withdraw them. The union minister’s condemnation was somewhat unexpected given the yoga guru’s alleged closeness with the ruling BJP.
The Health Minister then welcomed Ramdev’s apology saying that it was a sign of his ‘maturity’. Nevertheless, it is one of several recent incidents that have undermined the credibility of a highly influential yoga guru.
The Indian Medical Association cited a video circulating on social media saying that Ramdev has claimed that allopathy is a “stupid science” and that drugs such as Remedisvir, Faviflu and other drugs approved by the Drug Controller General of India, in treating COVID 19 patients have failed.
The doctor’s body also quoted Ramdev as saying that “millions of patients have died due to taking allopathic medicines”.
The IMA said that Ramdev should be prosecuted under the Epidemic Diseases Act because the “illiterate” statements are “a threat to the country’s literate society as well as the poor people who succumb to them”.
In a stern word, the doctor’s body said, “The Union Health Minister (Harsh Vardhan), who is himself a modern medical allopathic postgraduate and head of this (health) ministry, should either accept the challenge and accusation of this gentleman and modern medicine.” Dismissing the facility or facing it courageously for arson words on the sovereignty of the country and prosecuting it and registering a case under the Epidemic Act to protect millions from such unscientific statements.
Ramdev may have withdrawn this statement now, but it seems that many doubts have arisen in the minds of many of his followers about modern medicine. Because of this, many doctors have also targeted them. In an article for The Print, a senior resident doctor noted that after the video, people began to question her intentions behind the treatment protocol. He lamented, “They (patients) demand that I remove all the drugs that Ramdev, India’s favorite yoga influencer, claims to have ‘failed’, including steroids and remediesvir. Instead, They want an unproven herbal blend from Ramdev’s kitchen – ‘Coronil’ – to be topped on the treatment chart. Even if I don’t pay attention to these demands, I know they will medicate themselves with it. “
Patanjali’s coronil, an allegedly ‘Ayurvedic’ conch shell, has also been at the centre of controversies in recent times. In particular, the product was launched with great pomp by Union ministers Harshvardhan and Nitin Gadkari. At the time, Ramdev gave interviews to media outlets who falsely claimed that coronil had received World Health Organization approval (see for example here).
Following the row, the WHO’s South East Asia office had to make a statement clarifying its position.
While Patanjali pointed to a paper on its efficacy published in a journal called Phytomedicine, the test method had several flaws. At first, the test was conducted on only 100 people, as reported in an article in The Wire. In contrast, tests for the efficacy of Remedisvir and Dexamethasone were conducted on 1,361 and 6,425 participants overall. Furthermore, significantly, the study did not mention viral load in the treatment and placebo groups on day 0 of the trial.
While a large number of people view Ayurveda as alternative medicine, many have questioned its scientific validity, especially when it comes to treating modern diseases such as COVID-19. As mentioned in an IndiaSpend article, COVID-19’s AYUSH protocol has 253 citations, many of which have serious deficiencies. For example, many studies are not related to COVID-19 at all, but other diseases such as breast cancer, HIV, diabetes, and malaria, etc. Some studies have not yet been done on humans, but on animals such as mice or chicks.
Given the Centre’s support of Ayurveda and traditional medicine, it is somewhat surprising that the Health Minister decided to oppose Ramdev’s recent claims. Nevertheless, the statements of the yoga guru harm his own credibility and have the potential to hinder India’s fight against the coronaviruses.
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) on Saturday filed a police complaint against yoga guru Ramdev for describing modern medicine as “stupid science”.
In a statement entrusted with the police complaint, the DMA alleged, “In this time of crisis, the entire nation is reeling under epidemics, risking the lives of themselves and family with whatever resources are available. Baba Ramdev Has attacked medical science and the medical profession is apparently for personal gain. “
According to a senior police officer, the DMA has filed a complaint at the Dariyaganj police station. “We have received a complaint and are being investigated,” the official said.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that the Union Health Ministry should take action against Ramdev as he misled people by making “illiterate” statements against allopathy and the infamous scientific medicine.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Resident Doctors Association of Safdarjung Hospital also condemned Ramdev’s statement and demanded strict action against him.
Citing a video circulating on social media, the IMA said that Ramdev claimed that “allopathy is a stupid science” and that drugs like Remedisvir, Faviflu and other drugs approved by the Drug Controller General of India treat COVID-19 patients. Has failed.
“Millions of patients have died due to taking allopathic medicines,” the association quoted the yoga guru as saying. The body of the top doctors said in a statement, Ramdev should be prosecuted under the Epidemic Diseases Act as uneducated statements are “a threat to the literate society of the country as well as the poor people who are victims of them”.
Reacting to the controversy, the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust issued a statement, refuting the comments, and said, “It is clarified that the shortened version of the video is completely out of context as to what Swamiji would have told has sought.”
With inputs from PTI