‘IMA fabricated facts to make sensational case against Harsh Vardhan’: DMA responds to Coronil row
New Delhi: The Delhi Medical Association (DMA), a state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), has lashed out at its national executive body for slamming Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan after he endorsed Patanjali's Coronil tablet.The DMA dubbed the IMA’s statement against Harsh Vardhan as defamatory and an act of hogging cheap publicity.Notably, Harsh Vardhan is a past president of the Delhi Medical Association."The IMA has fabricated the facts to make a sensational case against the Health Minister only to achieve cheap publicity by abusing a sincere dedicated and honest member of IMA who has brought laurels to the whole medical community by occupying the position of the Union Minister of Health by his sheer hard work, sincerity and integrity," said the DMA in a statement."The Delhi Medical Association strongly condemns the press release from Indian Medical Association dated 22-2-2021. The contents of the press release are baseless, unauthorised, illegal and defamatory for the clean and honest image of Hon'ble Union Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan," added the association.On Monday, the apex body of doctors had targeted Harsh Vardhan for promoting Patanjali's "unscientific" ayurvedic tablet Coronil as the first evidence-based medicine for COVID-19. The IMA had also sought an explanation from the Health Minister."Being the Health Minister of the country and a modern medicine doctor, how ethical is it to promote an unscientific product before the country? How justified is it to release a false, fabricated and unscientific product? If Coronil is so effective, why spend Rs 35,000 crore on vaccinations?" the IMA had asked Harsh Vardhan in a letter.The association had also accused the minister of breaching the Medical Council of India's Code of Ethics by promoting a drug with uncorroborated claims of treatment.On Friday, Harsh Vardhan and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had participated in an event organised by Patanjali wherein a research paper for its drug Coronil was presented.In the paper, Coronil was called an effective medicine in prevention and treatment of coronavirus infection.During the event, Patanjali also claimed to have received Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) as per World Health Organisation (WHO) certification scheme. However, the UN body denied the drug firm’s claim publicly.Coming out in Harsh Vardhan’s defence, the DMA said that the BJP leader attended Patanjali's event in his capacity as the Union Health Minister and not as a modern medicine practitioner."Harsh Vardhan didn't speak a word about the CORONIL, where is the question of promoting it. He only emphasised time and again that we intend to develop Ayurveda into an evidence-based medical system of treatment in Modern India," said the state body.It further said that the IMA has no power to act against the members as it is a voluntary body. "Even the medical council can take action against its members only in regard to their professional conduct and not for any Ministerial action," claimed the DMA.The state unit further advised its national organisation to focus on its fight against "mixopathy"."IMA has no business to question the methodology of the trial of an Ayurvedic Drug. How was it conducted? Where was it conducted? How many patients were involved is to be seen by the certifying authority and not the IMA.”Meanwhile, IMA national president JA Jayalal responded to the DMA, saying: “IMA has expressed the ethical view of professional breach of code of ethics as it will make scores of citizens go culpable by the unscientific claim of the Patanjali corporation on the efficacy of Coronil as a cure for COVID-19. It is appropriate to explain and make it known to the citizen by the Health Minister that he is not endorsing the trade of corona as curative medicine and not a party to the false claim on the certification of the WHO and DCGI on the efficacy of the drug.”"Apart from the professional propriety issue, IMA has no comments on our Hon Health minister and IMA HQ stands by our view," added Jayalal.This is to be noted that after the controversy over WHO certification, Patanjali's CEO Acharya Balkrishna had clarified on Twitter, saying: “We want to clarify to avoid confusion that our WHO GMP compliant COPP certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI, Government of India".