Coronavirus (1035) ‘A fraud on the nation’: critics blast Indian government’s promotion of traditional medicine for COVID-19

16 October, 2020

Extracts below. Full text here: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/10/fraud-nation-critics-blast-india...

--

Indian health officials are being blasted by doctors for promoting traditional Ayurveda-based remedies to fight COVID-19; the Indian Medical Association said health officials would be “inflicting a fraud on the nation” if they failed to produce supporting evidence.

The Indian health ministry has begun to recommend traditional remedies to tackle the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, dismaying many Indian doctors and scientists. On 6 October, health minister Harsh Vardhan released recommendations for preventing COVID-19 and treating mild cases based on Ayurveda, India’s millenniaold system of herbal medicine, triggering sharp criticism from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), a group of more than one-quarter of a million modern medicine practitioners.

In a press release, IMA demanded Vardhan produce evidence of the treatments’ efficacy; if he’s unable to do so, the association wrote, Vardhan is “inflicting a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs.” Recommending any drug without evidence for a deadly disease that has claimed more than 100,000 Indian lives is “a dangerous trend,” adds C. S. Pramesh, a thoracic surgeon and the director of Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Centre. The government has no shortage of studies to point to, but Pramesh and others dismiss them as unconvincing...

--

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org