Centre Says Patanjali Can't Sell Coronil with Claims of Curing Covid-19, Approves it as Immunity Booster

Anupam Trivedi

The AYUSH ministry on Tuesday said yoga guru Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved will not be able to sell its medicine with claims of curing the coronavirus infection and with labels of Covid-19.

Patanjali Ayurved last week launched a drug called Coronil, claiming it had cured within a week all COVID-19 patients who took part in a trial conducted at the privately-run National Institute of Medical Sciences in Jaipur.

The claim triggered a row, with the Union AYUSH ministry telling the herbal products firm not to sell the drug till it has examined the issue.

Uttarakhand's Ayurveda department said the firm had only applied for a licence to manufacture an immunity booster, and not a cure for COVID-19.

“It may be ensured that on the package and label displayed on the medicines (Divya Coronil Tablet and Divya Shwashari Vati), no claim for the cure of Covid-19 should be mentioned,” said the drug policy section of the AYUSH ministry in an email to the Uttarakhand Licencing Authority, a copy of which is with News18.

“The advertisement and the publicity of the drugs should be ensured in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies,” it added.

The Uttarakhand AYUSH Department has given Coronil approval as an immunity booster and has given it the license to make three medicines and has allowed clinical trial under the rules.

An Uttarakhand drug licence official said that Patanjali in its reply asserted that it had neither claimed to treat the virus nor had printed any symbolic photograph of the virus on the label of the medicine.

“However, a team inspected Patanjali’s facility and found that the Coronil label carries a symbolic photo of the virus. We have asked Patanjali to remove any graphic or such claim,” said YS Rawat, state drug licence official. "We will permit (Patanjali) once it adhere to the procedures.”

Replying to the Uttarakhand government's notice, the firm claimed that it has not promoted any "kit" to treat COVID-19 but only shared with the media the "successful trial" of a medicine. The company said it has not sold any product called 'Corona Kit' nor has it publicised it as a treatment against coronavirus.

But it added, "We have only promoted the successful trial of the medicine before the media."

The company said it had only packed medicines named Divya Swasari Vati, Divya Coronil tablet and Divya Anu Tel in a carton for "shipping purposes". It claimed it has not violated any law and the question of action against it does not arise.

On Tuesday, Patanjali CEO Acharya Balakrishna said the company had not advertised the medicine. "We never said the medicine (Coronil) can cure or control coronavirus, we said we had made medicines and used them in clinical controlled trial which cured coronavirus patients. There is no confusion in it," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.