Clinical Trial of Homeo Medicines to Treat Covid-19 Approved Principally, AAP Govt Tells HC

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The AAP government on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the proposal, by two homeopathic doctors, for clinicaltrial of a certain combination of homeo medicines for prevention and cure of COVID-19 has been principally approved. The Delhi government told a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad that the approval is subject to adherence to AYUSH Ministry guidelines.

It said there was also a need for a go ahead from the Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC), inclusion of patient information sheet and written consent form and registration of trial with Clinical Trials Registry-India. It also told the court that "there shall be no financial implication of this on the Directorate of AYUSH, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi as funding was to be provided by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India under an extra mural research scheme".

The submissions were made in response to a plea by two doctors — Kerala-based Dr Ravi M Nair and West Bengal-based Dr Asok Kumar Das — seeking directions to the Centre, Delhi government and Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) toallow and support conducting of clinical trial on Arsenicum albumPhosphorus-Tuberculinum (APT) combination of homeopathic medicines to prevent COVID-19. In their plea, filed through advocate Suvidutt Sundaram, the two doctors have sought that doctors be allowed to dispensehomeopathic medicines as supplement to allopathic ones, to treat for COVID-19, if so desired by the patients.

The Delhi government, in its status report filed through additional standing counsel Jawahar Raja, told the court that the approval was communicated to the petitioners on July 17. It also told the bench that it had in May this year set up a five-member advisory committee to examine and suggest steps of homeopathic system of medicine for boosting immunity against COVID-19 infection.

Pursuant to recommendations of the committee, the Delhi government has started its own study titled, 'A Pragmatic, Placebo-controlled, Parallel Groups, Randomised Clinical Trial to Assess the Efficacy of Homoeopathic Medicine(s) in the Prevention of COVID-19 in a High Risk/Exposed Population', the report has said. It further said the sample size of the study was 15,000 persons and its outcome would come after it is completed under the supervision of the State Advisory Committee constituted byDelhi government.

The matter was listed for further hearing in December. The status report was filed after the court asked the Delhi government why it was not writing to the CCRH for carrying out clinical trials of homoeopathic medicines for prevention and cure of COVID-19 despite requests from the two doctors.

The doctors, in their plea, have said that they were informed in June by CCRH that the state governments have to approach it for clinical trials and it cannot go to the states. Subsequently, they wrote to the Delhi government in June itself to approach CCRH for clinical trials, however, no steps were taken by it, they have claimed.