Andhra clears Anandaiah’s herbal medicine, but says it’s not a cure for COVID-19

The herbal concoctions, including eye drops, are made with ingredients like turmeric, cumin, camphor, pepper, honey and nutmeg. Anandaiah started administering the remedy on April 21, quickly gaining popularity but also being widely questioned.
Andhra clears Anandaiah’s herbal medicine, but says it’s not a cure for COVID-19
Andhra clears Anandaiah’s herbal medicine, but says it’s not a cure for COVID-19
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The Andhra Pradesh government has given the green light to an herbal concoction, whose efficacy was in question but gained wide popularity over the last few weeks. The herbal medicine was being prepared and administered by a man called B Anandaiah in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishnapatnam in SPS Nellore district. The government decided to approve the concoction after reports from the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Studies (CCRAS) stated that it was harmless. 

According to a source, the Chief Minister stated that herbal concoctions were not cures for COVID-19, and the same should be publicised widely. The mix is only a health supplement that people can choose to consume. 

An official from the CMO confirmed to TNM that the government has given its consent for the distribution of the herbal medicine. “The government had given a green signal only for the oral herbal concoction that was being administered by Anandaiah. He will not be allowed to administer the eye drops until the report is received from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and LV Prasad Eye Hospital. The reports are expected in the next three weeks,” the official said. 

Kotaiah, a retired headmaster from Nellore and a COVID-19 patient, who had claimed in a viral video that he felt better after using the eye drops, died early Monday morning. He was hospitalised after he contracted chemical conjunctivitis. Doctors had earlier told TNM that the headmaster also had other complications when he was admitted to the hospital. Dozens of others who had taken Anandaiah’s medicine were also admitted to hospital after they complained of eye irritation.

The official also added that the district authorities have been informed of the decision taken by the government. It remains to be seen when Anandaiah will resume administering the herbal concoction, though he will have to follow all COVID-19 guidelines. 

The AYUSH department of Andhra Pradesh had earlier revealed that the CCRAS conducted a comprehensive test of the herbal remedy that was being touted as a ‘cure’ for COVID-19, by administering it to 500 people. This was part of the study to determine its efficacy.

AYUSH commissioner Ramulu N had earlier told TNM that the herbal remedy had been administered to around 80,000 people over the past few weeks before it was halted by the government.

The government’s decision was also conveyed to the AP High Court, which had been hearing a writ petition filed by Anandaiah, who claimed that the herbal preparation was unique in its combination and that it has been proven to be effective with no possible side effects.

He pleaded that it be categorised as a 'patent or proprietary medicine' as defined under Section 3(h) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Stating that he has been a practising Ayurvedic doctor for many years, Anandaiah contended that his drug, which he developed, did not require any licence. Anandaiah also noted that he did not intend to sell the drug commercially and would only distribute it to the public free of cost.

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