Ayurveda practitioner sends legal notice to IMA for calling AYUSH medicines ‘placebos’

In October, the Indian Medical Association had objected to the government’s COVID-19 protocol prescribing yoga and ayurvedic herbs for COVID-19 treatment
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An Ayurveda practitioner has sent a legal notice to Indian Medical Association (IMA) over the latter’s objection to the use of ayurveda and yoga for COVID-19 treatment. According to a report in Bar and Bench, the ayurveda practitioner, Vaidya Prashant Tiwari, has objected to the IMA calling ayurveda medines as ‘placebos.’

The issue pertains to an official notification the Health Ministry had issued in October, which greenlit protocol for the clinical management of COVID-19, that listed dietary measures, yoga and ayurvedic herbs and formulations — such as Ashwagandha and AYUSH-64 — for prevention of coronavirus infection and treatment of mild and asymptomatic cases.

In a strongly worded letter, the IMA had then questioned the scientific basis of the protocol, asking Health Minister Harsh Vardhan whether there is satisfactory evidence regarding the claims made from studies done on COVID-19 patients. The IMA had asked him to respond to six questions, adding, "What is stopping him from handing over COVID care and control to the AYUSH ministry? IMA demands that the Union Health Minister should come clean on the above posers. If not, he is inflicting a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs.”

This statement by the IMA seems to have irked the ayurveda practitioner, as he has stated in his legal notice that the IMA’s “uninformed defamatory allegations” against the AYUSH system of medicine was an “intentional and deliberate attempt to cause loss of goodwill and reputation to the AYUSH Institutions and the practitioners.”

The petitioner has also accused the IMA of intending to “malign the AYUSH method of treatment and the practitioners thereof and to create a vide spread disbelief in the mind of the public at large against the Indian Medicine and their practitioners.”

“The said irresponsible, defamatory, false and misleading statement made by you the addressees with the intention to cause disbelief against the Indian medicine system in the minds of the public and large has led to cause a huge disrepute to the AYUSH medicines and the practitioners who have been fighting hand in hand through the present COVID-19 pandemic,” the petitioner has also written in the legal notice, demanding a public apology from the IMA, failing which he would initiate legal action against the body.

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