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    Supreme Court seeks Govt’s reply on plea over Homoeopathic Drug

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday (18-07-2023) sought response from the Centre and Kerala government in connection with a petition raising safety concerns over ministry of Ayush prescribing the homoeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album 30, as an antidote against Covid-19 without conducting any clinical tests.

    The court was hearing a petition stating that “the medicine, Arsenicum Album 30, has been prescribed as an antidote against Covid-19 by the Ayush ministry without conducting any clinical test or trial”

    Seeking replies from the Union ministry of Ayush, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) and Kerala government within six weeks, the bench headed by justice Aniruddha Bose said, “I also sometimes take these medicines.”

    Representing the Centre, additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhatti said that studies have shown that arsenic is not poisonous. But the bench, also comprising justice SV Bhatti said, “Arsenicum album is poisonous. It depends on the level of dilution.” The court asked the Centre to file the response in six weeks with details of the studies conducted in this regard.

    The court was hearing a petition filed by physician Cyriac Abbey Philips who along with three others said that “the medicine, Arsenicum Album 30, has been prescribed as an antidote against Covid-19 by the Ayush ministry in its guideline issued on January 29, 2020 without conducting any clinical test or trial”.

    This drug is now getting tacit approval of state governments to be used as an “immunity booster” while the Kerala government has allowed it to be administered to children.

    Senior advocate Anand Grover who appeared for the petitioner said that as on date, there is no clinical trial or test conducted on the efficacy and side-effects of the drug. The petition pointed out that Arsenicum Album 30 is generally used for two conditions – gastrointestinal disease and to treat arsenic poisoning. But the Ayush guideline prescribes the drug for Influenza like illness (ILI) and as a prophylactic during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The central advisory prescribes one dose of Arsenicum Album 30 to be taken daily on empty stomach for three days as prevention against Covid-19. The guideline suggests that the dose should be repeated after one month in the same schedule in case Covid infections prevail in the community.

    Besides Philips, the other petitioners include Arif Hussain, a former homoeopathy practitioner, U Nandakumar Nair, a teacher of physical medicine and RB Sreelekha, a rehabilitation and healthcare documentation analyst.

    The petition said, “Although clinical trials are required to be done when the drug is repurposed, with respect to its efficacy and for safety, no such trial was conducted. The guidelines by Ayush ministry do not show that any study has been done. All studies registered in clinical trials registry related to Arsenicum Album and Covid-19 are not completed. Therefore, the guidelines are arbitrary, violative of Article 14 and Article 21.”

    The petition also questioned the mass scale prescription of the said medicine by Kerala government. “The homeopathy medicines by their very nature are proclaimed as “individualized” and cannot be distributed for mass consumption as the Kerala government is doing,” stated the petition filed through advocate Prashant Padmanabhan. Since the different state governments are drawing power from the Ayush ministry guidelines, the petition sought its withdrawal and an immediate prohibition on Arsenicum Album 30.

    The petitioner had initially approached the Kerala high court which refused to entertain the petition but allowed Philips to make a representation to the Centre

    Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com

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