Homeopathy Doctors can prescribe notified drugs as add-on drug for COVID patients: Ayush Ministry to SC
New Delhi: The Ministry of Ayush recently informed the Supreme Court that it has permitted qualified AYUSH doctors and homoeopaths to prescribe government-approved tablets and mixtures as an add-on drug to the conventional treatment for patients who have been tested Covid positive.
However, it clarified that AYUSH doctors should not advertise any drug as a cure for Covid-19.
The submission came via an affidavit by the Government through AYUSH Ministry in a special writ petition filed by Dr AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homeo Pharmacy. The institution had filed the plea challenging an order by the Kerala High Court on 21 August that prohibited AYUSH doctors from advertising or prescribing medicines as a cure for Covid-19, except those specifically mentioned in the Centre's advisory on 6 March 2020.
The high court also added that it would be open for the state authorities to take appropriate action under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2015, and other relevant orders of both the Central and State Governments against erring AYUSH practitioners.
However, the institution approached the Supreme Court contending that the AYUSH medicine practitioners had been precluded from providing treatment for the fatal virus. The petitioner challenged the judgement of the High Court on the grounds that it is contrary to the advisory issued by the Government of India from time to time.
Submitting the government's stand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the high court's interpretation of the Centre's guidelines was correct.
The top court was informed that "prescription of medication prescribed by the Ministry of AYUSH to Covid positive patients as an add-on treatment is permitted, and therefore, any contention to the contrary stating that homoeopathic medical practitioner cannot prescribe any treatment to Covid 19 positive patients, even as an add-on to conventional treatment is liable to be rejected."
It further submitted that the aforesaid Guidelines for Registered Practitioners of respective system of AYUSH including Homoeopathy have been prepared by Director Generals of Research Councils and Directors of National Institutes with their team of experts and after vetting by the Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Task Force of Ministry of AYUSH.
Considering the current unprecedented and unforeseen precarious situation, the health system preparedness of the country and the anticipated patient-doctor ratio of the country, the Ministry of AYUSH decided to augment and strengthen the Covid medical response of the country by using the traditional Healthcare system of the country, which included Ayurvedic practices, Homoeopathy practices as well as Unani practices.
According to the Ministry of AYUSH, the drugs can be prescribed by a homoeopathic medical practitioner for
• Preventive and prophylactic use;
• For symptom management of Covid-19 like illnesses;
• Add on Interventions to conventional care.
"the focus of the said guidelines was to lay down a medically accepted and time tested intervention which would boost the immunity of the body, which was critical in the human response to infectious disease."
It clarified that the only embargo on such practitioners is that the said medicines should not be administered or advertised as a cure but should be administered as preventive measure/immunity booster or as an add-on to the conventional treatment.
"The said guidelines were issued with a holistic approach of AYUSH systems of medicine focusing on prevention through lifestyle modification, dietary management, prophylactic interventions for improving the immunity and simple remedies based on presentations of the symptoms," the Centre added.