Nanavati hospital has reportedly has been promoting Apomorphine as a “treatment” since at least December 2018 via a document on its website.
Mumbai: City-based Nanavati Hospital has sparked controversy upon its recently released video that promotes an unapproved drug for Parkinson’s disease. The Video which saw severe backlash from many in the medical fraternity is now also drawn the attention of the Mumbai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which has launched an investigation into a video.
The video shows the case of a Parkinson’s patient who has been suffering from the disease for over 16 long years. He has considerable movement disorder associated with the neurodegenerative disease. Surprisingly, after administering the patient with apomorphine injection, he not only begins to walk without any difficulty but also jogs and does push-ups. The drug used is Apomorphine, a non-selective Dopamine receptor stimulator commonly available in the US and the UK.
The video also features the Indian cricket team’s former physiotherapist, Ali Irani, recommending the drug. Dr Irani, the Head of Physiotherapy Department in Nanavati, is seen talking about Parkinson’s disease and how it affects the movement of patients. Moreover, it mentioned about Nanavati Hospital’s collaboration with King’s College, London and to bring in India an injectable drug that can dramatically reverse a Parkinson’s patient’s movements.
The video went viral, igniting queries and criticisms. Several doctors, Societies and related stakeholders pitched and slammed Nanavati for promoting the drug. The video was pointed out to be misleading as it did not disclose that apomorphine’s effect is only temporary, lasting for only 60 minutes. Post an hour the patient goes back to usual stiffness of muscles and tremors.
Strikingly different from the content of the released video, Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, but symptoms can be managed. The disease affects nerve cells in the brain and can cause rigidity or tremors in muscles and can change speech and gait.
The doctors also pointed out about the drug not being FDA approved. The video also does not mention about the drug not being clinicall tested in India and has not been cleared by government authorities in India either. In addition, the side effects or the high cost of the drug has also been skipped in the video.
Reviewing the matter, FDA Commissioner Pallavi Darade confirmed that a team is reviewing the video and that an investigation is being carried out.
Assistant Commissioner (Drugs), FDA, D R Gahane told Mumbai Mirror that Nanavati Hospital has been asked to clarify whether they are carrying out clinical trials for apomorphine. If so, then whether they have the requisite permissions to carry out the trial.
The video released by the hospital seemed like it was aimed at promoting the drug which is again a violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Gahane added.
Sources told the daily that Nanavati has received over 5,000 calls so far inquiring about apomorphine and already 2,000 patients have been wait-listed to receive the treatment.
The video was further criticized by the Movement Disorders Society of India that stated, “There is no magic drug or a cure all or a one-size-fits-all treatment for Parkinson’s. Physicians, people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers are advised to be wary of any misleading information appearing is SM assuring of the same.”
As per The Quint, Dr Manjari Tripathi, Professor of Neurology at AIIMS, called out the video for being propaganda. He told the daily, “Apomorphine is not a miracle cure for Parkinson’s disease and the video is irresponsible. The fact is that apomorphine works only for a very select set of patients with advanced Parkinson’s where the effects of the drug levodopa, the mainstay of Parkinson’s disease, slows down.”
The hospital via a document on its website has reportedly been promoting this drug as a “treatment” since at least December 2018.