Kerala HC rejects PIL against giving homoeopathic drug as immunity booster to kids
Kochi: The Kerala high court has rejected a plea by a Hepatologist challenging state government's proposal to administer homeopathic preventive medicine for Covid-19, Arsenicum Album 30CH (Ars. Alb. 30) to willing children in view of school reopening.
A division bench led by chief justice S Manikumar disposed the petition filed through advocate MS Vineeth after the state government submitted that it has issued in-principle approval to homeopathy department's plan to administer homeo preventive medicine and that the project is named 'Karuthalode Munnottu'.
A project named "Karuthalodu Munnottu" (meaning, to move forward with caution) has been started by the State, its Ministry of General Education, the Ayush Department, and the Directorate of Homeopathy as part of which the homeopathic drug is being administered to the kids, which the government claims to be an immunity booster against COVID.
The doctor had moved Kerala High Court against the proposal alleging that there is no scientific data to prove the efficacy or safety of homeopathic preventive medicine.
In his petition, Dr Cyriac Abby Philips, a specialist in Hepatology and Liver Transplant Medicine opposed the Kerala government's decision to administer a homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album 30CH (Ars. Alb. 30) to school students as preventive medicine against COVID considering the reopening of the schools in November.
The petition was filed through advocates Pirappancode V.S Sudheer, Akash S, Soniya S, and Megha A. The petitioner additionally produced an order of the Ayush Department approving the project for distribution of the homeopathic drug amongst the students.
According to a recent media report in Live Law, the petition submitted that there is no available scientific data proving the efficacy and safety of the drug, even though around two years have passed since the center declared Ars. Alb. 30 to be used as a prophylactic against Covid-19. The petition is filed with concerns over the results found in several publications, including homeopathic journals, which noted that Arsenicum Album 30CH results in the development of symptoms that are similar to that developed during Arsenic poisoning.
The petitioner claimed to have sent certain samples of the homeopathic drugs including Ars. Alb. 30 to labs for testing after finding a positive correlation between ingestion of certain homeopathic immune boosters and liver damage. The test reportedly showed that Arsenic was present in the homeopathic drugs at an alarming rate.
Further, a study on adult individuals who took Ars. Alb. 30 showed that their symptoms were similar to those who were exposed to Arsenic poisoning, added the plea.
The plea stated, "Arsenic is known as the king of all poisons; due to the significant threat it poses to human health. Exposure to Arsenic can cause cancer, liver damage and several other health problems. Studies suggest that even trace amounts of Arsenic can also cause cognitive and neurological dysfunction in children."
The petitioner sought the intervention of the court while arguing that children are more vulnerable to Arsenic toxicity and the steps taken by the respondents to expand its use amongst school children would be an inhumane act. The petition stated its concern with the misinformation published by the state in their flyers as part of the promotion of their campaign, which further leads to an additional lack of access to truthful information by the public regarding the composition, efficacy, safety, and risks of the drug.
The first phase of the campaign would be launched on 25th October by the Secretary of the Ayush Department with the distribution of the drugs amongst the school children. The petitioner asked the court to quash the existing order notifying the first phase of the launch.
Meanwhile, the drugs were being distributed to the public for free since the pandemic began in India with not a single study being conducted by the respondents to prove its efficacy and safety. The present efforts of the state to extend the distribution of the drugs to school-going children without any affirmative scientific evidence or study or research proving its safety and efficacy were asked to be stayed forthwith pending the disposal of the petition.
A directive was also sought from the respondents to produce necessary evidence which would further support their claims of efficacy and safety.
The petition also requested the formation of an expert committee consisting of experts in the field of homeopathy, modern medicine, and basic scientists having genuine experience in the field of research in pharmacology testing to study the efficacy and safety of the drug in both children and adults.
In response to the plea, the government produced before the court a copy of the order issued by it directing for obtaining the consent of parents before administering homeo preventive medicine to children. Through the order, the government had also directed the homeopathy director to procure and distribute the medicine.
Subsequently, the court on Thursday disposed the petition, reports TOI.