“Clarification Not Enough”: Health Minister To Ramdev On Allopathy
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has Questionned yoga guru Ramdev, the face of one of India’s biggest consumer goods and alternative medicine empires, to rescind remarks in which he ostensibly said more people died of modern medical treatments during the COVID-19 crisis than the coronavirus itself.
“The people of the country are very hurt with your remark on allopathic medicines. I have already told about this feeling over phone. Doctors and health workers are like gods for the people of the country for whom they are fighting against the coronavirus risking their lives,” Dr Vardhan said in a two-page letter written in Hindi.
“You have not only insulted Corona warriors, but have hurt the feelings of the people of the country. Your clarification yesterday is not enough to make up for it… I hope you will think hard on it and withdraw your statements completely,” he added.
Ramdev had drawn anger and a legal notice from the the Indian Medical Association (IMA), demanding a written apology for the statement that it said damaged the reputation of practitioners of allopathy and modern medicine when they are striving to save lives during the pandemic.
Facing a backlash over the comments, Ramdev’s Patanjali group said the video had been edited and the statement “taken out of context”. The 55-year-old saffron-robed producer of Ayurvedic products had “no ill-will against modern science and good practitioners of modern medicine”, it said.
“It is necessary to mention that the event was a private event and Swami jee (Ramdev) was reading out a forwarded WhatsApp message received by him and various other members who were participating in the event… what is being attributed against him is false and nugatory,” it said.
Patanjali, based in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar, added Ramdev “believes that allopathy is a progressive science; and a combination of allopathy, Ayurveda and yoga will be beneficial to everyone during such difficult times.”
Besides the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which represents 3.5 lakh doctors, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) too served a legal notice to Ramdev, condemning the “baseless and unscrupulous claims made for cheap publicity”.
The IMA, earlier in a media statement, had said the Union Health Ministry should take action and prosecute Ramdev under the Epidemic Diseases Act as he had misled people by making “unlearned” statements and defamed scientific medicine.
It also claimed that Ramdev had called doctors “murderers” in front of the Health Minister – a doctor himself – during the “release of his wonder drugs”.
The World Health Organisation had to issue a clarification saying it had “not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment COVID-19” after Ramdev said his medicine called Coronil had been cleared by the agency.