The Central government has informed the Supreme Court that Homoeopathic medical practitioners can prescribe treatment to COVID-19 positive patients as a preventive measure, with the only embargo being that such a prescription cannot be termed as a cure.
An affidavit by the Ministry of AYUSH was filed in response to an appeal preferred by the Dr AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homeo Pharmacy against an order of the Kerala High Court passed on August 21.
The High Court order prohibited AYUSH doctors from advertising or prescribing medicines as a cure for COVID-19, except those specifically mentioned in the Centre’s advisory on March 6, 2020. The High Court had recorded that practices such as homoeopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and naturopathy can be used to enhance immunity to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
The High Court had also given liberty to the State authorities to take appropriate action under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2015 against erring AYUSH practitioners.
The Ministry of AYUSH has submitted that while issuing guidelines to AYUSH Practitioners it has “clearly mentioned that all these medicines are to be administered as a preventive measure or as an add on to the conventional treatment and should not be treated and/or prescribed as a cure.”
AYUSH further suggested that the drugs which can be prescribed by homeopathic medical practitioners are for preventive and prophylactic use, for symptom management of COVID-19 like illnesses; and add on Interventions to the conventional care.
The Centre has submitted that the focus of the guidelines by AYUSH Ministry 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.”
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, says Central Government.
The AYUSH ministry had issued two guidelines, one in January and another in March.
“As per the finding of the Research Councils under the Ministry of AYUSH, these traditional practices provided lifestyle advocacies to boost immunity which could have played pivotal role in prevention of various kind of infectious diseases,” reads the affidavit furth