Drug Politics: Patanjali's Coronil & Glenmark's FabiFlu

Baba Ramdev's Coronil kit: Patanjali's coronavirus medicine price ...

Patanjali's coronavirus drug "Coronil".
An Indian company manufacturing herbal and ayurvedic drugs has conducted a clinical trial and come out with a herbal formulation that it claims can treat COVID-19. It has fallen foul of the establishment which says it should have coordinated with the government.
This has reminded everyone about the WHO and African countries spat where the countries who have successfully prevented and treated the disease with a simple herbal formula have been heavily censored by the WHO. For around 250 years one system of medicine has claimed to be scientific, come out with novel theories and drugs never before contemplated and tried on human beings and declared centuries old holistic methods to be quackery. Faced with epidemics of chronic disease and universal ill health the people have begun to see through its charade.
However the question remains, why did Patanjali decide to break away? It could have developed the formulation in consultation with the Ministry of Ayush and things would have been fine. Let us examine the issue.
The Ministry of Ayush that has taken up the cudgel of developing holistic solutions to COVID-19 has so far failed to deliver on its promise. As of 13th April it had received 2100 proposals. After classifying them we could have expected some decision by May. Also ayurveds, homeopaths and siddha practitioners have successfully treated Covid patients. They have submitted their treatment results. Why does it take so long to decide?
The holistic practitioners are therefore not happy at the way things are proceeding. While COVID-19 remains a mystery to the so called scientific form of medicine who are of the opinion a pathogen has to be traced and killed to defeat the disease, the holistic systems are about treating the patient by developing health and strengthening the immune system. The holistic systems claim this epidemic can be easily tackled without adverse effects and with minimal mortality if their systems are followed.
Why has this situation developed? The Ministry of Ayush could be under pressure. Insiders claim it has the solution but a big lobby is preventing a declaration. This lobby is also against the established ayurvedic companies coming out with cures. This lobby has pushed the clinical trials of holistic drugs into the ambit of ICMR - a body of modern medicine that does not have any idea about holistic systems. This body also has ties with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is also a fact that pharmaceutical companies have all along made ridiculous claims about their products and the monitoring agencies have not dared to take any action against them. All rules and regulations exist for the holistic systems only.
Those acquainted with herbs do not doubt the usefulness of the herbal formulation produced by Patanjali. The ingredients and process are what the Ministry of Ayush itself has been talking about and has officially recommended as preventive. Patanjali is also recommending the formulation be tried with an ayurvedic drug for respiratory problems previously produced by it. It is only because of the extraordinary circumstances imposed on us that the issue has become controversial. Under normal circumstances no one would have batted an eyelid.
COVID-19 complications are about an overactive immune system and an inflammatory state of the body. It is also a problem for people suffering from obesity and comorbidities. Clearly we need a health based approach. Holistic systems can tackle immune system problems and chronic inflammation (caused by injudicious interventions of the dominant system) and can restore health. It is clear that they have the upper hand as far as knowledge, skills and resources are concerned.
Currently the entire holistic system has been chained. Its practitioners are frustrated that despite showing excellent results they are not being put at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19. Globally the holistic systems including vitamin and mineral therapy treatments have put up a very good show. They have achieved 100% results sans any mortality. Even an IIT in India has tested the efficacy of herbs against the virus. It is abundantly clear what is happening.
Perhaps a rebellion is needed. I am sure other ayurvedic giants like Dabur, Baidyanath, Maharshi Ayurved, and Himalaya have developed their own formulations. Some of them have launched new products without claiming they are cures for any coronavirus. They don't need to because ayurveda is not about battling any pathogen. Patanjali has taken the system head on. Maybe this approach too is needed. The people have a right to health and their choice of treatment. This right has been violated for centuries. It should be restored.
Assessment of an Ayurved;
"Ramdev Baba has released a potent medicine (amogh astra) for the flu. It will definitely help in both preventing and treating any kind of influenza and related respiratory problem. He has done a mistake in stating that it is a 100% cure for coronavirus. If he had not committed this mistake he would not be in problem. He also should not have offered it over the counter but against prescription."

Glenmark's "Fabiflu".
Yesterday I posted about how the Indian herbal drug maker Patanjali sought to circumvent the system to launch its coronavirus drug Coronil. I had pointed out the perils herbal and ayurvedic drugs can face if they try to go the official way, particularly in the coronavirus scenario.
Now let us take up the Indian drug manufacturer Glenmark's FabiFlu. It is a repurposed anti viral drug meaning an existing drug for influenza has been approved for treating coronavirus. Patanjali is also pushing an anti influenza combination. Like Patanjali did, Glenmark too tested its own drug on mild and moderate patients. It claimed 88% recovery rate. It got its drug approved by the DGCI. Like Patanjali Glenmark too is not free from controversies.
Patanjali provided a package for one month that cost Rs. 549/-. Now each tablet of FabiFlu costs Rs. 103/-. The dosage is 18 tablets on day one and 112 tablets to be consumed in next 14 days. The total cost for 130 tablets to be used for 15 days comes to Rs. 13,390/-. There is no guarantee these drugs will be administered alone. They will likely be used with other drugs. You have to be hospitalized to benefit from the drug which has a tremendous price tag. You have to sign a written consent probably without being told much about the adverse effects and other implications.
What will be the cost price of these tablets? Not much I believe. The industry is known for its exorbitant markups. They can profit up to 1400%. Why do they place their prices so high? In medicine you have to pay a whole lot to get your drugs approved, and then you have to pay distributors and doctors to keep your drugs running in the market. Not all of these payments are above board. These incidental costs are passed on to the consumer. In medicine if you have the contacts and the required resources you can get anything done. Everybody will look the other way if properly satisfied.
Patanjali sought to circumvent this process. It is new in the game and so got exposed. Had it succeeded the people would have got a course they could administer themselves for Rs. 549/-. A seven days recommended course would cost Rs. 78/-. Therefore multiple people can benefit from one pack of the drug. Patanjali should have just marketed it as an anti influenza drug. The combination will improve your immunity, improve respiratory health, and also protect you from viral influenza.
What about adverse effects? Those who understand the role viruses play in the body would think a thousand times before recommending any anti viral. Viruses basically serve the very important role of cellular communication. Anti virals can and do cause virus resistance. The adverse effects can range from nausea, vomiting to psychiatric disorders and death. In fact abundant caution is advised while prescribing anti viral drugs to patients exhibiting psychiatric disorders. Influenza patients do exhibit psychiatric disorders. In case of Swine Flu we saw how the administration of anti viral Tami Flu was followed by suicides and sudden death.
I am not justifying what Patanjali did. I have never advertised any particular brand. There are many arguments for and against which I am not getting into. Two wrongs do not make a right. I am just comparing two events and pointing out the possible background. People often react without caring to look at the background.
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