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COVID-19: Doctor Moves Kerala High Court Against Proposal To Give Homeo Medicines As Immunity Booster To School Kids, Calls It 'Inhumane'

Hannah M Varghese
21 Oct 2021 2:59 AM GMT
COVID-19: Doctor Moves Kerala High Court Against Proposal To Give Homeo Medicines As Immunity Booster To School Kids, Calls It Inhumane
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A plea has reached the Kerala High Court challenging the proposal to administer a homoeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album 30CH (Ars. Alb. 30) among school students as a preventive measure against COVID-19 without any study regarding its efficacy or safety.The petitioner claims to be a specialist in Hepatology and Liver Transplant Medicine and the recipient of the gold medal for academic excellence...

A plea has reached the Kerala High Court challenging the proposal to administer a homoeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album 30CH (Ars. Alb. 30) among school students as a preventive measure against COVID-19 without any study regarding its efficacy or safety.

The petitioner claims to be a specialist in Hepatology and Liver Transplant Medicine and the recipient of the gold medal for academic excellence in Hepatology from the President of India in 2016.

The petition was moved being aggrieved by the launch of a massive campaign by the State, its Ministry of General Education, the Ayush Department and the Directorate of Homoeopathy to administer  Ars. Alb. 30 to school students, on the guise that it is an immunity booster against COVID-19 infection.

The petitioner has also produced an order related by the Ayush Department approving the action plan named 'Karuthalode Munnottu' (translation: 'Forward with Caution') for distribution of Ars. Alb.30 among school students

It is submitted that no scientific data is available with the respondents positively indicating the efficacy and safety of the drug, although almost two years have elapsed since the Centre declared that Ars. Alb. 30 can be used as a prophylactic against COVID-19, a day before the first case of COVID-19 infection in India was confirmed on 30 January 2021. 

The petition is filed concerned over the evidence from several publications, including homoeopathic journals, that Arsenicum Album 30CH leads to develop symptoms similar to that of Arsenic poisoning. 

It was also added that the petitioner, after finding a positive correlation between ingestion of certain homoeopathic immune boosters and liver damage, had sent certain samples of homoeopathic drugs including Ars. Alb. 30, to labs for testing and found that Arsenic was present in the drugs at alarming levels. 

A study on adult individuals who consumed Ars. Alb. 30 revealed that they faced symptoms similar to that of individuals who were exposed to Arsenic poisoning. 

"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 plea reads. 

The petitioner argued that children are more vulnerable to Arsenic toxicity and therefore, the steps taken by respondents of expanding the use of Ars. Alb. 30 to school children was, therefore, inhumane and called for intervention. 

The plea is filed troubled by the misinformation published by the respondents in their campaign through their flyers in addition to depriving the public of access to information regarding the composition, efficacy, safety and risks associated with the drug. 

The Secretary of the Ayush Department is planning to launch the first phase of the campaign for the distribution of Ars. Alb. 30 among school children on 25.10.2021. The petitioner prayed that this order may be quashed by the Court. 

Not even a single plausible study has been conducted by the respondents on the efficacy or safety of the drug, even while they have been distributing it for free to the public since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

The efforts of the respondents to extend the administration of Ars. Alb. 30 drug to school students, without any positive evidence from scientific research or study regarding its safety and efficacy, were sought to be stayed forthwith pending disposal of the petition. 

A directive to the respondents to adduce necessary evidence to support their claims on efficacy and safety were also sought for. 

Additionally, it was also prayed to appoint an expert committee comprising of experts from homoeopathy, modern medicine and basic scientists with authentic research experience in pharmacological testing to study the efficacy and safety of Ars. Alb. 30 in children as well as in adults. 

The petition has been filed through Advocates Pirappancode V.S Sudheer, Akash S, Soniya S and Megha A.

Case Title: Dr Cyriac Abby Philips v Union of India & Ors.

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