Baba Ramdev, promoter of Patanjali Ayurved, has once again been accused of flouting the medical code of conduct and business ethics over the management of the pandemic in the past year. Earlier too, he had to retract his exaggerated and unfounded claims regarding various issues related to Covid-19 that reek of unjustifiably promoting his company. The latest case of eating humble pie concerns his mocking and vilifying the allopathic line of managing Covid-19, even as healthcare workers and scientists are saving lakhs of patients, risking their own lives. The Baba was forced to withdraw his pompous statement that questioned the efficacy of allopathic medicines following Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s rap as the Indian Medical Association took umbrage to Ramdev’s comments that have the potential of misleading the public that is struggling to get proper treatment during the current deadly second surge.
His long litany of overreach notoriously includes advertising his hollow herbal ‘corona kit’ to ‘cure’ Covid last June. An FIR was filed against him for conspiring to sell a fake ayurveda medicine with the misleading claim. That he had to take back his words on this score too proves his culpability. Significantly, such irresponsible behaviour gives a bad name to the ancient practice of ayurveda and its honest practitioners.
Even as Vardhan referred to Ramdev’s baseless claims as ‘unfortunate’, what is more unfortunate is that the businessman has been getting away lightly for his actions. His immunity derives from the state patronage that he enjoys for the perceived garb of nationalism wrapped around his ‘swadeshi’ products, with ministers endorsing their promotional events. It is time action is taken against unscientific, fake claims under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The outbreak of the pandemic has been identified by scientific methods. It is being followed up by deep research for treatment as well as prevention through vaccines. Even as a cure remains elusive, the suffering of millions of victims has been mitigated. Mocking such efforts is criminal.