The manufacture, import and sale of medicines is regulated by the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA). The DRA is mandated to ensure safety, quality and efficacy of medicines in the country. It closely follows latest developments in relation to medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DRA has not received any applications for import of Coronil medicine. As there are no approved medicines yet in the world to treat COVID-19, therefore, DRA will not allow any medical shops to bring in any medicine with claims to treat COVID-19.
Head of Inspection Division, DRA, Kunzang Dorji, said that from the routine inspection conducted, no pharmacies were found to engage in the sale of medicines for the treatment of COVID-19. DRA was also not notified of any person selling Coronil in the country.
He said that as of date, there is no medicine approved for treatment of COVID-19 though a few drugs and vaccines are under trial. As evidenced from the routine inspection, no pharmacies and retail outlets sold Coronil medicines. As Coronil is a Patanjali product, its outlet in Thimphu was also inspected. However, the store did not have Coronil medicine nor any products which falls under definition of medicinal products.
The Patanjali outlet engages in sale of products other than medicines that do not fall under the purview of Medicines Act and the DRA. However, if an outlet engages in sale of any products with claims to prevent or treat the diseases then it will be regulated by DRA. However, there are certain obvious products, such as simple painkillers, like Paracetamol, which has to be regulated and rooted through DRA, he added.
DRA should be informed if anyone is promoting or taking medicines for the treatment of COVID-19. Such products will be verified and based on scientific evidences and studies, the products will be reviewed.
As Coronil is not approved by the DRA for treatment of COVID-19, medical shops will not be allowed to sell the product. As a routine process, the import of any medicines in the country should be accompanied by the Import Authorization issued by the DRA. Registration of the medicine should precede the application for import. During registration, DRA will assess information related to the safety, quality and effectiveness of the medicines. They also evaluate how proposed medicines will help in the medical claim proposed.
The Haridwar-based company launched “Coronil” claiming it can cure COVID-19 but there is no medical proof of it and in fact the company is faced with a lot of controversy as it had not mentioned to the licensing authority that it was producing such a drug.
Meanwhile, a criminal complaint has been filed against Ramdev and Balkrishna for their claim to having developed a medicine to treat coronavirus infection in a Muzaffarpur court in Bihar.