Indian medical associations have spoken out against a trend of rejecting modern medicine and using unapproved alternative medications to treat patients infected with COVID-19.
Last month, yoga guru Ram Kisan Yadav, also known as Baba Ramdev, drew intense criticism when he called allopathy, or evidence-based medicine, a “stupid science,” and claimed that hundreds of thousands had died by taking modern medicines.
He has used examples of drugs such as remdesivir and fabiflu to support his argument against modern medicine.
In response, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) wrote a stern letter to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
“All this is done by Swami Ramdevji to take advantage of the situation and create a false sense of fear and frustrations … so that he can sell his illegal and unapproved medicines, and make money at the cost of public at large,” the letter said.
Ramdev retracted his comments later, saying that he held no ill will against the medical community.
He later claimed that he did not need a COVID-19 vaccine because he was protected by yoga and Ayurveda, an ancient alternative medicine system.
“Ramdev has been spreading rumors among the public and disrespecting members of the medical community,” Manish, the president of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), told DW.
“Many have lost their lives. We are putting our family and loved ones at risk, while continuing to do our duty. He should not be allowed to make such statements. The government should take strict action against him,” he said.
In May, as India went through an ongoing oxygen shortage, Ramdev downplayed the crisis, urging people to “use their lungs” to breathe the oxygen that “God has given.” This led Navjot Singh Dahiya, the vice president of the IMA, to lodge a police complaint against him.
Why do Ramdev’s comments matter?
Baba Ramdev rose to prominence as a yoga guru, and currently has a massive following. He organizes large yoga retreats, and broadcasts his sessions on his own television channel. He is also the co-founder of Patanjali Ayurved, a multinational company which makes packaged consumer products, ranging from food to soaps.
He has close ties with several members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.</…….