Ayurvedic practitioner initiates legal action against IMA for damaging traditional medical heritage

Leading Ayurvedic Practitioner of Bhopal, Vaidya Prashant Tiwari has darted a legal salvo at the Indian Medical Association (IMA), its National President Dr. Rajan Sharma and Secretary General Dr. R V Asokan for “intentionally and deliberately” damaging the reputation of our traditional medical heritage – Ayurved by defaming the Ayurved system of Medicines used in treatment of Covid-19.

Vaidya Prashant Tiwari is an accomplished Ayurved physician in his own right with a practice in Bhopal and is also a teacher of Ayurvedic Medicine. He is an invitee member at the Ministry of AYUSH, New Delhi for various research related issues; founder of Dharma Ayurved Clinic and Panchakarma Centre; Chief Ayurved Consultant at Indian Institute of Forest management and consultant at All India Institute of Ayurved, New Delhi.

The legal notice sent on November 18, 2020, by Archana Pathak Dave, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India, on behalf of Vaidya Prashant Tiwari explained in detail how the Indian Medical Association, the ‘largest and the only representative body’ of doctors of modern medicine i.e. Allopathic chose to ignore the National Clinical Management Protocol (NCMP) based on AYUSH and Yoga for management of Covid-19 released by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 06.10.2020.

When the world was attacked with Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, various clinical trials substantiated the importance of the effective role of the Ayurvedic herbal medicines – particularly, Ayurvedic Kwath, Sanshamani Vati, Chyavanprash and Ashwagandha – in the prevention of the coronavirus. The Government of India, and the governments of other countries recommended the use of Immunity Booster Ayurvedic herbs for effective prevention of the disease. These ayurvedic herbs and kwath were included in the SOPs drafted for the prevention of Covid-19.

The Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, after AYUSH-CSIR collaborative studies conducted with technical assistance from the ICMR, released a prescribed National Clinical Management Protocol based on AYUSH and YOGA for management of the Covid-19 on October 6, 2020 explaining in detail the general and physical measures, dietary measures and clinical measures for the prevention of Covid-19 and treatment of asymptomatic and mildly-symptomatic Covid-19 patients.

The Ministry has initiated 68 studies at 112 locations through the National Institutes, Research Councils, Universities, State Governments and other collaborating hospitals including the AYUSH-CSIR studies before releasing the National Protocol.

The Ministry of AYUSH has set up an interdisciplinary committee of experts for Integration of Ayurved and Yoga interventions in the National Clinical Management Protocol: Covid-19 headed by Dr. V M Katoch, former Director General of ICMR. The report and recommendations of the committee are available in public domain at http://ayush.gov.in. The report was presented before the National Task Force on Covid-19 and the Joint Management Group constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The National Clinical Management Protocol (NCMP) was released on the recommendations of this committee.

The Ministry of AYUSH referred these recommendations to the Chairman of its National Task Force with a request to vet these recommendations by initiating consensus from the experts from the concerned premier institutions. These institutions included the All India Institute of Ayurved (AIIA), Delhi, Institute of Training and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA), Jamnagar, National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur, Central Council for Research in Ayurved (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Yoga and naturopathy (CCRYN), Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) and other National research organizations. The NCMP was prepared with the cumulative inputs from all these above mentioned exercises and after due consideration by the best experts of all the concerned disciplines.

Vaidya Prashant Tiwari accused the IMA of maligning the reputation of Ayurved and its efficacy in treatment of Covid-19 without “perusing and understanding the NCMP and without studying the reports of the scientific and clinical studies made available in the public domain. He alleged that the IMA issued press releases and media interviews more specifically with the intention to “create a disbelief against the AYUSH method of treatment” and to “cause grave reputational and financial loss” to its practitioners nationwide to the detriment of patients who stay away due to this unsupported maligning at the hands of IMA.

The IMA issued a press release on October 8, 2020, issuing a poser to the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan against the said NCMP. Vaidya Prashant Tiwari alleged that the IMA “accused the Health Minister of inflicting a fraud on the nation and the patients” by issuing the NCMP for prevention of Covid-19. The IMA also equated the Ayurvedic drug to a placebo.

The IMA making uninformed defamatory allegations against the AYUSH system of medicine was a deliberate and intentional attempt to cause loss of goodwill and reputation to the AYUSH institutions and its practitioners, Vaidya Tiwari pointed in his legal notice.

The National President and Secretary General of the IMA went on to hold a series of interviews in the electronic and print media with the sole intention to malign the AYUSH method of treatment and the practitioners and to create a wide spread disbelief in the minds of the people against the Bharatiya medicine system.

The IMA functionaries granted interviews to leading television news channels like the NDTV, India Today, India.com etc. accusing the Union Health Minister of ‘inflicting a fraud on the public and the nation’. Vaidya Tiwari quoted from the interview of the IMA functionary wherein he said:

“…But such irresponsible statements. I’m worried about my countrymen and citizens who might follow this protocol and this might increase the mortality rate”.

Vaidya Tiwari also quoted from the interview of the IMA functionary wherein he described the AYUSH medicines as ‘placebo’. “…he is inflicting a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs”.

Calling it an intentional and deliberate attempt of the IMA to malign the Bharatiya traditional system of medicine Vaidya Prashant Tiwari accused the IMA of making “irresponsible, defamatory, false and misleading statements” with the intention to cause disbelief against the Bharatiya Medicine System in the minds of the people and to cause a huge disrepute to AYUSH medicines.

The legal notice said that the frivolous, baseless, ill-informed, derogatory and defamatory statements made by the IMA functionaries led to reputational and financial loss to Vaidya Prashant Tiwari and other AYUSH practitioners who were effectively contributing in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

This willful, deceitful, mendacious propaganda was intentionally unleashed by the IMA to harm the image and reputation of the AYUSH medicine, Vaidya Tiwari alleged saying that it has created panic and incited fear amongst the masses.

In the light of the above facts, Vaidya Prashant Tiwari has sought an “unconditional apology” from the IMA and asked it to remove its press release issued on October 8, 2020 immediately failing which the IMA will be liable to face the legal course of action.


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