BMC running out of 'anti-COVID' homeopathy medicine recommended by Ayush ministry

Updated: May 18, 2020, 08:19 IST | Diwakar Sharma, Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Mulund traders stock up last remaining supply of in-demand homoeopathic medicine Arsenicum Album 30, recommended by AYUSH ministry and BMC, and are giving it to frontline workers; medical opinion divided

The Mulund East Vyapari Association has stocked the pills
The Mulund East Vyapari Association has stocked the pills

A homoeopathic medication, Arsenicum Album 30, advertised lately as a prevention method against COVID-19, is running out of stock in city markets. The central AYUSH ministry had said in a press release that the medicine could be taken as a "prophylactic against possible Coronavirus infections".

Homoeopathics in Mumbai, too, have been recommending people to complete a course of Arsenicum Album 30 to ward off Coronavirus. The BMC too allowed for the medicine to be distributed in city's COVID-19 hotspots.

Which they are now distributing free. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Which they are now distributing free. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Nearly one dozen members of Mulund East Vyapari Association (MEVA) have stocked this medicine and have been distributing it in their community. "We purchased Arsenicum Album medicine in large quantities and have been distributing it among businessmen, local residents of Mulund, civic personnel, Mumbai police, RPF personnel, milkmen, vegetable vendors, and others. It is now out of stock and not available with chemists. After consulting various homoeopaths we learnt that this medicine boosts immunity and if the immunity is boosted, Coronavirus will not infect us," said Hemant Jain, one of the members of MEVA.

3,500 bottles distributed
"We have circulated messages about the medicine being available for free on social media. So far, we have distributed more than 3,500 bottles. We have also maintained a record of these people. They all tested negative for COVID-19," said Jain, who was recently contacted by an RPF personnel for the medicine as nearly 90 personnel staying in a barrack wanted to boost their immunities.

Mulund East Vyapari Association members with the homoeopathy medication. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Mulund East Vyapari Association members with the homoeopathy medication. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

"There is no evidence of it curing COVID-19, but it surely works as a preventive measure," said Dr. Bharati Pipada, a homoeopath. "This medicine can be taken by everyone, from a one-year-old child to a senior citizen. But pregnant woman, patients having chronic liver and kidney disease and others must consult a homoeopath," said Pipada.

"I have been practising homoeopathy for 25 years and I have given the medicine to my neighbours, friends, relatives, vegetable vendors, kiranawalas, pharmacists and police at Dahisar, Goregaon and Vanrai," said Dr. Samir Chaukkar, who is the Dean at Dr Batra's Academy.

'It is a farce'
However, a senior homoeopath, Dr. Kishore Mehta says it is a 'farce'. "I am not sure it works that way. Had it been boosting immunity levels, I would have given it to my all patients," Dr. Mehta said.

According to Dr. Deepak Halari, who runs Reliable Homeopath Pharmacy in Mulund, said, "There is an acute shortage of Arsenicum Album 30. Several NGOs stocked it to distribute it among people." Halari added that the closure of manufacturing units has exacerbated the shortage. "I had placed an order in March and it is yet to be delivered."

Dr Farooq Motiwala, principal of the Nashik-based Motiwala Homeopathic Medical College, said, "There are over 3,000 varieties of medicines in homoeopathy. Since the pharmacists cannot stock as many medicines, five to six variants of one medicine to be used in one disease are stored. In the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, after contacting their counterparts in Iran, Italy, China and Hong Kong where the virus reached first, the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy decided that Arsenicum Album 30 could be effective in preventing COVID-19."

The college has provided the medicine to 17,500 policemen and to thousands of people in Malegaon.

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