The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that homeopathic doctors can prescribe drugs for the prophylaxis, enhancement and mitigation of patients with COVID-19 and the prescription should be given only by institutionally qualified physicians.
The supreme court said that when legal regulations themselves prohibit advertising, there is no opportunity for homeopathic doctors to claim that they are competent to cure COVID-19 disease.
It said Homeopathy is intended to be used to prevent and alleviate COVID-19, as reflected in the advice and guidelines issued by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).
The Supreme Court said that homeopathic physicians should follow the advice dated March 6, issued by the Ministry of AYUSH as well as guidelines for Homeopathic Physicians for COVID-19, given by the Ministry of AYUSH.
Judges Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah said, “When scientists around the world are engaged in research to find out a suitable drug / vaccine for COVID-19, there is no opportunity to make any observation contained in with regard to homeopathic physicians. Homeopathy does not cure the disease, but it cures the patients “.
It said the AYUSH Ministry’s guidelines specifically allow use of Homeopathy to follow three ways – Preventive and prophylactic; Symptomatic administration of COVID-19 as a disease and additional interventions to conventional care.
It said the guidelines clearly show that Homeopathy was envisaged by the Ministry as a therapeutic aid.
The bench in its ruling said the “guidelines relate to homeopathic remedies such as medications for prophylaxis, enhancement and mitigation.”
The guidelines, however, specifically provide that “the prescription should be given only by institutionally qualified physicians”.
The Supreme Court said that it is clear from the advisory date of March 6, 2020 and the specific position of the Ministry of AYUSH that homeopathic physicians are not limited to prescribing homeopathic medicines only as an immunizing accelerator.
It said, “We do clarify, however, that what is permissible for homeopathic physicians in relation to symptomatic and asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 is already regulated by the aforementioned advice and guidelines.”
The bench said that the Kerala High Court in its August 21 verdict did not fully understand the guidelines dated March 6 and limited view of the guidelines and made observations to take appropriate actions against the homeopathic doctors who do not can be approved.
The supreme court said there is no opportunity for the high court to make remarks that if any qualified AYUSH doctor makes a claim or prescribes drugs or medications, as a cure for COVID-19 disease, except as prescribed in a March 6 letter , is open to the authorities to take appropriate action in accordance with the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
It said the High Court is however right in finding that no doctor can claim that it can cure COVID-19 and that there is no such claim in other therapy including Allopathy.
“The Court of Appeal is right to note that no claim for treatment can be made in Homeopathy. Homeopathy is intended to be used to prevent and mitigate COVID-19, as reflected in the advice and guidelines issued by the Ministry of AYUSH as noted above,” the bench said.
The supreme court reserved its verdict on December 1 on a plea filed by Dr. AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Home Pharmacy challenged the cassation order which said AYUSH doctors can prescribe mixtures and tablets approved by the government only as an immunizing accelerator for COVID 19.
The Center told the supreme court that prescription of additional medicines as allowed by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) to COVID-positive patients was allowed.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is published by a union stream.)