The Supreme Court Monday sought responses from the Centre and others on a plea which has sought a direction to prohibit administration of homeopathic medicine ‘Arsenicum album 30’, particularly to the children and elderly above 65 years, for “boosting of immunity”.
The apex court issued notice to the Centre and others on the plea seeking a declaration that guidelines, advisories, and fact sheets issued by the concerned authorities to permit administration of this homeopathic medicine as a COVID-19 prophylactic violate Articles 14 (equality before law) and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.
“Issue notice on the prayer for relief as well as on the writ petition, returnable in eight weeks,” a bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose said.
The plea, filed by four persons including a physician-scientist, has claimed that guidelines or advisories by the Ministry of Ayush “do not show that any clinical trials have been done in India for Arsenicum album 30 to show its safety and efficacy as a COVID-19 prophylaxis”.
“Clinical trials are required to be done when any drug is repurposed, with respect to its efficacy and for safety. In this context, it is important to note that in the USA, the FDA follows the same procedure for clinical trials of homeopathic medicines as it does for allopathic medicines,” said the plea, filed through advocate Prashant Padmanabhan.
It said “no approval” could have been given to prescribing Arsenicum album 30 without proper determination of efficacy and safety as an immune booster.
The plea has said that pending hearing and final disposal of the petition, the concerned authorities be restrained from in any manner administering this medicine for “boosting of immunity” or in a mass manner to any section of the population, particularly the children.
“The impugned actions on their (respondents) part, issuing guidelines and advisories to permit Arsenicum album 30, a homeopathic medicine, en masse to children and actually administering it to children in Kerala, infringes the fundamental rights (in particular Articles 14,15 and 21 of the Constitution) of the people across India and therefore this writ petition may kindly be entertained,” it said.