Patanjali’s Coronil is neither WHO certified nor approved, media outlets run false news

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An alleged piece of news that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved Patanjali’s Coronil as a treatment for coronavirus made headlines on February 19. Below is a report by News Nation which claims that the Ayurvedic medicine received the WHO’s approval.

In an ‘exclusive’ interview with Patanjali founder Ramdev, anchor Deepak Chaurasia said, “Baba Ramdev has proved that he does what he says. There was a lot of debate around Coronil when he had first spoken about it – is the Coronil kit an effective treatment for coronavirus? But today, it has received the approval of the WHO.”

Ramdev in response claimed that a team of the WHO had visited his company and given Coronil the licence that deems it eligible for sale in more than 150 countries. A few minutes into the interview, Ramdev also criticised western medicine and asserted that allopaths are resorting to ‘medical terrorism’.

News18 anchor Kishor Anjawami also showered praises on Ramdev while claiming that Coronil has received the WHO’s stamp.

Asianet News wrote that Coronil is now ‘WHO-certified’. “रामदेव ने दावा किया कि पतंजलि रिसर्च इंस्टिट्यूट की यह दवा विश्‍व स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य संगठन (WHO) से सर्टिफाइड है (Baba Ramdev claimed that Patanjali Research Institute’s medicine is certified by the WHO),” wrote the outlet.

JioNews and TV9 Gujarati also reported that Baba Ramdev claimed that Coronil is WHO-certified.

BJP spokesperson Sanju Verma tweeted, “#PatanjaliCoronil getting approval from DCGI& #WHO no less is a huge endorsement for Ayurveda & India’s homegrown #StartUp ecosystem that has flourished under @narendramodi govt.”

Patanjali’s Rakesh tweeted that Coronil has been recognised by the WHO as the “first evidence-based medicine for corona”.

Fact-check

Soon after the claim was widespread, managing director of Patanjali Ayurveda Balkrishna tweeted that the Goods Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CPP) to Coronil has been issued by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Government of India.

He also stated in another tweeted that the CPP license was issued in accordance with the WHO GMP quality approvals.

“Coronil has received the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CPP) from the Ayush section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation as per the WHO certification scheme,” said Patanjali in a statement, as reported by PTI. On the basis of presented data, the Ministry of Ayush has recognised Coronil Tablet as medicine for “supporting measure in COVID-19”, the report further states.

What is the WHO certification scheme?

The WHO certification scheme was developed by the World Health Organisation “in response to the request of WHO Member States to facilitate international trade in pharmaceutical products between Member States,” according to the WHO.

The scheme operates as follows – the applicant/importing company requests a CPP from the certifying authority through the exporting company. To put it simply, if a country wishes to import Pantanjali’s Coronil, it would request a CPP from the DCGI through Patanjali. The CPP is issued by a certificate issuing authority (DCGI in the case of India) in accordance with the WHO’s GMP quality assurance.

CPPs are issued independent of the WHO. The UN agency explicitly states that the use of its emblem is an illegal act.

Patanjali’s Coronil has therefore been issued a CPP by the AYUSH section of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation under the Government of India and the claim that Coronil was approved or recommended by WHO is false.

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