Medicine man’s COVID-19 cure not approved

By Easwaran Rutnam and Indika Sri Aravinda

A potion promoted by ayurvedic practitioner Dhammika Bandara from Hettimulla, Kegalle has not been approved by the Health Ministry.

Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath told Daily Mirror the Drug Authority and the Food Authority of the Health Ministry has not recognised the product.

Commissioner of Ayurveda Chathura Kumarathunge told Daily Mirror that Bandara is not registered as an Ayurvedic practitioner.

However, he said that there is no complaint made against the Ayurvedic practitioner so an investigation will not be carried out.

Hundreds of people gathered in Kegalle yesterday to obtain samples of the product after it was reported that the product can cure or prevent someone from contracting the coronavirus.

It was reported that Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of State for Vocational Affairs Dr Seetha Arambepola and the Minister in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle had tasted the potion.

When asked by Daily Mirror if the potion has been tested and is approved as a possible cure for the coronavirus, Dr. Hemantha Herath said that the Health Ministry has not given such a certification of approval.

“Any product must be approved by the Drug Authority as a drug or the Food Authority must identify it as food. We understand this potion is made with some food ingredients. But to my knowledge it has not been specifically identified as a drug or food product,” he said.

However, Dr. Hemantha Herath said that there are other mechanisms through which individuals can obtain approval for drugs or food products. He said that a product can be approved as a herbal drug or indigenous drug through other Stateapproved institutions.

“They can obtain such approval. I am not aware if such approval has been obtained. We do not have such information. All I can confirm is that the Health Ministry has not approved it as a drug or food,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hemantha Herath said that the authorities are evaluating other forms of medications said to be available as a cure for the coronavirus.

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