New Delhi, December 15: Ayush doctors and homeopaths cannot prescribe or advertise medicines for the deadly coronavirus, which has so far affected over 99 lakh people in India, the Supreme Court said Tuesday. 

Refusing to modify a Kerala High Court order, which had earlier passed a judgement prohibiting such prescriptions, the top court at the same time also upheld an advisory by the centre on Ayush doctors prescribing immunity boosters for Covid.

The Health Ministry had told the doctors that the Ayush and homeopaths can prescribe government-approved tablets and mixtures only as immunity booster and preventive measure for COVID-19, and not as treatment. 

The top court, responding to a petition against the August 21 judgement by the Kerala High Court, declined to modify the order. A three-judge Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy and MR Shah was listening to an appeal by Dr AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homeo Pharmacy, NDTV reported.

India has logged over 99 lakh cases so far, the second highest number of cases in the world after the United States, and over 1.43 deaths linked to the virus. Worldwide, over 7.2 crore people have contracted the highly infectious virus, and more than 16 lakh have died since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The use of Ayurveda for Covid had earlier sparked controversy in October when Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had released a protocol for the clinical management of COVID-19. The protocol listed dietary measures, yoga and Ayurvedic herbs and formulations such as Ashwagandha and AYUSH-64 for prevention of coronavirus infection and treatment of mild and asymptomatic cases.

However, the Indian Medical Association had questioned the scientific basis of the protocols in a sharply-worded letter.

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