Kathmandu: Pathanjali's so-called XOVID immunity booster kit namely Coronil, manufactured by yoga guru Ramdevs Patanjali group in India, faces a distribution ban in Nepal.
The order of Department of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine cited that proper procedures were not followed while procuring the 1,500 kits of Coronil that Patanjali claims are useful in dealing with COVID-19 infection. The issue has drawn attention as it is being interpreted as a move to delink leading Madhesi political families from the Indian group.
The Health Ministry of Nepal, however, has remained silent over the ongoing controversy regarding the distribution of Coronil kits, which have also landed in controversy in India and Bhutan.
The controversy erupted in Nepal after the Patanjai Yoghpeeth on last Thursday handed over Coronil kits, sanitisers, masks and other immunity booster medicines worth crores of rupees to outgoing Health Minister, Hrydesh Tripathi.
The day after he received the support from local officials of the Patanjali Yogpeeth Nepal, Tripathi was removed as the Health Minister.
"The Coronil kits provided by the Patanjali Yogpeeth did not receive permission from the Department of Drug Administration, so we have decided not to distribute it," Basudev Upadhyay, the Director General of the Department of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine, said in a press conference.
"The Coronil kit could be beneficial for the treatment of respiratory disorders, but it has not taken permission from the Department of Drug Administration, so we cannot distribute it," Upadhyay added.
As per the Nepali law, any drug can be imported only after obtaining permission from the DDA.
Meanwhile, qouting the spokesperson at Nepal's Health Ministry, Krishna Poudel, an IANS report said that Poudel was not aware about the distribution of Coronil kits in Nepal.
"We do not know if the outgoing Health Minister Tripathi accepted the support. We have heard that it is yet to get permission from the DDA," the report qouted Poudel.saying
The report also quoted DDA spokesperson Santosh K.C.saying that Coronil is not registered with the DDA and thus it cannot be distributed or sold out.
"We have not received any document for its registration as well as seeking permission for selling out in Nepal. We do not know how the former Health Minister accepted the donation. We have not received any letter from the Health Ministry to grant permission for its distribution," the report further quoted Santosh saying said.
Meanwhile, Patanjai Yogpeeth said that the consignment of 1,500 Coronil kits was provided upon the request from the government of Nepal.
Officials at Nepal's Health Ministry said that officials from Patanjali Yogpeeth in Nepal and India had approached former Health Minister Tripathi directly, handing over some documents that received permission from the government of India for its distribution and provision of selling for the general public as an immunity booster.
Nepal is the second country after Bhutan to stop distribution of Coronil kits. Bhutan's Drug Regulatory Authority has already stopped distribution of Coronil in the kingdom.