The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday wrote to the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government asking it to withdraw the poster which lists out medicines by their brand names—most of which need a prescription-—needed to treat many Covid-19-related symptoms.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Pratap Sarnaik said the intention of a party corporator who put up the poster was noble—to make people aware. “But consulting a doctor is a must. Self-medication can be dangerous for people with other underlying illness,” said MLA Sarnaik.
Treatment of Covid-19 should be left to health professionals. Political parties should refrain from offering “advice” on the matter. It may be well-intentioned but it can be counterproductive.
Sena corporator Sujata Patekar from Dahisar, ward number 4, who put the poster on social media, expressed regret. She told TOI that the intention was not to harm anyone and she will rectify it. “It was wrong from my side and I really regret it. I will put a line saying ‘one should consult the family doctor,” Patekar said.
In a letter signed by state IMA president Dr Avinash Bhondwe and secretary Dr Pankaj Bandarkar, the Association welcomed the state government’s “novel” ‘my-family-my-responsibility’ campaign, but objected to the poster showing medications.
Stating that the poster wrongly promoted self-medication and advertised drugs, the state IMA protest letter said, “These are all prescription medicines or scheduled drugs. This is a serious violation of the Drug & Cosmetics Act of 1940-1945.”
Not only is the dosage mentioned on the poster incorrect, the poster wrongly stated that steroids should be taken in the evening. “These steroids are not to be taken by the persons with diabetes, osteoporosis, GERD, and gastritis, otherwise there are serious outcomes of it,” the letter said.
A senior doctor said that people could develop severe side-effects if medicines are taken in incorrect doses. “It seems that doctors are only needed to be names as scapegoats and for beating up and the state can do without them,” he added.
The IMA had earlier in August lodged a protest against some controversial statements made b ySena MP Sanjay Raut. In its letter at that time it had said, referring to Raut’s comments, “He said, ‘Doctors do not know anything, ‘compounders are better’ and ‘I always take medicine from a compounder, never from a doctor.’” The IMA had at that time also criticised Raut for his comments on the World Health Organization.