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Thursday, January 05, 2006

The earth is flat as Communists and Ayurveda collide

So Baba Ramdev’s followers attacked the CPI (M) offices in Delhi today after Mrs Brinda Karat raised issues with Ramdev sponsored medicines. The Commies never saw it coming. Their cadres used to get attacked by the henchmen of company owners in the 60s and 70s, but such opportunities to get trained became rare of late. So when the commies were attacked by a bunch of superbly fit Ramdev-TV-yoga trained followers, they were all yaaiiiiks, Run!!!!!! With the VHP having done a yagna in support of Ramdev, ayurveda has never had it better.

Though I don’t trust alternative medicine (Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture etc.), I do find the concept of alternative medicine fascinating. And I believe that it is all linked to man’s natural yearning to believe that the earth is flat (after all, that’s how it appears on the ground). Alternative medicine does offer hope (though always false hope) when rational treatments have given up. Alternative medicines are great placebos, and it’s scientifically proven that placebos work. Alternative medicines also offer prospects for all those embarrassing diseases – what I call itchy-scratchy-softy diseases- baldness, obesity, and erectile dysfunction; and also those dubious diseases for which you may be embarrassed to consult a genuine doctor – pain in the hair, mole at a wrong place, etc. Just look out of the window during a train journey in North India and you will know what I mean – thousands of graffiti saying things like- “Parivarik Sukh ke liye Hakeem Amzad se miliye”. The most exotic alternative medicine is what is called “Jolpora” in Bengali, an old woman saying silent mantras over a glass of water, that could supposedly cure anything from “pain in the hair” to Phase 4 cancer. It is an entirely different matter that the decrepit looking old woman giving the “Jolpora” could be herself suffering from undiagnosed Tuberculosis. Given such gullibility, it is no surprise that a business plan for Alternative medicine could be found at the corporate offices of most pharma companies. Despite all this, there is no fully validated scientific evidence in favor of alternative medicine. And susrprisingly unlike the other faith product- religion, alternative medicine has failed to capture the imagination of the massess- with global sales just a fraction of global pharma sales.

However, Pharma companies that develop and manufacture allopathic drugs have a lesson to learn from this Baba Ramdev incident. For example, when problems with COX2 inhibitors (Vioxx etc.) were surfaced, the employees from the pharma companies could have thrashed up anyone who mentioned these problems. After all, What rational target-based drug design, What clinical trials- effectiveness of medicines are best proven in the streets. Because, as Thomas Friedman says, the world is flat, and the irony of the Commies being labeled as supporters of the MNC cause.

1 comment:

Goyal said...

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