The Supreme Court’s recent rap to Patanjali, on product claims and statements against other forms of medicine — has triggered discussions in social circles, along predictable lines.

Allopathy supporters point to the development, in victorious “I told you so” tones, while ayurveda supporters continue to point to the ills in modern medicine, including side-effects and the uncomfortable possibility of prescriptions being swayed by inducements.

The scientific open-minded approach to this, though, is that all forms of science have their benefits, and downsides. A chemical or biotech medicine is put through testing and peer reviews, and has contra-indications etc listed on papers inserted in the packaging.

Traditional medicines have a different method of functioning and authentic practitioners prescribe medicines based on precise practices. In the same way that medical devices cannot be viewed through the same lens as drugs, similarly modern and traditional medicines also need to be viewed within their respective ecosystems.

And that does not mean ‘no regulatory review’. Instead there should be stringent regulatory guardrails, with an understanding of the science.

Wellness products

Offline and online market-shelves brim with “wellness” products, making various health claims. Regulation of products/supplements etc is critical.

But individuals also can take some responsibility in protecting themselves, by making the effort to know their doctors, institutions and prescriptions. Get treated by a known practitioner or institution, as opposed to following someone with a slick social media profile. Another factor often overlooked, is the timelines prescribed for medicines and the monitoring thereafter. A medicine for three months, should be taken for three months, and a test done thereafter.

This may seem obvious, but doctors (modern and traditional) say, many are indifferent to these little details. And indifference could be the difference between life and death.