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A travesty of science-III

Cow urine as anti-cancer and anti-TB drug is already on sale thanks to the Union minister for science and technology, writes Md. Zeyaul Haque

M. Zeyaul HaqueIn the earlier part of this series we had warned that soon quacks would start killing people all over the country by mixing cow urine, with the anti-cancer drug Taxol and anti-TB drug Rifampicin. Such people would have the mandate of the minister for human resource, science and technology, Murli Manohar Joshi.

In fact, it is already happening. The enforcement branch of Kolkata police arrested two people, Shyam Sunder Agarwal and Sudarshan Dhandaria, in early July for selling "TB and cancer medicine" mixed in cow urine without the drug controller’s permission.

The two had advertised their concoction and were taking Rs. 600-700 for a single dose of this dangerous formulation from credulous patients. After all, such potions had been cleared by persons as high as the Union human resource and science technology minister in the august presence of four "scientists" and a group of believers from VHP.

As we noted in earlier part of this series, what the minister did was serious error on many counts. First, he encouraged an anti-scientific stance. Second, he broke the established protocol of drug research. Third, he encouraged quacks to play with people’s lives and well-being, which they have started doing with missionary zeal.

There are other, more serious aspects of this irresponsible act. Drugs like Rifampicin and Taxol, which have saved millions of lives worldwide from cancer and TB, were not discovered and developed by Govigyan (cow science) experts, but by actual scientists. Mixing these drugs with cow urine (or any other urine, for that matter) is a violation of the very principles on which these drugs are made.

Such mixtures are morally untenable, scientifically wrong, and constitute a violation of Intellectual Property Rights. After all, the antibiotic and anti-cancer drugs in question are the intellectual property of the companies that make them, not that of the Union minister of science, nor of the "cow scientists." Making any such mixture is illegal.

There is yet another aspect of this sordid affair that needs consideration. And that is: for which crime should the quacks pedalling this dangerous concoction be booked. For cheating? Yes, of course. And for medical murder: Surely. In fact, these fellows have to be booked under several acts and clauses of the criminal law.

To conclude, one has to recap some of the salient points of this series. One of them is that cow urine and human urine may have some therapeutic value (as believed by Murli Manohar Joshi and Morarji Desai), but that is not known to modern medicine. The only urine that modern medicine recognises as being of any value is pregnant mare’s.

Another point is that the press should not accept every claim of every "scientist" uncritically. To register a patent in the US is no indication of a "US approval" as the press was led to believe by the cow scientists. The only approval worth the name comes from Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is not easy to obtain, as explained in an earlier article. Even if a drug is approved for use in Britain, France and Germany, there is no guarantee that the FDA would recognise it. Cow urine is at least 15 years away from recognition, provided research starts today with a budget running into millions of dollars, something that is nearly impossible as of now. That means the minister and his "scientists" made a misleading claim.

People advocating dangerous and illegal practices like mixing Rifampicin and Taxol with cow urine tend to believe that anything that is "natural" is healthy and desirable. That is a patently erroneous belief. Many of the deadly poisons are natural, and quite a few vitamin preparations available in the form of capsules and tablets are synthetic. That does not make the poisons good for health and the vitamins harmful.

Cow and human urine are not part of modern medicine (they could be part of some other therapies), but quite a few animal products like pregnant mare’s urine are part of modern medicine.

For instance, bonemeal (a calcium supplement) is made of animal bones. Capsules (carrying drugs inside) are made of connective tissue of animals and haemoglobin syrups are made of animal blood. 

Earlier, digestive enzyme formulations were made of pepsin from animals (now made from papaya) and prednisolone tablets were made from hormone taken out of bulls’ pituitaries (now made from plants). All these have come into modern medicine after years of research, not from religious fervour. (CONCLUDED)

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