Every day we see new prevention techniques or drugs like hydroxychloroquine making the news headlines as they are suggested to work against COVID-19. Among many such techniques and drugs is the homeopathic drug Arsenicum album 30 that recently caught the eye of the Indian government. Arsenicum album is made by heating arsenic in water at least three times over three days. The interest of people and the government started when this drug was listed by the Ministry of AYUSH among “preventive and prophylactic simple remedies”.
Later on, many debates were started as several states started using it as a preventive method against COVID-19. The State governments in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala have recommended Arsenicum album 30 against COVID-19. Although the Maharashtra government has yet to take a formal decision regarding the use of Arsenicum, Mumbai’s municipal authorities have distributed the drug in at least two wards to high-risk populations. The department of Haryana prisons and Mumbai police, too, distributed the drug to prisoners and officers. Even in the states where there are no recommendations or instructions for the use of homeopathic drug Arsenicum album 30 against COVID-19, people are rushing towards homeopathic clinics to buy Arsenicum, sometimes at triple the cost. It has been noticed that many local chemists have started stocking this medicine.
The debates regarding the use of homeopathic drug Arsenicum album 30 against COVID-19 are mostly reasoned on the fact that there is no scientific evidence given by any of the scientists or homeopathic practitioners regarding the mechanism of this drug for fighting the virus. Also, the use of the drug can prove to be dangerous as the health hazards of arsenic contamination in the water are well-known: Long-term metal exposure can cause skin cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Even though the presence of arsenic in the drug is a mere 1%, the side-effects of it are still not explored and examined fully.