IMA sounds bridge course alarm bell

The safety of people treated by practitioners of homoeopathy, unani and ayurveda will be compromised once a central bill allowing them to prescribe allopathic medicines becomes a law, the Indian Medical Association has said.

By A staff reporter
  • Published 9.03.18
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Indian Medical Association president Ravi Wankhedkar at the association's Bengal headquarters off Park Circus on Thursday. (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)

Park Circus: The safety of people treated by practitioners of homoeopathy, unani and ayurveda will be compromised once a central bill allowing them to prescribe allopathic medicines becomes a law, the Indian Medical Association has said.

That's because their diagnostic skills are limited, Ravi Wankhedkar, IMA president, said on Thursday.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill lays down that practitioners of alternative medicines can undergo a six-month bridge course to become eligible to prescribe allopathic medicines.

But six months is not enough to master the skill of diagnosing a problem and prescribing medicines, he said.

Wankhedkar is in Calcutta as part of the "IMA Yatra", during which he plans to visit all the states to "connect with the society and consolidate the fraternity".

As part of the "Yatra", more than 400 cars and 1,000 two-wheelers participated in a rally from the Calcutta airport to the IMA's Bengal headquarters off Park Circus.

"If NMC becomes a law, the rural population, which is about 85 per cent of the country's population, who hardly have access to MBBS doctors will be at risk of getting wrong treatment," Wankhedkar said.

"Practitioners of homoeopathy, unani and ayurveda can never acquire the skills MBBS doctors acquire after completing a four-and-a-half years' course and a year's internship. It's an unscientific mixing of systems and it can endanger lives."

The bill was introduced in Parliament on January 2 but was sent to the standing committee on health for reconsideration the same day amidst protests from doctors' organisations across the country.

The central government has said it wants the benefits of modern medicine, a euphemism for allopathic drugs, to reach remote villages, where MBBS doctors are apparently reluctant to practice.