NMC prescribes new rules for AYUSH doctors
Medical regulator proposes to bar docs from prescribing treatment in branches of medicine they are not trained in
NEW DELHI: Ayush doctors will no longer be able to prescribe allopathic medicines, if a proposal by the National Medical Commission (NMC) passes muster with the government. India’s apex regulator of medical education and medical professional has recommended barring doctors from prescribing medicines from branches they are not trained in. The proposal is part of the draft of Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulation 2022, released by NMC’s Ethics and Medical Registration Board a few days ago for public consultations.
According to the NMC’s proposal, a person qualified in more than one system of medicine can decide which one to practise. Once licensed to practise modern medicine under NMC Act, the person shall not practise any other system of medicine simultaneously. Short courses in other treatment systems do not qualify a practitioner to practise that branch of medicine, it says.
The proposal runs counter to the government’s push for an integrated system of medicine. Several states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have allowed AYUSH doctors to run primary and community health centres where they can prescribe and dispense allopathic drugs. This is prompted by a shortage of doctors in rural areas.
According to the rural health statistics report for 2020 released by Union Health Ministry , 8,709 AYUSH doctors were posted at 25,140 rural primary health centres and 541 at 5,481 community health centres. However, medical experts have been dead against ‘mixopathy’ and have been pushing for discontinuing the practice which allows AYUSH – Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy – practitioners to prescribe modern medicines.
“There is no unanimity and coherence between states, Central government and within the NMC on this issue. Medical practice is a lawless issue in India,” said Dr Rajeev Ranjan Prasad, a former member of the erstwhile Medical Council of India and dean of Patna-based Aryabhatta Knowledge University.
“The government wants to make Ayurveda a panacea for all ills, which it is not,” he added. The need of the hour was to adopt a realistic policy and not one that promotes quackery, he said, adding that substituting MBBS doctors with AYUSH practitioners was “a remedy worse than the disease”. Dr J A Jayalal, former president of Indian Medical Association, said. “There is a difference between integration and mixing of the two systems.”
Can practise only what a person is trained in
NMC’s proposal says a person qualified in more than one system of medicine can decide which one to practise. Once licensed to practise modern medicine under NMC Act, the person shall not practise any other system of medicine simultaneously.
Tough conditions put by medical regulator
Short courses in other treatment systems do not qualify a practitioner to practise that branch of medicine, the proposal released for public comments by India’s apex regulator of medical education and medical professional says