Aug 10, 2012

Ayurveda doctors at Pune protest decision on pharma courses

PUNE: Ayurveda practitioners are up in arms over the state government's decision to introduce a one-year course in pharmacology to enable non-MBBS doctors to legally prescribe allopathic medicines in the state.
"The decision is contrary to the provision related to registered medical practitioners in the Food and Drugs Rules of 1940, which allows the practitioners of Indian system of medicine (ISM) to prescribe allopathic medicine in areas where there are no allopathic or homeopath doctors," Suhas Joshi, president of the BAMS Graduates Association India, a body of 70,000 ayurveda practitioners, told TOI on Thursday.
He added, "The provision is subject to the state concerned having issued a notification allowing ISM doctors to prescribe allopathic medicine. Maharashtra government has issued such a notification in 1999. The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), the apex regulatory body for ayurveda, unani, siddha and homeopathy medicine practitioners, too has approved the practice of ISM doctors prescribing allopathic medicine. Despite this, ayurveda doctors continue to face problems."
Joshi said, "The qualification acquired by ayurveda doctors is based on the syllabus approved by regulatory bodies like the CCIM. The proposed pharmacology course will make this qualification meaningless."
The issue holds significance in the wake of the police harassment faced by doctors, who provide alternative treatment, particularly in rural Maharashtra.
In the absence of allopathic doctors, people have to go to doctors from other streams but the latter are not allowed to prescribe allopathic medicines.
Vijay Wadettiwar, Congress legislator from Chimur, had raised the issue during the monsoon session of the state legislature last month and asked why the state was hesitant despite having powers to allow non-MBBS doctors to prescribe allopathic medicines.
Minister for medical education Vijay Kumar Gavit then informed the assembly about the move to introduce a one-year pharmacology course for non-MBBS doctors by way of an ordinance, which is to be issued sometime this month. Gavit had then acknowledged the paucity of allopathic doctors in rural areas and said the government was awaiting the report of a committee, which is considering the issue of allowing non-MBBS doctors to prescribed allopathic medicine.
Joshi said that the fresh row over ayurveda practitioners prescribing allopathic medicine has occurred after the homeopathic doctors approached the state, seeking permission to prescribe allopathic medicine. "Ayurveda practitioners are needlessly drawn into the issue despite clear-cut directives from the CCIM as well as the notifications issued by the state government," he said.
He said, "Our association is organizing a symposium on this issue at the S M Joshi hall in Pune on August 19 to create more awareness about the different legal aspects involving allopathic prescription by ayurveda doctors. Senior officials from the food and drugs department, the police and the regulatory bodies will attend this event."



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