The Maharashtra Government’s soon to be promulgated ordinance to allow Ayush doctors to practise allopathy on completion of a full year study course on pharmacology, will be challenged in the court by the Indian Medical Association, said Dr C Srinivasa Raju, chairman, IMA IT Committee and secretary, Hospital Board of India, AP branch.
Last week the state medical education minister Vijay Kumar Gavit told the Legislative Assembly that doctors wanting to practice allopathy should study pharmacology and an ordinance to this effect would be promulgated next month.
According to the minister the decision in this regard was taken on account of the crisis created by the shortage of allopathic doctors in rural areas in Maharashtra.
“There is a shortage of allopathic doctors in rural areas and it is not possible legally to allow medicos to practice a system which they have not studied. So the doctors practising Unani, Homoeopathy and Ayurveda who wish to practice allopathy should study pharmacology. It will be a full time course of one year duration and the doctors will be allowed to practise only after they clear the examination. For this, the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act, 1961 will be amended,” he told the assembly.
He said the Homoeopathy Council in Delhi has been requested to include the subject of pharmacology in the homoeopathy curriculum.
Commenting on the government’s decision, the IMA leader, Dr Srinivasa Raju said, “This maverick step of the government will encourage quackery in the state. IMA strongly opposes this move. First, we will approach the government of Maharashtra requesting them to withdraw from this decision. If there is no positive outcome in our favour, we will approach the high court,” Dr Raju informed Pharmabiz.
According to him the doctors’ association is ready to fight against the decision of the government in the assembly and in the judiciary until the sanctity of the modern system is restored.
Dr M C Gupta, former Professor and Dean, NIHFW, New Delhi and now a practicing advocate on legal issues in the Supreme Court said the step taken by the Maharashtra Government would definitely be a retrograde one. It will not only promote quackery as defined by the Supreme Court in its various judgements, but will also ruin the sanctity of the AYUSH systems which need to be researched and developed in a scientific and serious manner. The present proposal, converting ‘vaidyas’, ‘hakims’ and homoeopaths into allopaths will mean a death knell for the ancient systems.
“If that is the government’s intention, the better way would be to convert the existing AYUSH colleges into modern medical colleges. Thus the establishment cost of putting up new medical colleges can be considerably reduced. It will even be desirable that the MBBS students admitted to such colleges may be given education and training in AYUSH systems for one semester in addition to the MBBS curriculum,” Dr Gupta said.
While answering questions in the assembly, the medical minister said in a written reply that the decision to introduce the one-year pharmacology course was made on the advice of the attorney general, who suggested that it could be done by amending the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act, 1961.
To this comment, Dr M C Gupta said when it was referred to the state law and judiciary department, it pointed out that a mere amendment to the Act would be of no use as under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, the assent of the Medical Council of India (MCI) is mandatory.
This indicates that the decision of the government is unlikely to be implemented in the state.