Don't let Ayush docs prescribe allopathic drugs: IMA to govt

Don't let Ayush docs prescribe allopathic drugs: IMA to govt

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is upset by the Karnataka government’s decision to permit doctors practising Indian systems of medicine to prescribe allopathic drugs.

The move will encourage quackery and put patients’ lives at risk, the umbrella organisation of allopathic doctors said.

The state government recently recruited about 200 Ayush doctors, after trying and failing to fill vacancies in rural areas with MBBS graduates.

Ayush is an acronym for ayurveda, unani, siddha and homeopathy.

The government has announced a plan to train doctors qualified in these disciplines to enable them to prescribe allopathic medicines. The course, yet to be designed, is expected to be six months long.

Health Minister K R Ramesh Kumar defended the move and said: “The government was left with no option but to recruit Ayush doctors. MBBS students have approached the courts against our decision to make rural posting a must.’’

The state issued a circular in October 2016, permitting Ayush doctors to prescribe allopathic medicine.

 Dr Rajashekar Bellary, state president, IMA, told DH a delegation had met the health minister and urged him not to allow Ayush doctors to prescribe allopathic medicine.

MBBS students study pharmacology for two years as part of their course, while Ayush doctors had no idea about allopathic compounds, he said.

“The lives of patients will be at risk if the doctors prescribe wrong medicines or dosage. We have no problems with Ayush doctors working in vacant posts. But they should not be permitted to give allopathic medicines,” he said.

For the first time in a decade, Ramesh Kumar told DH all posts vacant at the state’s 2,353 primary health centres would be filled, thanks to the decision to recruit Ayush doctors.

He said they would be allowed to prescribe allopathic drugs only as long as they served at government hospitals.

“At the PHC level, patients come with small ailments such as common cold, fever and body ache. They don’t call for a specialist’s attention. Trained Ayush doctors can do the job,” he said.

Earlier, the government had appointed MBBS doctors for 1,222 of 1,401 posts. Only 590 eventually reported for work.


Crash course request
The government has asked the Indira Gandhi National Open University to come up with a special curriculum to train Ayush doctors to prescribe allopathic drugs.

This is expected to be a six-month course. The university, offering distance education courses, is yet to get the permission necessary to launch the course. The syllabus has not been designed yet, according to university sources.

‘Nothing wrong’
Dr Satyamoorthy Bhat, former president, Karnataka Ayurvedic and Unani Practitioners Board, defended the government, saying such a practice was already in vogue in several states, reports DHNS. “There is no need for qualified allopathic doctors at the PHCs. Ayush doctors, if trained, can manage the centres,” he said.

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