Doctors who have graduated in alternative medicine (ayurveda, unani and homeopathy) will be allowed to sign up for a one-year course in pharmacology. On completing the course, they will be able to prescribe allopathic drugs. However, these doctors say they are already equipped to prescribe them.
“The existing Bachelor Of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) course includes allopathic medicine syllabus. We are allowed to prescribe allopathic medicines. Allopathic doctors don’t want us to practice allopathic medicines as it’s a threat to their practice,” said, Dr LG Jadhav, National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA).
A dearth of MBBS doctors in urban slums and rural areas has made inclusion of alternative medicine doctors in public health programmes unavoidable, said government officials. As per World Health Organisation estimates, India has a deficit of six lakh doctors. In Mumbai, there are 4,500 general practitioners (MBBS), 5,000 ayurvedic doctors, 12,000 homeopathy doctors and 2,000 unani practitioners, according to their respective associations.
Alternative medicine doctors claim that they could strengthen the public health system if they are allowed to prescribe allopathic drugs.
“We want to practice homoeopathy. Only in emergencies and for select ailments allopathic medicines work better, and we should be allowed to prescribe them,” said Dr Bahubali Shah, president, Medical Council of Homeopathy. He added that allopathic doctors could also study alternative medicine and practice it.