The state government on Thursday allowed homoeopaths across Maharashtra to prescribe allopathic medicines after undergoing a year-long course in pharmacology. The decision came despite opposition by a few cabinet ministers, including health minister Suresh Shetty, who said it will set a precedent and prompt practitioners from other streams like veterinary science to make similar demands.
While the move is likely to benefit nearly 55,000 homoeopaths in the state, it has come under sharp criticism by the Maharashtra medical council (MMC) and the Indian medical association. The medical bodies have termed the cabinet decision as an attempt to favour politicians who run homoeopathy colleges.
It was medical education and drug minister Dr Vijaykumar Gavit who pushed forward the proposal. Gavit and other ministers belonging to the NC P cited shortage of MBBS doctors in rural areas to justify the rationale behind allowing homeopaths to prescribe allopathic medicines in case of emergency.
Upset with the cabinet approval, the central Maharashtra association of resident doctors (MARD) has decided to take the legal route. Dr Santosh Wakchaure, president of central MARD said, “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it. Cross-section practice shouldn’t be encouraged.”
MMC president Dr Kishor Taori said that allopathic medicines are double-edged weapons and no shortcuts should be adopted when it comes to dealing with people’s lives. He said, “The medical council of India and the MMC had rejected the suggestion. Even the homeopathy council had rejected the move saying that it did not want to dilute the science of homeopathy.”
Dr Taori added, “Besides, the MMC will not allow registration of these practitioners and the homeopathic council will also cancel their licence. Even globally they will not be recognised. Therefore, we want the government to reconsider the move.”
President of Maharashtra chapter of the Indian medical association Dr Anil Panchnekar said, “As per court orders, somebody who has studied homoeopathy should practise in that field only. Most of the homoeopathic colleges are run by politicians and the decision has been taken to favour them.”
Dr Panchnekar said the government should have first taken the nod of various medical bodies. He added, “We have called for a meeting of the office bearers of the IMA and will soon decide our course of action.”