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The cause and effect of Maharashtra’s mixed prescription | The Indian Express

The story of the relationship between state and private enterprise needs a rewrite. Maharashtra’s decision to allow homeopathic doctors to practise allopathy after a year’s training in pharmacology is set to see legal wrangling, apart from sparking an ethical debate. The Indian Medical Association has gone to court against the decision, armed with recent court directives such as last month’s judgment of the Allahabad High Court that rules against such short courses to practise modern medicine, and a May 2013 Bombay High Court ruling that stayed a government diktat to amend the schedule of the Maharashtra Medical Council Act to allow allopathic practice by holders of an LCEH (licentiate of the court of examiners in homeopathy) degree. Since the cabinet announced its decision, there have been allegations about certain homeopathy colleges being owned by political heavyweights who are keen on filling up vacant medical posts. What has upset the medical fraternity is that the state didn’t call IMA or Medical Council of India representatives for discussions. The government was under pressure to fill vacant posts that doctors are unwilling to take up. According to statistics with the state health department, 1,190 posts of medical officers are vacant. Punitive measures have been introduced to check absenteeism, and recommendations sent to the Maharashtra Medical Council to suspend the registration of absent doctors. It has had an impact with 50 doctors having joined duty within a fortnight of the decision. When all posts will be filled, however, is another story, and the government needed to crack the whip. It is a situation in which the mainstream MBBS student wants to pursue a postgraduate degree and train as a specialist doctor while the resident doctor from an alternative system jumps at the opportunity to practise modern medicine at an established private hospital. As such, it has become a trend for young resident doctors from the ayurveda and homeopathy streams to be employed in a big way at private hospitals. Labelling themselves “Aam aadmi ke doctors”, homeopaths have been waging a 35-year battle that peaked during the winter session of the legislature in Nagpur. Maharashtra has 60,000 of them and across the state, they have been demanding that they be allowed to prescribe allopathy in the interest of patients during emergencies. The cabinet has effectively honoured their plea. Rather than a one-year training course, which gives homoeopaths a backdoor entry into the system of modern medicine, what the government might have explored is the inclusion of pharmacology in the homoeopathy course.
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