Why the NMC Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha Should Matter

The bill allows people to prescribe medicine with a 6-month bridge course whereas it takes 8-11 years for a doctor to complete his studies and training.

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The government had passed the National Commission (NMC) Bill in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, August 1. The bill standardises medical education in the country and arguably that was indeed the need of an hour. But here's the catch: 

The bill allows people who have not gone to a medical college to practice medicine.  Doctors are protesting against the bill all over the country because it takes on an average a doctor over 11 years of study to become a specialist or a super-specialist. On the other hand, in the draft of the bill has been put out, has stated that with a bridge course of six months people who practice Ayurveda, homeopathy, or are pharmacist or compounders can start practicing some level of medicine. Doctors all over the country and citizens alike believe that its a scary move as would one really go to a doctor who has studied for six months where it actually takes about 8-11 years?   

This is the statement of the exact bill that was passed by Rajya Sabha: 

The Commission can grant a limited license to practice medicine at a mid-level. As a community health provider to people with the modern scientific medical profession and qualifies such criteria as will be specified by regulations. 

It further says, these community health providers may practice medicine in circumstances that will be specified by regulation. They may independently prescribe medication without the supervision of the doctor in primary and preventive healthcare.

The terms 'limited license'; 'mid-level' and 'circumstances' blurs the lines between the purpose of the bill. 

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In argument per se even if the authority is given to a compounder, pharmacist or homeopathic to prescribe medicines how are the government authorities going to ensure that they don't cross the 'limit' mentioned in the regulation? 

Currently, every single nook in the city will have a person who is not qualified as a doctor but is prescribing medicine. The citizens don't have any way to know its authenticity and they depend majorly on the effectiveness of the medication. With this law, these 'so-called' doctors can now legally do what they've been doing since long. 

The worst part about this is that we as citizens will not know the difference between a proper MBBS doctor who has done an internship, a residency and then became a surgeon and someone who has done a 6-month bridge course. 

The government has passed this regulation claiming that they're solving the problem that we do not have enough doctors but isn't the situation going to get worse as it will now legalise quackery? 

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