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Quacks under Medical Council of India’s scanner

April 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Quacks under MCI’s scanner

Kounteya Sinha, TNN | Apr 17, 2011, 05.39am IST

NEW DELHI: Medical Council of India (MCI) is preparing a maiden position paper on quackery and its menace in the medical profession.

MCI’s ethics committee, which is working on the draft paper, will submit it to its board of governors in the first week of May after its committee meeting. Once approved, it will be sent to the Union health ministry.

Ethics committee chief, Dr Arun Bal, said, the ministry doesn’t have a formal policy on quacks, even though it is a serious problem.

“Allopathic doctors don’t go and work in rural areas. Therefore, traditional medicine practitioners have a huge market there. Locals also have tremendous faith in these quacks, most of whom have no training in medicine. They promise the world to a patient, at times for even incurable diseases like HIV,” Dr Bal said.

He, however, clarified that MCI is not empowered to take action against quacks since it is beyond its jurisdiction.

“MCI can only punish allopathic doctors. Our paper will help the ministry formulate suitable action,” Dr Bal said.

MCI board of governors chairman Dr S K Sarin told TOI, “our paper will help the ministry better prepare an anti-quackery bill.”

MCI is looking at all aspects of quackery, including those using ayurvedic or alternative medicine to cure patients without any formal training or qualification.

“In states and sub-metros, quackery is a major problem. There are some problems that fan quackery, too. Essential modern drugs don’t reach villages, and MBBS doctors also avoid working in remote areas. Even if allopathic drugs are available, many cannot afford them. That’s why, most villagers prefer to visit quacks,” Dr Bal explained.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), in some Asian countries 80% of the population depends on traditional medicine. Counterfeit, poor quality or adulterated herbal products are serious safety threats to patients.

As per a study, conducted by Association of Medical Consultants ( AMC) in 2009, there are around 2.5 million quacks in India. Delhi and Mumbai have around 40,000 and 20,000 quacks, respectively. Some experts claim that the number of quacks in India far outnumbers allopathic doctors.

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