Integrated Med Practitioners Question Veracity Of ‘MCI’ Letter
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14 October 2010
By Vishwas Kothari
Matter Is Being Examined By Ethics Panel: MCI Joint Secy
The National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA), a body of ayurveda and unani practitioners in the country, is up in arms over a letter purportedly written by the Medical Council of India (MCI) seeking action under the anti–quackery provisions against doctors, who offer integrated medicine. Integrated medicine combines the Indian system of medicine (ISM) with modern allopathy in the treatment of patients.
The association has challenged the veracity of the letter on the grounds that it is full of factual as well as grammatical errors. "It (the letter) appears to be a case of gross misuse of the MCI letterhead by elements opposed to ISM," NIMA secretary general V D Tembhurnikar told TOI on Wednesday.
The letter, dated August 10, is purportedly signed by MCI secretary Lt Col (Retd) A R N Setalvad and is addressed to the health secretaries, health directors, district magistrates and superintendent of police of all the states. Among other things, it refers to doctors offering integrated medicine as "quacks" and calls for a check on them by way of steps like enlisting such medical practitioners, checking their qualifications, status of enrolment for practice of medical profession, etc.
"What is a matter of greater concern for us is that the administration in certain districts like Solapur, Beed, Parbhani and Hingoli have started acting on the basis of this dubious letter without verifying whether it has indeed been issued by the MCI," said Tembhurnikar. Similar action has also been reported by members from other states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, among others, he added. "We also want to know whether the MCI has the authority to issue such directives when ISM practitioners are regulated by the Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM)."
Tembhurnikar said, "The telephone numbers on the letterhead are wrong; the signature does not match that of Setalvad’s, the MCI website does not carry a post on such a letter. Moreover, Setalvad has been on mandatory leave since May and couldn’t have issued the letter."
NIMA, which has close to 7 lakh ayurveda and unani practitioners enrolled with the respective state councils of Indian medicine, has taken up the issue with the CCIM and the MCI.
When contacted, MCI joint secretary Prasanna Raj acknowledged the issue and said, "The matter of the letter cited by NIMA has been referred to the MCI’s ethics committee. Let the committee find out the complete truth before we take any action on the matter."
Member of CCIM, Suhas Parchure, said, "We have taken up the issue with the MCI authorities considering the problems it has been causing to the ISM doctors in various parts of the country."
ISM doctors are institutionally qualified graduates and post–graduates trained in all branches of medicine. The practice is well supported by government resolutions (GRs) issued in 1992 and 1999 under the acts government by the central and the state councils, he said.
The NIMA executive committee is to hold a meeting on October 24 at Nanded to take a call on whether to lodge a criminal plaint with the police seeking establishment of veracity of the letter. "We have already met the MCI joint secretary and apprised him of the problem," NIMA vice–president Mandar Ranade said. "The MCI has assured us of appropriate action," he added.