IMA opposes Ayurveda practitioners doing surgery, gets defamation notice in return
New Delhi: Opposing the recent amendment of the Indian Medicine Central Council Regulations, 2016, by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), allowing Post Graduate Ayurveda (PG Ayurveda) students to perform a variety of general surgery, including orthopedic, ophthalmology, ENT and dental, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded the withdrawal of the order and delineation of the Indian medicine disciplines based on original Indian texts.
However, the Association was soon issued a defamation notice by an Ayurveda doctor for its allegedly derogatory remarks against AYUSH remedies for the Covid-19 management and equating Ayurveda drugs to placebo.
The entire controversy came into being after the Government released a gazette notification dated November 20, wherein, the CCIM amended the Indian Medicine Central Council Regulations, 2016 to introduce formal training and practice of surgeries to the PG students of Ayurveda. The students would receive training in 'shalya' (general surgery) and 'shalakya' (diseases of ear, nose, throat, eye, head, oro-dentistry) specializations. It will make them legally valid to perform procedures such as skin grafting, cataract surgery and root canal treatment.
"During the period of study, the PG scholar of Shalya and Shalakya shall be practically trained to acquaint (themselves) with as well aa independently perform the following activities so that after completion of his PG degree, he is able to perform the following procedures (list of the procedures) independently," the gazette notification stated.
The latest move by the Centre is an addition to the host of decisions taken amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which shows an impending paradigm shift in healthcare from modern medicine to the traditional form.
However, the move by the Centre was strongly resisted by the Association. The IMA demanded that the government should refrain from posting any modern medicine doctor in the colleges of Indian medicine, stating that it saw this move as a retrograde step of mixing the systems, which "will be resisted at all costs".
It lambasted the CCIM saying that the council has the dubious reputation of prescribing modern medicine textbooks to its students. "All over India, students and practitioners of modern medicine are agitated over this violation of mutual identity and respect," it added.
On Saturday, the IMA, through a press release, urged the CCIM to develop its own surgical disciplines from its own ancient texts and not claim the surgical disciplines of modern medicine as its own.
"We unequivocally condemn the uncivil ways of the Central Council of Indian Medicine to arrogate itself to vivisect modern medicine and empower its practitioners with undeserving areas of practice. The said council has come out with a gazette notification of a list of surgical procedures which can be performed by its practitioners. They have no right to the technical terms, techniques and procedures of modern medicine. IMA draws the 'Lakshman Rekha' which they can cross at their peril," the IMA said.
"What is the sanctity of the NEET if such lateral shortcuts are devised? IMA demands to withdraw the order and first delineate the Indian Medicine disciplines based on original Indian Medicine texts. The CCIM has the dubious reputation of prescribing modern medicine text books to its students. IMA exhorts the CCIM to develop its own surgical disciplines from its own ancient texts and not claim the surgical disciplines of modern medicine as its own. Such a deviant practice is unbecoming of a statutory body," the IMA added. Besides, the IMA also informed that it has asked its members and the medical fraternity not to teach disciplines of modern medicine to the students of other systems. "IMA will resist all efforts to mix systems. Let every system grow on its own strength and purity," it added.
Rajan Sharma, President, IMA, had earlier stated that an integrative system of medicine would create a "khichdi medical system" and would produce hybrid doctors.
The apex body of private practitioners of modern medicine had also condemned the Centre's ambitious 'one nation one system' policy in medical education and called it a 'cocktail of disaster'.
However, taking note of the Association's criticism, an Ayurvedic physician and teacher of Indian medicine has now served a legal notice upon Association (IMA) for its allegedly derogatory remarks against AYUSH remedies for the Covid-19 management and equating Ayurveda drugs to placebo.
The notice on behalf of Vaidya Prashant Tiwari cites a 'National Clinical Management Protocol' (Protocol) issued by the Union Health Ministry based on AYUSH and Yoga for management of Covid-19. The notice, which has been sent through advocate Archana Pathak Dave, accuses IMA of making comments without studying the reports qua the scientific rationale and the clinical studies made available in the public domain.
The notice said the IMA allegedly made statements to malign the reputation of the Indian medicine with the intention to create disbelief against the AYUSH method of treatment and their practitioners, which caused grave reputational and financial loss.
Tiwari told the Ministry of AYUSH in this protocol, enumerated in detail the general and physical measures, dietary measures, and clinical measures for prevention and treatment of asymptomatic and mild Covid patients.
"It is quite evident from your conduct that your action of making uninformed defamatory allegations against AYUSH system of Medicine was an intentional and deliberate attempt to cause loss of goodwill and reputation to the AYUSH Institutions and the practitioners thereof," said the notice, charging the IMA with maligning the effectiveness of the Indian medicine, without studying the research done prior to launching the protocol.
The notice emphasized the protocol was issued after extensive research by numerous practitioners and the researchers of the AYUSH medicine and the All India Institute of Ayurveda, using these protocols, have treated several Covid-19 patients.
Taking exception to the IMA's statement for equating AYUSH medicine as a placebo, the notice said it has gone on to accuse the health minister of inflicting fraud upon the public by issuing this protocol for prevention and cure of Covid-19.
The notice has cited the media interaction and press statements by the president and secretary-general of the IMA, where it made an irresponsible, defamatory, false, and misleading statement, with the intention to cause disbelief against the Indian medicine system in the minds of the public.
As per IANS, emphasizing these allegations has harmed the reputation of AYUSH medicine, Tiwari asked the IMA to publish an unconditional apology to AYUSH practitioners and withdraw its press release questioning the government's protocol. The notice warns that the IMA will face legal action if these conditions are not satisfied.