Ayurved doctors prescribing allopathy medicines is "illegal", top medical body said (Representational)
The ayurveda-versus-allopathy debate has taken a new turn with the Uttarakhand government deciding to allow ayurvedic doctors prescribe select allopathy medicines to patients in cases of emergencies.
Making the announcement on the sidelines of a programme to mark the International Day for Yoga at the Uttarakhand Ayurvedic University in Dehradun on Monday, state Ayush Minister Harak Singh Rawat said the decision was taken for the benefit of the people living in the state's remote hill areas, where the primary health centres mostly have ayurvedic doctors.
There are around 800 ayurvedic doctors in Uttarakhand and as many ayurvedic dispensaries, of which 90 per cent are located in the remote hilly areas, he said. The decision, which requires changes in the Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Chikitsa Adhiniyam, will help people living in the disaster and accident prone hill areas who are deprived of proper healthcare facilities, the minister said.
The announcement, however, has evoked a sharp reaction from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Uttarakhand, which termed it "illegal".
"It is illegal and falls into the category of mixopathy," Uttarakhand IMA Secretary Ajay Khanna said. "Mixopathy will only harm patients in an emergency. The Supreme Court and the high courts are very clear on this. Ayurvedic doctors cannot practise allopathy as they are not qualified for it," he said.
"How can ayurvedic doctors prescribe allopathy medicines without knowing about allopathy?" Mr Khanna asked.
But, Vice President of Bharatiya Chikitsa Parishad, Uttarakhand and senior physician JN Nautiyal welcomed the decision, saying 80 per cent of the state's population, which is deprived of healthcare facilities, is going to benefit immensely from it.
On the IMA's reaction to the announcement, JN Nautiyal said, "The IMA has double standards. Ayush doctors work in the ICUs and emergency wards of hospitals. The IMA has no problem with that. But now, when something is going to benefit such a large number of people in the hills, they have a problem."
The ayurveda-versus-allopathy debate began in the country last month when yoga guru Ramdev questioned the efficacy of allopathy drugs in the treatment of COVID-19, prompting the IMA's Uttarakhand unit to serve a defamation notice to the yoga exponent and demand a compensation of Rs 1,000 crore from him.