Hundreds of homeopathic and ayurvedic practitioners from across the country on Monday held a rally here in support of the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which they said would benefit poor patients in the rural and remote areas of the country.
Held under the banner of Swabhimaan rally, it was attended by professionals of the Indian System of Medicine (ISM).
"The NMC bill is believed to be a proof of the Central government's policies working for the poor. This will facilitate the patients living in rural and remote areas and they will be benefitted from the Centre's health promotion policy. After the passing of legislation, homeopathic doctors will get the right to write allopathic medicines," said a statement from Indian Homeopathic Association.
The NMC bill has provisions for granting permission to the doctors under Indian systems of medicine, including ayurveda, to be allowed to practice allopathy after clearing a bridge course.
According to the ISM doctors, doctors from homeopathic and ayurvedic streams have struggled a lot to get their demands fulfilled.
"The bridge course for all AYUSH doctors will be able to write allopathic medicines to patients once the NMC comes into existence," said a statement issued by the participants of the rally.
The ISM doctors said that the bill will provide special facilities to the people living in rural and remote areas, where allopathic medicines are not available, where patients have no money to go to allopathic doctors.
At a time when prices of allopathic drugs are on the rise, patients who are unable to bear the expenses can have the option of homeopathic doctors, they said.
"The move can be termed as pro-poor and will help both homeopathic doctors and people in long-term," said the participating doctors.
The NMC Bill, which was tabled in Parliament in December 2017, was protested by the allopathic doctors. The rally was to be addressed by Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda and AYUSH Minister Sripad Yesso Naik, however, none turned up.
As part of the protest, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had also called for a 12-hour countrywide shutdown of OPD services at all private hospitals in the country.
However, the strike was called off after the government agreed to send the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 to a select committee.