Govt set to bar homeopathy doctors from selling drugs
New Delhi: Homeopathy doctors will soon be barred from selling medicines from the premises they are practising in, according to new rules proposed by the government that are to be notified soon.
“No registered homeopathic medical practitioner who is practicing homeopathy in the premises where homeopathy medicines are sold, shall deal in homeopathic medicines,” according to the new draft rules.
The new rules were drafted following complaints that commercial interests were influencing the behaviour of homeopaths, two government officials privy to the development said.
“It was seen that various pharmacists had started to station a homeopath in their shop for consultations. Likewise, homeopathy practitioners other than dispensing their medicines to their patients had started selling them over the counter too. For better regulation of homeopathic medicines, this practice needed to end,” said one of the two officials cited above.
“Once notified, this will delink consultation and selling of medicines. Chemist shop is a commercial entity and the objective of this rule is to ensure that doctors only prescribe and not sell medicines,” said the official cited above, requesting anonymity.
Homeopath Kalyan Banerjee said that the new draft rules will come as a setback to doctors selling drugs.
“This will create a lot of problems for those doctors who sell medicines over the counter too,” Banerjee said.
According to one of the draft rules, chemists selling allopathic medicines will also be allowed to sell homeopathic medicines without the need to have a separate licence, as required now.
“These medicines shall be sold in the original sealed small quantity packing and they will have to be stored separately from allopathic drugs,” said the second of the two health ministry officials cited earlier.
The proposed rules also aim to weed out unqualified people from dispensing homeopathic medicines.
A person eligible to practice medicine with prescriptive rights should hold a degree in homeopathy from a recognized university or a degree in pharmacy from a recognized university or a bachelor’s degree with one year of experience in dealing with homeopathic medicines in the clinic of a registered homeopathic medical practitioner or with the holder of a licence in Form 20C or Form 20D (applications for retail are made under these forms) or diploma in homeopathic pharmacy or diploma in homeopathy and surgery.
R.K. Manchanda, co-chair of a sub-committee of the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Director General of Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH), said the new rules will help promote quality homeopathic medicines.
“The competent authorities have been defined in the new rules for dispensing homeopathic drugs, thereby preventing a host of complications caused by wrong dispensing. The homeopathic medicines will be available widespread in chemists shops as there will be no need to have an additional licence to keep homeopathic medicines as required as per the existing rules. Once the new rules come into effect, the homeopathic medicines will be readily available even in far-flung areas.”
Homoeopathic medicines are covered under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940. The new draft rules which were discussed in detail by the sub committee of DTAB before they were sent to law ministry for vetting will be notified by the ministry of health and family welfare.
To promote homeopathy, the new rules also do away with the need for a licence for exhibiting homeopathic drugs for promotional activities in any fair.
The manufacturers will also have to adhere to requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for obtaining a licence for manufacturing, which will remain valid for five years.