Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has opposed the Pharmacy Council of India’s order to universities to use the prefix ‘doctor’ (Dr) while awarding degrees to Pharm D graduates. The IMA has cautioned against the move by those who are trained in other streams of health sector to venture into medical practice.
IMA honorary secretary-general Dr R.V. Asokan said that titles reflect entitlement and identity. “Can an advocate or an engineer be called doctor by an executive order?” he asked.
“The cut-off marks in NEET for government seats are 497 out of 700. Most of the students of science stream who scored less settle for non-medical courses. The entitlement to a medical graduate comes out of merit and the nature of the course. How can it be diluted by adding other non-medical streams? Then the whole purpose of NEET is lost,” he said.
The IMA has the duty and privilege to defend the rights of medical graduates. It has written to the Union Health Ministry and MCI on the inappropriateness of the announcement by the Pharmacy Council and said that the central government must use its authority and settle the issue as per the law of the land. The IMA also urged the Pharmacy Council to withdraw the unlawful order, said Dr Asokan.
The Supreme Court in the judgments in the Poonam Verma versus Aswin Patel and Dr. Muktiar Chand and others versus State of Punjab and Medical Council of India and another versus State of Rajasthan has held that only a person holding a registration with the Medical Council of India or the state medical councils is entitled to practise modern system of medicine. As per the judgments and the rulings stated above, pharmacists cannot use the prefix ‘Dr’ with their names. They can work only under medical supervision and in any case cannot be the first contact person for an illness, he said.