The allegation by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) that ayurveda practitioners are prescribing allopathic medicines has drawn loud protests from the Ayurveda Medical Association of India.

Refuting the charge, the association's representatives claimed that “a majority of quacks prescribe ayurvedic drugs.”

V.G. Udayakumar, State general secretary; Mohandas, Kozhikode district president; Manoj Kaloor and P.C. Manoj Kumar, members of the State committee of the Ayurveda Medical Association of India, said at a press conference here on Wednesday nearly 70,000 people were practising ayurveda under the guise of practising indigenous systems of medicine.

There were also many who were practising ayurveda with the support of spurious certificates.

The association leaders alleged that despite their protests, governments in power at different times had encouraged medical practice by quacks who posed as practitioners of indigenous medicine.

“Though the Ayurveda Medical Association of India had raised this issue many times, the IMA had never taken it up as a serious matter that concerned public health; it is unfair to blame homoeopathy and ayurveda for the sole reason that a few quacks with fake degrees in homoeopathy and ayurveda had been found prescribing allopathic medicines,” they said.

It was in Kerala that ayurveda was being practised in its pure and scientific form; the campaign that ayurvedic physicians were prescribing allopathic drugs would spoil the credibility and reputation of ayurveda, they said.

They said that in the 1950s, the State government had introduced an integrated course comprising ayurveda and allopathy; it had led to emergence of a group of doctors who practised both systems of medicines.

“But this integrated course no longer exists. Now, updated courses in ayurveda are being taught at degree and postgraduate levels. This has given a new confidence to ayurveda physicians. Now patients do not go even to MBBS doctors but to specialists in allopathic medicines. And when their medicines fail they seek the help of ayurvedic doctors….in such a situation no patient would accept allopathic medicines prescribed by ayurveda doctors… that is why the charge that ayurveda doctors are prescribing allopathic drugs is baseless,” they said.