The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has opposed the move by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) to authorise candidates receiving the Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm D) from recognised universities to use the ‘Dr.’ prefix.
“As this title reflects entitlement and identity, IMA is against all such shift from those who are trained in other streams of health sector to venture into medical practice. Such illegitimate conferment cannot become entitlements, just [as] in case if an advocate or an engineer should be called doctor by an executive order. Such social anarchy only creates confusion in the minds of common man and the impact it has on the structure of a well organized society is clearly evident,” the Association noted in its statement.
Aspiration in any course needs to be legitimate and appropriate to be recognised, said the IMA, adding that the roles and responsibilities of nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists and others in the field of healthcare are irreplaceable and are in accordance with their entitlement.
“A pharmacist by any other name will remain a pharmacist. Indirect entitlement to practice modern medicine on human beings by the coloured exercise of power by bodies created for a limited purpose is unacceptable. Transgressions of entitlement are illegal and illegitimate,” said Dr. Santanu Sen, National President, IMA.
He added that the rules and regulations governing the practice of modern medicine are settled positions of law in India.
“The IMA has the duty and privilege to defend the rights of medical graduates. The IMA has written to the Union Health Ministry and the MCI on the inappropriateness of the announcement by the Pharmacy Council. The IMA demands that the Government of India use its authority and settle the issue as per the law of the land. It also urges the Pharmacy Council to take back the unlawful order. The entitlement of a medical graduate comes out of merit and the nature of the course. The whole purpose of the exam is diluted by adding other medical streams,” said Dr. R.V. Asokan, Honorary Secretary General, IMA.