Following up on a High Court order issued earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu police, on Thursday night, launched a State-wide crackdown on those practising allopathy without a formal degree in medicine. Over 170 persons were arrested.
The court, in its order, had instructed the Indian Medical Association to furnish the names of persons practising medicine without a valid licence. The association had provided a list of 2,000 such persons throughout Tamil Nadu on June 2 to the Health department, the State DGP and the ADGP and the Chennai City Police Commissioner.
According to the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) K. Radhakrishnan, more than 170 persons posing as ‘qualified medical practitioners' and practising allopathy were arrested across the State. “There are two kinds of quacks: those having no degree and those holding some degree or certificate in Siddha or homeopathy [but practising allopathy]. In the southern districts alone, 75 persons were taken into custody till Friday evening. The numbers are set to increase as more arrests are likely on Friday night,” he said.
In Chennai, Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran said special teams formed to apprehend quacks arrested four persons in Tiruvottiyur. Personnel of St. Thomas Mount police district arrested nine quacks on Friday morning. V. Varadharaju, Deputy Commissioner, St. Thomas Mount, said raids were conducted in the jurisdiction of Tambaram, Shankar Nagar, Pallavaram and Pazhavanthangal police stations.
Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj, said the raids would continue throughout the State. Information had been sent to all District Collectors to come down on quackery. As prescribed in the IMA and Tamil Nadu Medical Council's Code of Ethics, all registered practitioners are mandated to display their registration information prominently in their clinics or hospitals.
IMA Secretary T.N. Ravisankar said the association hopes that the drive would be conducted at periodic intervals to prevent quacks from endangering the lives of patients. The IMA members would update the government constantly with information about the whereabouts of quacks. He reiterated the demand for an Anti-quackery Act to bring a permanent solution to the problem and wanted punitive action made more severe.