Government to bar homeopathic doctors from selling medicines

Noted homeopath Dr Kalyan Banerjee said the new draft rules will come as a huge setback for doctors selling drugs.

Homeopathic doctors will soon be barred from selling medicines from the premises they are practising, according to new rules proposed by the government that are to be notified soon.

“No registered homeopathic medical practitioner who is practising 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 behaviour of homeopaths, 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 an official in the Ayush ministry, one of the people 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.

Noted homeopath Dr Kalyan Banerjee said the new draft rules will come as a huge setback for doctors selling drugs. “This will create a lot of problems for those doctors who sell medicines over the counter too.”

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 a health ministry official.

The proposed rules also aim to weed out non-qualified people from dispensing homeopathic medicines. A person eligible to practice medicine with prescriptive rights should hold a degree in homeopathy from a recognised university or a degree in pharmacy from the recognised university or Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university with one year experience in dealing with homeopathic medicines in the clinic of a registered homeopathic medical practitioner or with the holder of a license 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.

Dr RK Manchanda, co-chair of sub committee of Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Director General of Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH), said that 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 license 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 & Cosmetic Act, 1940. The new draft rules which were deliberated 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.

“The draft rules have been vetted by the ministry of law and the notification to this effect will come out soon,” said another government official from the health ministry.

To promote homeopathy, the new rules also do away the need for license for exhibiting homeopathic drugs in any fair. The manufacturers will also have to adhere to requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) of homeopathy drugs for obtaining license for manufacturing which will remain valid for five years.