The National Medical Commission (NMC) on Thursday, 24 August, notified that they have decided to defer the latest guidelines on medical ethics that were issued earlier this month.
What made the NMC put a hold on it? Why were the new guidelines opposed by the Indian Medical Association? Read on to find out.
New developments: The notification put out by the NMC on 24 August says that the National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations 2023, released on 2 August, are "hereby held in abeyance with immediate effect."
The NMC adds that the provisions of the regulation will not be operative until it is officially notified.
In the meantime, registered medical practitioners will have to follow the rules and regulations notified in the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.
Leading up to it: Just a few days prior to this, on 21 August, the Indian Medical Association had released a statement saying that a delegation from the IMA had met up with Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya to persuade the government to rethink the new guidelines, particularly the clause that makes it mandatory for RMPs to prescribe generic drugs.
Rewind: The guidelines, released on 2 August, caused an uproar among medical practitioners, with the country’s largest doctors’ body, Indian Medical Association (IMA), vocally opposing it.
The controversial clause in the proposed guidelines read:
“Prescribing Generic Medicines: Every RMP should prescribe drugs using generic names written legibly and prescribe drugs rationally, avoiding unnecessary medications and irrational fixed-dose combination tablets. (L1 and/or L2) (Generic Drugs and Prescription guidelines).”
What they said: Some experts who vehemently opposed the new guidelines called it 'confusing', and 'irrational'.
Speaking to FIT for a previous article, Dr Aishwarya Yadav, General Secretary, IMA-JDN, Maharashtra, said that the reason the IMA has taken out an official statement against the guidelines is so that it doesn't create fear and imbalance in the medical community.
"We feel its better to raise voice now before it becomes a mandate," she had said.
What next: The IMA and the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) called the NMC's decision to suspend the new guidelines a 'big win'.
Further clarification is awaited on whether amendments will be made to the 2023 guidelines on ethics for RMPs and its implementation.