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Commission puts Registered Medical Practitioner Regulations, 2023 on hold

Commission puts Registered Medical Practitioner Regulations, 2023 on hold
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NEW DELHI: The National Medical Commission (NMC) on Thursday put on hold the regulations that make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe generic drugs and bar them from accepting gifts from pharma companies or endorsing any drug brands.

The Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023, were published on August 2.

Issuing a gazette notification on August 23, 2023, the NMC Ethics Board has clarified that the NMC RMP 2023 regulations will not be operative and effective till further Gazette Notification is issued by NMC.

"That for removal of doubts, it is clarified that Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, shall come into force with immediate effect," the notification by NMC said.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) had expressed concern over the regulations of the NMC making it mandatory to prescribe generic medicines saying it is not feasible because of the uncertainty about their quality.

They also suggested that registered medical practitioners should be allowed to attend conferences sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector.

The Indian Medical Association opposed the guidelines on generic drugs and a meeting was also held between Union Health Ministry officials and IMA representatives including President Dr Sharad Aggarwal demanding the deferring of regulations on generic drugs.

"IMA demands deferring of this Regulation for wider consultations by the Government of India and IMA also calls for serious and urgent intervention by Union Government and NMC in this regard,” the IMA said in a statement.

Further, the Commission has adopted the “Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002” and made it effective with immediate effect. The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 have also been made effective by NMC.

"IMA demands a foolproof system of quality assurance before switching over to Generic drugs. IMA had been demanding for a long that only good quality drugs should be made available in the country and prices should be uniform and affordable. IMA urges the Government to have 'one drug, one quality, one price' system whereby all brands should be either sold at the same price which should be controlled or banned, and only generics allowed while ensuring the highest quality of these drugs,” IMA said in a press release, adding that the present system will only put the huge dilemma in the minds of practitioners and cause unnecessary blaming of Medical Profession by the society. “The notification is an injustice to doctors who always hold the interest of their patients as non-negotiable,” it added.

"If the Government and NMC want all the Doctors in the country to prescribe only generic drugs, they should simply order all pharmaceutical companies to manufacture all the drugs without brand names (how simple!!, try to do it dear NMC/GOI). Then no one has to write a brand name,” it also said.

It further demands that NMC and the government should ensure quality generic drugs or accept responsibility if patients fail to respond to prescribed generics.

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