February 27, 2010

High court warns against use of ‘Dr’ without valid medical degree

Putting a pause to the tug-of-war between physicians and physiotherapists over the use of the prefix ‘Dr,’ the Madras High Court has asked the authorities to take action against persons who use the prefix in their prescriptions and advertisements without a valid medical degree.

Passing orders on a writ petition filed by the Indian Medical Association’s Quackery Eradication Committee, the first bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice KK Sasidharan said the IMA must furnish details of people prescribing allopathic medicines and administering allopathic treatment and using the prefix ‘Dr’ to the authorities.

The IMA wanted the court to consider its two representations to the government, and to initiate criminal prosecution against paramedical technicians, practitioners and physiotherapists who prescribed allopathic medicine and used the prefix ‘Doctor (Dr).’

The government pleader assured the court that the authorities would take necessary action in accordance with law.

The state government had passed an order last year that a physiotherapist cannot use the prefix ‘Dr’ and should not prescribe drugs. However, paramedics and physiotherapists have been maintaining that the use of the prefix ‘Dr’ is more a matter of courtesy rather than adherence to law.

Referring to a similar petition filed in the court by IMA a few weeks ago, the first bench said that on January 5 the court had asked the petitioner to furnish the names of persons who are practising medicine without any valid licence. The court also asked the authorities to take stringent action such persons on receiving any information.

Link: Original Article

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