Cabinet cleared a amendment In National Medical Commission Bill which will allow Mid Level Health Cadre like Pharmacists, Specifically trained nurses, optometrist etc to prescribe certain drugs for primary and preventive healthcare. The move aims to increase the reach of affordable primary healthcare to rural areas.
In earlier draft bill there was a provision to allow AYUSH practitioners prescribe some medicines after they take bridge course. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health rejected this provision since it will mix the therapies and cause harm to alternative medicines system, so it was removed in march 2018 amendment .
Proposed Amendment Major Points
1. New amendment coins a new term, “mid-level medical practitioners”, who will get limited licence from the NMC to practice medicine. This will be added to official amendments done in march 2018.
2. Those who qualify as mid-level medical practitioners include non-MBBS medical professionals such as pharmacists, a nursing practitioner who has done a specific nursing course like tertiary nursing care; physician assistants, optometrists, among others.
3. Mid-level medical practitioners will get limited licence to practise specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare settings and in other settings under the supervision of a medical doctor. Settings will be specified by the NMC.
4. There’s a provision to maintain two registers by the Board of Ethics under the NMC, one register of licensed MBBS doctors and the other of specified mid-level medical practitioners with limited medicine prescription and practising licence.
It should be noted that pharmacy practice rules 2015 already allow pharmacists to consult the patients and charge for the same . But it does not involve prescribing the medicines.
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