Homeopathy Act to be overhauled

Curbing powers of Council, stopping registration of quacks the
By Nadia Fazlulhaq

The Indigenous Medicine Ministry is to introduce a new Homeopathy Act this year with the aim of bringing to a halt the registration of quacks and controlling the monopolistic nature of the Homeopathic Medical Council.

“The Homeopathic Medical Council and some professionals in the field of Homeopathy are having problems. The council is acting in a dictatorial manner and the ministry is hoping to look into it very soon. We have been informed that the council has taken many decisions without consulting the ministry,” Minister Tissa Karaliyadde told The Sunday Times.

He said it is hoped to draft a new Act as the one passed in 1970 was out-dated and it would be fair by both parties who are in conflict now.

The Minister said that what steps should be taken as a result of the cancellation of the controversial examination which led to the crisis has not been decided yet and added a decision would be taken after the ministry looks into it.

Two weeks ago a half hour exam was held by the Homeopathic Council for applicants who had not gone through a full time four-year course in a medical college but had been able to obtain a certificate from an official such as a grama niladhari to the effect that the applicant had experience of not less than 10 years.

“This is basically a way of earning a lot of money by way of examination fees. The council has introduced some courses not knowing that homeopathy requires much study. Awarding a doctorate for passing a half hour multiple choice exam is not fair by qualified persons,” said a senior professional in the homeopathic field.

He said that today the council is encouraging registration of quacks with most of the recently registered persons being illegal doctors adding that the majority of practitioners are not qualified and the council itself lacking qualified persons.

Denying the allegations Homeopathic Council president Dr. S.D.P. Perera told The Sunday Times that the exams were held only to award temporary registrations and after following a four-year course conducted by a college established by the Homeopathic Council permanent registration would be given to those who passed the exams well.

He also denied that the institute awards doctorates and said that the council was hoping to take action against an acupuncture institute that awarded doctorates and had been continuing to award doctorates to many famous personalities.

In Sri Lanka only 135 homeopathic practitioners are available and 40 are institutionally qualified and have undergone a four-year full time course in a medical college.

Unfortunately full-time courses are not available in Sri Lanka. Therefore students have to obtain the qualification from a medical college in India, Great Britain, France, Pakistan or Germany.

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