LAHORE: As many as 300 people have been detained in a crackdown against quacks and unregistered homeopathy and herbal medicine practitioners, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The operation had been underway for a while but the scope was limited to issuing of warnings only, said Healthcare Commission (HC) Licensing director Riaz Ahmed Chaudhry. He said the commission had started detaining quacks and unregistered practitioners following directives of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif last week.
“We have received several complaints about quacks running clinics across the province. The practice will not be tolerated anymore,” he said. Chaudhry said others detained in the crackdown included practitioners accused of malpractice and those yet to register themselves with the newly formed healthcare commission.
Chaudhry said registration with any federal authority would no longer suffice for homeopathy and herbal medicine experts to continue their practice. He said following the passage of the 18th amendment health sector governance had been devolved onto the provinces. The practitioners need to register themselves with the commission to continue their vocation, he said.
He said that so far 7,000 herbal medicine experts (hakeems) and 9,000 practitioners of homeopathy had registered themselves so far.
“We have carried advertisements about the new registration rules in all major newspapers,” he said.
In a press conference held three days ago, the Tahaffuz-i-Atibba Pakistan (Defence of Traditional Physicians) had condemned the provincial government for what it said was unjustified action against herbal medicine practitioners.
Hakeem Imran Lodhi said that considering herbal medicine practitioners were already registered with the federal government’s National Council for Tibb, there was no need for them to register with the provincial healthcare commission. Lodhi said the commission set up under a new constitution was not acceptable to the association. He demanded that the affairs of the provincial commission be governed under the constitution of National Council for Tibb.
Lodhi threatened that his association would call a province-wide strike if the provincial government did not stop registration of herbal medicine practitioners with the existing commission. He said that the commission’s officials were harassing practitioners during raids.
Health Department spokesperson Akhlaq Ali Khan dismissed the charge and said that action was being taken only against quacks and those accused of malpractice.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2016.