National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines for Registered Medical Practitioners

National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines for Registered Medical Practitioners

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “ National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines for Registered Medical Practitioners ”. The topic “ National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines for Registered Medical Practitioners ” has relevance in the Social Justice section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

About the National Medical Commission (NMC)?

About Generic Drugs?

For Mains:

GS 2: Social Justice

About National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines for Registered Medical Practitioners?

Issues with the NMC Guidelines?

Way forward?

Why in the news:

In recent developments, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has introduced fresh guidelines pertaining to the professional conduct expected from medical practitioners.

National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines for Registered Medical Practitioners:

Social Media Usage Guidelines

 Doctors in India now have specific guidelines to follow when utilizing social media platforms for professional purposes. These guidelines are designed to ensure responsible and ethical behavior among medical professionals in the online space. Key points include:

  • Doctors are permitted to share accurate and verifiable information on social media platforms, but they must avoid disseminating misleading or false content.
  • A strict prohibition is in place against discussing patient-specific treatment details, sharing patient scans, and endorsing patient testimonials on social media.
  • Doctors are not allowed to share patient images, videos, or any content that could potentially breach patient confidentiality.
  • Solicitation of patients directly or indirectly through social media platforms is strictly prohibited, maintaining professionalism and patient privacy.


Right to Refuse Treatment

The NMC guidelines clarify the circumstances under which doctors can refuse to provide medical treatment. Key points include:

  • Doctors have the right to refuse treatment to patients and their relatives who exhibit abusive, unruly, or violent behavior, ensuring a safe environment for both medical professionals and patients.
  • Medical practitioners are allowed to deny treatment to patients who cannot afford it, except in cases of medical emergencies where treatment must be administered promptly to ensure patient well-being.
  • Discrimination based on factors such as gender, race, religion, caste, or social status is strictly prohibited, emphasizing the importance of providing equal and unbiased medical care to all patients.


Prescription and Medication Guidelines: 

The NMC guidelines address prescription practices and medication recommendations for doctors. Key points include:

  • Doctors are required to write prescriptions in clear and legible capital letters, reducing the risk of errors in medication administration.
  • The guidelines encourage the prescription of generic medicines, promoting cost-effective healthcare and accessibility for patients. However, exceptions are allowed for specific cases.
  • The judicious use of fixed-dose combinations is advised, with doctors limited to prescribing approved combinations only.
  • Doctors are encouraged to educate patients about the equivalence of generic and branded medicines, empowering them to make informed decisions about their healthcare.


Continuous Professional Development (CPD): 

The NMC guidelines emphasize the importance of continuous learning and professional development for doctors. Key points include:

  • Medical professionals are required to engage in ongoing learning activities throughout their active years to stay updated with the latest medical advancements and practices.
  • Doctors are mandated to earn a minimum of 30 credit points in their relevant fields every five years as part of their CPD requirements.
  • Annual CPD sessions are recommended, with a maximum of 50% of these sessions being conducted online. This ensures doctors are exposed to a wide range of educational opportunities.


Conference Participation Guidelines:

 The NMC guidelines outline the expectations for doctors’ participation in conferences and other educational events. Key points include:

  • CPD sessions and conferences must not be sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry to ensure unbiased and evidence-based education.
  • Medical practitioners are advised to refrain from participating in third-party educational activities that are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, safeguarding the integrity of medical education.
  • Acceptance of gifts, hospitality, cash, or grants from pharmaceutical companies is strictly prohibited, preventing any potential conflicts of interest.
  • The guidelines also prohibit doctors from accepting commissions for referrals or endorsements from diagnostic centers and medical equipment providers.


About the National Medical Commission (NMC): 

The NMC is a significant regulatory body in India’s medical landscape. Key details include:

  • The NMC was established in 2019, replacing the previous regulatory body, the Medical Council of India (MCI).
  • Functioning under the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, the NMC oversees and regulates medical education standards in India.
  • Its mission includes ensuring the availability of competent medical professionals across the country, promoting equitable healthcare, fostering medical research, and upholding high ethical standards.
  • The NMC has the authority to regulate fees for medical courses and conducts inspections of medical colleges to ensure adherence to prescribed standards.


About Generic Drugs:

  • Generic medications have identical active ingredients to brand-name drugs, resulting in the same therapeutic effects.
  • They match the brand-name drug in aspects such as dosing, safety, strength, quality, administration, and usage instructions.
  • This equivalence establishes bioequivalence, indicating that generic drugs work similarly and offer comparable clinical benefits to their brand-name counterparts.
  • Both generic and brand-name drugs carry equivalent risks and benefits.
  • The marketing of a generic drug is permissible only after the expiration of the patent of the brand-name drug.
  • Generic drugs are commonly priced much lower than their brand-name equivalents.


Issues with the NMC Guidelines: 

Generic Medicine Prescription: Doctors have expressed significant concerns regarding the guidelines related to generic medicine prescription. Key issues include:

  • Quality and Efficacy: Doctors worry about the quality and effectiveness of generic drugs available in India. They point out that the lack of standardization and regulation of generic drugs has led to the presence of substandard, spurious, or counterfeit medications in the market.
  • Testing and Regulation: According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), a mere 0.1% of drugs manufactured in India are tested for quality. Doctors argue that prescribing generic drugs without ensuring their quality and safety can compromise patient care and outcomes, thereby exposing patients to legal and ethical risks.
  • Monitoring Adverse Effects: The absence of a mechanism to monitor adverse effects or drug interactions of generic drugs in India raises concerns among doctors about patient safety. 
  • Limiting Brand-Specific Prescription: The new guidelines prohibit doctors from prescribing a specific brand of medication, allowing patients to receive any medicine with the relevant active ingredient available in the pharmacist’s stocks. This limitation could potentially impact treatment efficacy and patient outcomes.
  • Nexus and Quality Control: Doctors allege the existence of a nexus between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and regulators that enables substandard and spurious drugs to enter the market. 


Other Issues

  • CPD Burden: The mandatory requirement for doctors to accumulate credit points through Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions is seen as an additional burden. This might strain doctors’ time and resources, affecting their ability to provide optimal patient care.
  • Limited CPD Opportunities: There’s a concern about the limited availability of recognized continuous training courses to meet CPD requirements, potentially hindering doctors’ professional development.
  • Impact of Sponsorship Ban: The prohibition of pharmaceutical industry sponsorships for educational activities could lead to reduced educational sessions and hinder doctors’ exposure to the latest medical advancements and research.
  • Administrative Burden: Doctors are apprehensive about an increased administrative burden resulting from adherence to the comprehensive guidelines, potentially diverting their focus from patient care.
  • Refusal of Treatment: The guidelines’ ambiguity in delineating situations where doctors can ethically refuse treatment creates challenges in making appropriate decisions while upholding ethical standards.
  • Payment-Based Refusal Concerns: Legal and ethical concerns arise from doctors refusing treatment based on patients’ ability to pay. This raises questions about equal access to medical care.


Way Forward: 

  • Enhancing Generic Drug Quality: To ensure the quality and safety of generic drugs, measures such as establishing more testing labs, conducting regular inspections, imposing strict penalties for substandard drugs, and creating a national database for drug quality need to be implemented.
  • Education: Educate doctors and patients about the advantages and drawbacks of generic drugs using scientific evidence, dispelling myths, and promoting rational medication practices.
  • CPD Enhancement: Encourage medical institutions and professional bodies to organize diverse CPD sessions that cover a wide spectrum of medical advancements, enabling doctors to stay updated and maintain high standards of care.
  • Collaborative Discussions: Facilitate open discussions and consultations between the NMC, medical practitioners, pharmaceutical industry representatives, and patient advocacy groups.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Establish platforms for ongoing feedback and suggestions, allowing for the refinement and adaptation of guidelines to address emerging challenges while ensuring ethical patient care.


Conclusion: While the NMC guidelines aim to advance medical practice and education, the issues raised by doctors underscore the complexity of implementing such comprehensive regulations. Addressing these concerns requires a multi-pronged approach, involving regulatory improvements, educational initiatives, and collaborative efforts to strike a balance between ethical conduct and practical considerations in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape.



plutus ias current affairs eng med 21 August 2023


Q.1 With reference to the National Medical Commission (NMC)  recently seen in news, consider the following statements:

  1. The NMC replaced the previous regulatory body, the Medical Council of India (MCI)
  2. The NMC operates under the framework of the National Medical Commission Act, 2019.
  3. The NMC is empowered to regulate the fees for medical courses.

How many of the above statement/s is/are correct? 

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) All three 

(d) None




Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Generic Drugs:

  1. Generic drugs may have a different active ingredient than the brand-name drug but produce the same therapeutic effect.
  2. Generic drugs demonstrate bioequivalence to  the brand-name drug.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2





Q.3 Discuss the challenges and concerns raised by medical practitioners regarding the National Medical Commission (NMC) Guidelines in India. Analyze the issues related to generic medicine prescription

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