Indian students pursuing bachelors in Science in Philippines ineligible for MBBS

NEW DELHI: The National Medical Council (NMC) has said Indian students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Science in the Philippines will be ineligible for MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) in India, potentially spelling the end of dreams of a medical career for thousands.

Recently, the top medical education regulator received representations from medical students pursuing the course in the Philippines, seeking an exemption to practice medicine in India. According to NMC, Bachelor of Science is a pre-medical course in the Philippines and comprises subjects such as biology and psychology, similar to class 11th and 12th subjects in India. Subjects such as anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics, and microbiology are not being taught under the degree in the Philippines, but these are required to make a student eligible for MBBS in India, according to NMC.

The Philippines offers two separate courses – Bachelor of Science and MD (Doctor of Medicine) course to medical aspirants. Every year, thousands of budding medicals students from India fly to island nation to study medicine.

“This is for those students who have applied for medical education in the Philippines specifically for BS course, prior to FMGL (Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate) Regulations 2021. These students cannot practice MBBS in India. Whereas, students who have taken admission in MD course in the Philippines prior to the FMGL Regulations 2021 can be considered subject to fulfilling other prevailing eligibility criteria for registration,” said Dr. Mahesh Verma, member, NMC.

Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate (FMGL) Regulations, 2021, came into force on 18 November. It sets the criteria to recognize foreign medical graduates applying for licence or permanent registration to practice MBBS in India. It explains the guiding principle for licencing a foreign medical graduate to practice in India and to ensure that the Foreign Medical Graduate fulfils the requirements of education and training equivalent or commensurate with that of an Indian medical graduate.

“BS is a pre-medical course in Philippines and after the completion of which the candidates have to appear for NMAT examination to seek admission in MD Course (Graduate/Primary medical course being equivalent to MBBS course in India) which is of four-year duration,” according to NMC notice reviewed by Mint.

“The pattern is BS Course followed by MD course, however, in BS course the candidates are not taught like subjects like Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Microbiology etc, rather they are being taught Biology, Psychology etc which is equivalent to class 12th in India. Hence, BS course is a basic degree course prior to the starting of graduate/primary medical course in reference to Indian medical education. The same dose not even qualify a candidate to be eligible for admission in MBBS in India,” the notice stated.

In India, Graduate Medical Education Regulations 1997 prescribes that candidate must clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) to become eligible for admission in MBBS course provided the candidate must have studied Biology, Chemistry and Physics in class 11 and 12.

“Regulations were not made/directed to any particular country but to be universally applicable for all Foreign Medical Graduates, with sole objective of maintaining high standard of education and qualify doctors in India,” the notice said.

“NMC, being the regulatory authority always endeavors to improve the quality of medical education and healthcare system in India and provides equal and fair opportunity for individuals who aspire to study medicine and therefore, practice medicine in India. However, practicing medicine involves the risk of human life and the commission cannot compromise with the high standard and quality of medical education in India,” the notice added.

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