The National Medical Commission (NMC) has stated that the BS course in the Philippines cannot be equated with the MBBS course in India.
In a March 25 communication, the commission said a group of medical students taking the course in that country had submitted representations ahead of the release of regulations for licensing foreign medical graduates in 2021. They had requested an exemption or a special dispensation for the courses. However, upon review, it was found that bachelor’s and medical courses were separate degrees in the Philippines.
About 10,000 Indian students study medicine in the Philippines.
The commission stated that the BS course is a Bachelor of Science course for candidates wishing to take courses in the field of science and research. This includes subjects in biology similar to classes XI and XII in India. This is a pre-medical course, after which applicants will be required to pass a management aptitude test to apply for admission to the four-year MD course, which is equivalent to MBBS.
In the BS course, candidates do not learn preclinical subjects like anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology. Instead, they are taught subjects like biology, psychology, which is equivalent to class XII in India. This does not even qualify a candidate to be eligible for MBBS admission here.
The Higher Medical Education Regulations 1997 prescribe that applicants must pass the NEET-UG examination to become eligible for the board in order to be considered for admission to the MBBS course. To appear in NEET-UG, candidates must have studied regular, simultaneous and concurrent subjects of physics, chemistry and biology during the last two years of their schooling. Thus, a candidate who has already completed the required studies does not acquire any additional knowledge by taking the BS course.
Therefore, students who have been admitted to these foreign medical qualifications/courses after the publication of the official gazette notification on November 18 last year cannot be treated as eligible for registration to practice medicine in India, the commission said. However, those who were admitted to the medical course in the Philippines prior to the issuance of the regulations may be considered if they meet other applicable eligibility criteria for enrollment.