BS Course not Counted as Part of MBBS in Philippines: NMC

BS Course not Counted as Part of MBBS in Philippines: NMC

In an important update, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has claimed that the 2-year Basic Sciences (BS) course that precedes the MD program in Philippines will NOT be counted as part of the official duration of a Filipino medical program. 

This means that on paper, the degree would not be 6 years but only 4 years long. The NMC says that the BS course includes contents that have already been taught in Class XI and XII in India. Thus, there’s no point in including it in the official duration of MBBS in Philippines.

Events Leading up to This Decision

Most of the top medical colleges in the Philippines offer a BS+MD program in which, the “Doctor of Medicine Program (MD)” that is equivalent to the MBBS degree in India and goes up to 4 years, while the “Basic Science (BS) Program” is a 2-year program.

On 18th November 2021, the NMC came out with its official gazette pertaining to Foreign Medical Graduate Licenciate Regulations. One of the major points that worked against Filipino medical degrees was the minimum compulsory duration of degrees which the NMC stated to be 54 months/4.5 years at least (excluding the 1-year internship period, making it 5.5 years at least).

The MD courses in Philippines are 4 years long and are preceded by the 2-year BS course. If the latter was accounted for, the total duration of MBBS in Philippines would be 6 years (more than the 5.5-year benchmark). However, the NMC gazette does NOT officially recognize the BS degree.

This led to its fair share of reactions from the student community. The NMC itself received requests and representations from several students who enrolled in the BS-MD course before the NMC Gazette/FMGL Regulations 2021. They sought exemption from the regulations.

Apart from this, a PIL was also filed in the Rajasthan High Court by an MBBS student pursuing MBBS abroad. High Court Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Sameer Jain also issued a notice regarding this matter.

The NMC Verdict in Detail

The first thing that the NMC decision made clear is that the FMGL Regulations 2021 will ONLY apply to those who seek admission after the passing of said regulations. This means that those who were already enrolled in universities before the passing of regulations will be eligible for further studies and practice in India EVEN IF their medical degree does not qualify NMC standards.

Furthermore, the NMC noted that the Basic Science course includes subjects of Biology, which is similar to the syllabus of Classes 11th and 12th. Additionally, they also claimed that this BS course doesn’t cover pre-clinical disciplines like Biochemistry, Anatomy, Microbiology, etc. All that it covers only basic subjects like Psychology and Biology.

In simple words, the NMC says that students have already undergone the requisite medical studies during their Class 11th,12th, and during their NEET preparations and thus, won’t gain any further knowledge through the BS course. Therefore, there is no point in including it as part of the MBBS in Philippines official duration.

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