Tension Looming over License Test for `Herbal Pharmacists'

Article excerpt

Tension is brewing again between doctors practicing Oriental medicine and pharmacists over the qualifications needed for the license test for``herbal pharmacists.''

The controversy over the qualifications emerged ahead of the license test for pharmacists exclusively dispensing herbal drugs, which is scheduled for next February.

A group of Oriental medicine doctors claimed that only students majoring in newly-introduced ``herbal pharmaceutics'' are allowed to apply for the license test, saying that those majoring in Western pharmaceutics are not qualified for the license.

Oriental medical doctors clashed head-on with pharmacists in 1994 in a struggle to get more power within the field of herbal medicine. Oriental doctors are allowed to prescribe and dispense herbal drugs.

Pharmacists, who are not specialized in herbal medicine, are also prescribing and dispensing herbal drugs in a limited way. With the introduction of the new system, pharmacists not specializing in herbal medicine will be banned from dispensing Oriental medicines.

When the ``herbal pharmaceutical system'' was introduced five year ago, related laws stipulated that any pharmacy college graduates, Oriental or Western, who obtained at least 95 credits in five fields of herbal medicine were qualified for the license exams. …