September 10, 2021
Several scientific associations in Iran have protested plans by the parliament to establish an ‘Islamic medicine’ organization, calling it defamation of the public health system.
The scientific associations in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and the new health minister have said that giving official status to the practitioners of Islamic medicine will endanger people’s lives.
Iran’s parliament, dominated by religious conservatives and hardliners intends to strengthen the official status of those practicing traditional medicine, often called Islamic medicine. Health officials, senior medical doctors and experts have criticized the move calling it a dangerous step that would lead to unscientific interference in public and individual health.
So-called Islamic medicine became very controversial in 2020, when some of those claiming to be ‘Islamic doctors’ opposed medical recommendations to deal with Covid-19 and began prescribing herbal medicines to patients, some of whom died without standard medical care. One such Islamic medicine advocate prescribed camel urine as medication for Covid patients.
The motion presented in the parliament would give legal independence to Islamic doctors who would operate without any accountability to the scientific medical system in the country. The new Islamic medicine organization will issue licenses to clerics and others to see patients and prescribe medicine.