‘Cure-all’ roadside medicine sellers are thriving at a rapid pace in city
By Mohan Kayaka
Mysore/Mysuru: Unregistered medical practitioners (quacks) continue to operate in many tents by the side of roads in Mysuru. Large banners can be seen in front of such tents declaring loudly that there is a cure for all diseases — whether it be sexual problems or kidney trouble, the herbal medicines available here come with a promise that the patient will be cured within 10-15 days. They claim to possess long years of traditional healing experience.
They claim to provide treatment for various ailments, keeping their medicines or herbs in dirty containers. Mainly they attract poor people who can’t afford costly treatment. These quacks claim that they have learnt the cures from their older generations and their families are well-known in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
Medicines here cost anywhere between Rs. 200 to over Rs. 3,500 where patients can ‘take consultation’ for any number of diseases such as jaundice, viral fever, chicken pox, polio, paralysis, blood pressure, piles, diabetes, asthma, kidney disorders, sex problems, irregular periods, obesity, skin problems, constipation and even far severe ailments. They claim to provide a magical cure for erectile dysfunction.
A majority of these tents have come up on H.D. Kote Road, Hunsur Road, Bannur Road, T. Narasipura Road, KRS Road and even some of them are within the city limits on many open spaces along the Ring Road and some of them have camped around Manasagangothri near All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH).
These tents do not attract attention as they make it a point not to stay in one place for more than 10 to 15 days. Later they find suitable areas and are available for phone consultation as they have displayed their phone numbers in bold font in front of their tents.
They assure visitors that they have in-depth knowledge of traditional medicines and are well-versed with Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy, Ayurveda and Naturopathy. However, without any stringent guidelines, these roadside medicine sellers are thriving at a rapid pace and many such tents are established without the required licences or the degrees.
A doctor said, “Quacks usually provide steroids. There is a threat of fungal infection if their treatment is taken. Their treatment can lead to temporary or permanent loss of vision. Rules of quackery have many loopholes and even if action is taken, these people walk free in no time and get back to their profession. We need stringent laws.”
Some people who do not feel too comfortable discussing the problems they are facing in the bedroom with doctors and counsellors stop by these roadside tents. Usually quacks tell these gullible youths that the ‘treatment’ would take several doses over the next few months. Knowingly, they shell out thousands of rupees in the hope for cure but the cure never happens, despite tall claims by these quacks.
These quacks end up making a lot of money by taking advantage of social reservations about discussing sexual problems. Doctors believe that patients need to understand that secrecy is not as important as delaying getting the treatment, as going to these quacks not only leaves them poorer by several thousands but also leaves the disease untreated.
Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, prohibits anyone other than registered medical practitioners to practice medicine. Quackery can attract imprisonment up to a year. Sources said that the Department of AYUSH or Drugs Controller or the Police Department can stop such activities and clear such camps.