LAHORE - Medical graduates from Pakistan will not be eligible for appearing in examination for registration as practitioner or doing post-graduation from any institution in the United States after 2023.

By 2023, only graduates of medical schools accredited by the regulatory bodies in respective countries recognised by WFME (World Federation for Medical Education) will be eligible for appearing in USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) or ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certification.

Foreign graduates need to clear the USMLE for doing practice in any of the 52 states of America. Similarly, ECFMG certification is compulsory for foreign medical graduates to enter Residency or Fellowship programme in the US.

If Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) remained unrecognized by WFME as an accrediting body by 2023, medical graduates from Pakistan will not be eligible for appearing in USMLE or applying for ECFMG certification. As such, PMDC has six years to first complete the process of getting WFME recognition and then to strictly follow the set criterion for maintaining required standards to enable Pakistani doctors to do post-graduation from any US medical institution or earn living on foreign soil.

Member Executive Committee of PMDC Dr Amer Hussain Bandesha, however, said that the Council would get WFME recognition by next year and as such graduates from 101 accredited public sector and private medical institutions would remain eligible for appearing in USMLE and applying for ECFMG certification after cutoff date. He clarified that condition of WFME recognition would be applicable in future and as such those already working in the US would continue to serve in the US.  Presently, Pakistan is the fourth largest country sending doctors to the US. More than 12,000 doctors from across Pakistan are serving in 52 states of America. These overseas Pakistani are playing major role in boosting economy by sending foreign exchange.

WFME delegation led by its President Prof David Gordon conveyed to the PMDC office bearers about the decision during recent visit. He offered help to obtain WFME recognition before the cutoff date. He suggested updating record of PMDC accredited medical schools at the directory of world institutions.  WFME is a body to oversee that working of regulatory bodies, from accreditation of medical institutions to imparting education to undergraduates, is up to internationally recognized standards.

ECFMG is a body to assess, through a programme of certification, whether international medical graduates are ready to enter residency or fellowship programs in the US.