Angry Doctor

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Millions of years of human history can't be wrong

I'm a little surprised Dr Crippen hasn't blogged about this issue.

(What brought my attention to the topic was
this letter to the Guardian, which brought this reply.)

We've discussed this topic in our local context
before.

angry doc is disturbed by the fact that the MHRA titled its press release "Improved patient information and greater consumer choice", when most patients (or are they consumers? angry doc is confused) are probably unaware that different labeling standards apply for 'western' medicine and alternative medicine remedies.

Like it or not, government 'regulation' is often seen as approval or even promotion. Calling patients consumers does not change the fact that they are sick people who may be misled into thinking that they are taking a proven cure for their illness when all that regulation means is that the product has not been shown to be harmful.

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3 Comments:

  • well, whatever our individual views on the matter are, it can't be denied that alternative medicine is becoming big. some even call it the next big thing. with franchises like 'Dr China' becoming commonplace in the West, and with many countries' healthcare systems unable to cope with demand, it's inevitable that more and more people will turn to alternative medicine. it's hard to side with one or the other, despite being a medic myself, because traditional medicine is so ingrained in Asian societies. i agree though that government regulation is often seen as endorsement...it's the whole should-we-give-free-needles-to-addicts issue again. it's becoming a VERY big playing field for quacks.

    By Blogger The Angry Medic, At September 15, 2006 9:47 pm  

  • Turning to unproven alternative medicine is false economy for both patients and governments. There is no such thing as a homeopathy ICU and ultimately patients who need tertiary care will end up in the care of western medicine. The bill will have to be paid for.

    Allowing alternative medicine to be promoted with token or nominal regulation ('you can sell it until it is proven unsafe') or even promoting alternative medicine with the hope that it will relief the burden on state-subsidised mainstream healthcare system is also a short-term solution. If you give unproven therapy the veneer of legitimacy, it will probably be a matter of time before the public demand that the therapy be also subsidised.

    I believe there is no reason for healthcare regulators to choose to embrace whole alternative medicine 'paradigm' or 'tradition', when they can 'have the best of both worlds' by requiring them to prove the efficacy of each of their component therapies, rejecting those that do not work and keeping those that do.

    I know it's about economics and politics, but the people they call consumers and voters, I call patients.

    By Blogger angry doc, At September 15, 2006 10:16 pm  

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