Being a medical sceptic is a hard gig, these days. Our negativity cops bad press; we lack the faith of traditional healers, the chutzpah of health bloggers and perhaps even the imagination of Donald Trump.
Lift the carpet to scrutinise the evidence for surgical procedures or pharmaceuticals, and detractors will point out that at least western medicine eventually responds to scrutiny – so how about first sweeping out the badlands of alternative medical practices?
But, take a broom to the dust at the foundation of so many complementary medical claims, and devotees will tell you to first get your own house in order.
We critics get used to sweeping criticism.
So, when the RACGP approached me last month to write their official submission to the Senate Report on the TGA reforms, I keenly obliged.
Over the last couple of years I had written the RACGP Choosing Wisely recommendations, aimed at reducing unnecessary procedures and treatments. Or, if some staunch traditionalists are to be believed, conspiratorially aimed at undermining the very basis of our rights as doctors to order whatever we want.
Having disturbed the peace at home, the TGA submission was a chance to kick up some dust over at Alternative House.
“More than a thousand claims…the majority are unscientific”
The issue is the bill before the senate that will allow manufacturers of complementary and alternative medicines to make therapeutic claims for their products without pre-approval. Marketers will be allowed to choose a claim from a selective list. Continue reading