Monday, September 12, 2011

Doctors slam alternative medicine proposal: They feel alternative medicine and naturopathy has no place in health

Some medical groups are concerned that proposed guidelines on how Ontario doctors should approach alternative medicine may require physicians to accept and incorporate the practice.

"We believe the draft policy should be revised to sharpen its focus, and should respect the conviction of many physicians and clinical researchers, that [alternative medicine] has minimal scientific validity and that recommending it to patients achieves no clinical purpose and may be unethical," the Canadian Medical Association says in a written letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

The Ontario college is currently taking submissions from the public and organizations about its draft policy guidelines for physicians regarding how they should handle alternative medicine.

In the proposed guidelines, the college differentiates between allopathic medicine (traditional or conventional medicine taught in medical schools) and non-allopathic therapies (complementary or alternative medicine).

The goal of the proposal "is to prevent unsafe or ineffective non-allopathic therapies from being provided by physicians, and to prohibit unprofessional or unethical physician conduct in relation to these therapies," the college said.

The guidelines, if approved, would prohibit doctors from misrepresenting the benefits of alternative medicine, the college said, but it stressed it had no intention of depriving patients of alternative medicine therapies "that are safe and effective."

However, a number of medical professional organizations feel the proposed guidelines may give alternative medicine scientific legitimacy. They also worry the proposals place an expectation on doctors to have knowledge of alternative medicine and promote its use. more