it couldn’t happen here. could it?

By Alison Campbell 19/10/2009


I hope not.

Some of my fellow Sciblings have written quite a bit lately about various ‘alternative & complementary’ health claims. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading their posts (here & here, for example). So I wonder what their take would be on a story from the UK, helpfully publicised by the Quackometer. Not only is a British MP calling for more & better public health funding for various ‘complementary & alternative’ therapies – but their Minister of Health is reported as saying ’that the Government’s position on complementary and alternative medicines, which I shall refer to as CAM, is the same as our position on mainstream medicines. ’ In other words, that homeopathy, iridology, relexology & all the other non-scientific, lacking-in-evidence-of-effectiveness modalities should be treated the same as mainstream medical practice when it comes to funding & publicity, and the euros/pounds sterling allocated to health should stretch even further than they have to now. As the Quackometer says, “[to] treat the claims of pseudo-medical cults in the same way as you treat the claims of scientific medical research is an absurdity.”

If I was a health consumer in the UK, I’d be worried. But it couldn’t happen here. Could it? I hope not.


0 Responses to “it couldn’t happen here. could it?”

  • I would hope not but you can never be sure of the true feelings of the populace on things like this. Recall that the “Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill” proposed a few years ago that would have attempted to regulate this sort of thing had quite a vocal, though probably minority, backlash.

    The same sort of talking points that are popular elsewhere where employed here such, particularly the “Health care freedom” argument, the essence of which seems to be that people should be allowed unhindered access to any medicine they choose regardless of it’s efficacy or safety.

    • I found the backlash to the TPB Bill quite odd, considering that it would effectively have ensured the quality of the products that people were buying…

  • That was my view as well, but it seems the CAM proponents knew where that would leave their “therapies”.

  • That’s one law that I wouldn’t mind seeing the government have a go at. My own impression is that Labour dropped it as it wasn’t helping their re-election chances. The conspiracy claims about it were silly, alright. My understanding was it was to block false advertising, but people were going on about how it was a “mission” to “wipe them out”. I agree that if the products were sound, they’d have nothing to worry about, which, of course, raises the question of just why they were worried about it…

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