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Alternative Medicine

Spain - Woman dies after 'bee sting' alternative therapy - (06 April 2018)

A 55-year-old was undergoing a session of apitherapy, an acupuncture treatment which uses the sting of live bees instead of needles to treat stiff muscles and stress, when she died from an anaphylactic shock. "To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of death by bee venom apitherapy due to complications of severe anaphylaxis in a confirmed sensitized patient who was previously tolerant," wrote the report's co-authors, Paula Vazquez-Revuelta and Ricardo Madrigal-Burgaleta of the Ramon Cajal University Hospital in Spain.

France - Doctors condemn 'alternative medicines' - (06 April 2018)

A total 124 doctors signed an open letter criticizing alternative medicines such as homeopathy as having 'no scientific basis'. The letter published in Le Figaro with 124 signatories says such 'esoteric disciplines' are 'fed by charlatans' and 'have no scientific basis' but are 'based on beliefs promising miraculous healing'. "We wish to dissociate ourselves completely from practices that are neither scientific nor ethical, but rather irrational and dangerous," the letter reads. They said that alternative medicines promote a 'mistrust' of conventional treatment and can 'delay diagnosis'. The writers demand that the Conseil de l'ordre des médecins et[des] pouvoirs publics stops recognizing alternative treatments as medical, stops teaching them in medical training and call for a halt to covering the costs of such treatments.

India - Medical Association Opposes National Medical Commission Bill - (06 April 2018)

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of private doctors in India has opposed a National Medical Commission bill (NMC) which proposes to allow doctors of alternative medicines to practice modern medicine after completing a “bridge course”. Protesting against the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, the IMA has called for an indefinite strike. The NMC bill allows practitioners of alternative medicines, such as homeopathy and ayurveda to practice modern medicine. The Bill also proposes that the National Licentiate Examination (NLE) should be made compulsory for any doctor, including a foreign graduate, to make them eligible to practice medicine in India. The parliamentary panel has suggested integrating the NLE with the final year MBBS exam.

New Zealand - Pharmacy Councils’ position on alternative medicines disappointing - (14 March 2018)

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) is disappointed that the Pharmacy Council has weakened its stand on selling non-evidence based products. "The latest version of the Pharmacy Code of Ethics, permits pharmacists to supply complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) that have no current evidence of proven efficacy," says NZMA Chair Dr Kate Baddock. "This is particularly serious given the lack of regulation in this area, now that the Natural Products Bill has been dropped from the Parliamentary agenda.”The proposed Bill was a ‘backstop’, which meant that pharmacists could rely on the regulator to consider evidence and quality. "Evidence-based medicine is a key tenet of the medical profession’s Code of Ethics, maintained by the NZMA. It is most disappointing that our colleagues in the pharmacy profession do not share this."

USA - FDA warns of fraudulent and unapproved flu products - (14 March 2018)

“This year the flu has been widespread, impacting millions of patients across the country, and leading to a new record number of flu-related hospitalizations,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “We understand the toll this year’s flu season has taken on peoples’ lives. As the flu continues to make people sick and even cause deaths, unscrupulous actors may also be taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers by promoting their fraudulent products that have not been reviewed by the FDA to be safe and effective. The FDA is warning consumers to be alert and to try and steer clear of fraudulent flu products, which may be found online or in retail stores. We’re advising consumers on some of the telltale signs to look for when trying to spot flu products that may be fraudulent.

USA - Herbalist who replaced insulin with oils charged with teen’s death - (14 March 2018)

An herbalist who claimed he used alternative medicine to cure his own cancer has been charged with the death of a 13-year-old boy after he allegedly replaced his insulin with herbal oils. Timothy Morrow, 83, was charged with child abuse, causing death and practicing medicine without a license, Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. When the boy became semi-comatose in August 2014 due to complications from his diabetes, Morrow told his parents to treat their son with the herbal oils he sold rather than insulin which was prescribed by qualified medical doctors. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by an autoimmune response which stops the body from making insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control people with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day in order to survive.

Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Doctors for Life International