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medical politics « Previous | |Next »
January 25, 2006

I see that John Dwyer, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of NSW, is having a go at alternative healthcare, in the name of "evidence-based medicine" and its potential for protecting consumers from spurious health claims. He has been watching the TV coverage of the Australian Open tennisand has found it to be a frustrating experience. He says:

The constant reminder by another Australian Open sponsor, Medibank Private, that, in an effort to boost falling membership numbers, it (as do many other private health funds) provides coverage for a range of "alternative" therapies, demonstrated to be of no benefit, is also disturbing. By so doing, these insurers directly, and the Australian Government indirectly, provide an imprimatur for nonsense techniques such as reflexology, homeopathy, iridology and various massage therapies.

Now I regularly use chiropratic care, massage, fitness clinic, and take diet advice to help manage my stress levels, reduce my weight, and ensure my wellbeing and quality of life. So I take exception to Dwyer's phrase ' "alternative" therapies, demonstrated to be of no benefit'. It is far too sweeping in its characterisation of the bogus health-care market.

Moreover, Medibank Private has moved in this direction because of consumer demand. They are shifting from GP focused primary care to a wellness conception of health care. Modern life is stressful and exhausting and we consumers are looking for ways to cope with that and we are in need of good advice.

The thrust of the Dwyer article is a criticism of the misleading claims about the products of companies such as Nature's Own and Blackmores. It is constructed around consumer deception without ever mentioning the misleading advertising claims by Big Pharma for its pills. Isn't there a profitable, exploitation of the well and the ill on both sides of the pill popping medical/non-medical fence?

I support Dwyer's suggestion that the Therapeutics Goods Administration should be beefed up and fully resourced and its powers increased. I cannot see that happening. Consumer protection is not a big concern of the Howard Government.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:58 AM | | Comments (1)


Just found your site. Great to get this topic out in the airwaves. Big Pharma +US influence via FTA = dimimishing choices for all consumers. It's a huge issue. thanks