Centre for Inquiry

Centre for Inquiry

September 19, 2011 20:56 ET

New Alternative Medicine Policy Draws Fire From Doctors, Public

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 19, 2011) - A proposed new policy on alternative medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) has drawn a firestorm of criticism even before it is adopted. In a response to the draft policy, the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) argued that the new policy could push Ontario's doctors to promote unproven, ineffective, and potentially dangerous therapies. Apparently Canada's medical community agrees: in the wake of CASS's criticism, the Canadian Medical Association and a number of other medical organizations have issued their own critical comments, as have a host of physicians, scientists, and members of the public.

"The CPSO proposal would push physicians to keep up to date on the latest alternative therapies, no matter how outlandish, and expects them to promote unscientific treatments such as homeopathy and reiki on the flimsiest of evidence" says Michael Kruse of CASS. "None of these treatments would be approved if they had to meet the standards expected of mainstream medicines, so it would be unethical for any physician to promote them." CASS and the CMA also take exception to the CPSO's use of the terms "allopathic" and "non-allopathic" to describe mainstream medicine and alternative medicine: "allopathy" is a derisive term deriving from homeopathy, and is rarely heard outside of alternative circles.

CASS strongly agrees with the CMA's statement that "the draft policy should be revised to sharpen its focus, and should respect the conviction of many physicians and clinical researchers, that CAM has minimal scientific validity and that recommending it to patients achieves no clinical purpose and may be unethical."

CASS (Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism) is a committee within Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI), the leading free-thought organization in Canada promoting reason, science, secularism and freedom of inquiry. www.cficanada.ca

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