Archive | Complementary Medicines

European manifesto against pseudo-therapies published

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Posted 09 February 2020

The Association to Protect the Sick from Pseudoscientific Therapies (APETP in Spanish), a civil society association formed by victims of pseudoscientific therapies along with scientists, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, computer scientists, lawyers, and other professionals has published the European Manifesto Against Pseudo-Therapies. Scientific and medical personnel who add their names as signatories of the manifesto declare that:

  • Scientific knowledge is incompatible with what pseudo-therapies postulate, as in the case of homeopathy.
  • European laws that protect homeopathy are not acceptable in a scientific and technological society that respects the right of the patients not to be deceived.
  • Homeopathy is the best known pseudo-therapy, but it is not the only one nor the most dangerous one. Others, such as acupuncture, reiki, German New Medicine, iridology, biomagnetism, orthomolecular therapy and many more, are gaining ground and causing victims.
  • Measures must be taken to stop pseudo-therapies, since they are harmful and
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Complementary Medicine, refusal of conventional cancer therapy, and survival among patients with curable cancers

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Posted 26 July 2018

Alternative Cancer Treatments May Be Bad for Your Health

People who used herbs, acupuncture and other complementary treatments tended to die earlier than those who didn’t.

Nicholas Bakalar July 23, 2018 New York Times

Herbs, acupuncture and other so-called complementary treatments for cancer may not be completely innocuous.

A new study has found that many cancer patients treat these nostrums not as a supplement to conventional treatment, but as an alternative. This, the researchers say, can be dangerous.

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Contemporary bogus autism therapies summarized

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Posted 24 July 2018

For her Woo Watch column, Kavin Senapathy has authored a two-part overview of autism relevant to consumer decision-making. Part 1 describes autism spectrum disorder; the false link between autism and both the MMR vaccine and thimerosal; mainstream therapeutic interventions; the autism acceptance movement; and eight dubious approaches:

  • (a) the DAN! Protocol,
  • (b) chlorine dioxide (CD/MMS),
  • (c) secretin,
  • (d) chelation,
  • (e) hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT/HBO2),
  • (f) chemical castration with Lupron,
  • (g) GcMAF, and
  • (h) stem cell therapies.

Reference: Senapathy K. On unsubstantiated yet prevalent therapeutic interventions for autism [Part I. Skeptical Inquirer, July 9, 2018

Part 2 lists red flags to look out for with any purported treatment or cure for autism and discusses five more unsubstantiated interventions:

  • (a) CEASE therapy,
  • (b) facilitated communication,
  • (c) gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet,
  • (d) non-GMO diets, and
  • (e) the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet.

Reference: Senapathy K. On unsubstantiated yet prevalent Read the rest

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Ethical pharmacists should not sell quackery

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Posted 09 May 2018

Last week, Ivo Vegter, the editor of Daily Maverick, posted an article arguing that ethical pharmacists should not sell quackery. 

This week, in response he writes: “Last week, I argued for an “ethical pharmacist” certification for pharmacists who do not sell quack remedies, miracle diets and detox cures. This week, let me consider two of the responses I’ve had; one from a pharmacist, and one from a homeopath. One makes a good point, the other does not”.

This article is a worth-while read for a variety of reasons, and in particular for all those arguing that CAMs should have a ‘place in the sun’.

My first reaction was that there is no need to seek a balance between fact and fiction, science and magic, medicine and quackery.

Although a great part of the article addresses homeopathy, much of his argument can be applied to many Read the rest

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CAM use leads to delays in appropriate, effective arthritis therapy

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Posted 31 December 2017

A preference to use CAM before seeking medical advice may be harming patients with inflammatory arthritis.

By Scott Gavura on November 16, 2017, posted to Science Based Medicine
Several weeks ago I summarized the evidence that demonstrates that when you delay cancer chemotherapy and substitute alternative medicine, you die sooner. Thank you to the tireless Edzard Ernst, who identified non-cancer evidence that demonstrates how choosing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) instead of real medicine, can cause harm. In this case, the example is early inflammatory arthritis (EIA), and what was studied was the relationship between CAM use, and the delay to initiation of medical therapy. Time is of the essence with inflammatory arthritis, as there are medications that can reduce the risk of permanent joint damage. This new paper adds to the accumulated evidence to show that CAM, while it is commonly thought to
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The journey of a “doctor” who joined the cult of alternative medicine and then broke out of it

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Posted 01 October 2017

One Friday afternoon in May 2014, Britt Hermes was scheduled to treat one of her cancer patients with an injection of Ukrain. This wasn’t especially unusual; people often came to Hermes, a naturopath in Arizona, for the treatment. That day, though, an expected shipment of the drug hadn’t arrived, and Hermes’s patients weren’t happy. They had been promised that Ukrain given on a strict schedule would help them when nothing else was working. So she asked her boss what was going on.

“In response, he made an off-hand remark: ‘Oh don’t worry. Most likely the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] confiscated it. It’ll just arrive late,’” Hermes recalls today. When she asked him what he meant, he fumbled. “He realized that he may have said something he shouldn’t have.”

This article, published in Quartz, is about a naturopath who discovered that there was little to Read the rest

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Historian’s view of quackery 40 years ago posted

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Posted 23 November 2016

Quackwatch has posted previously unpublished observations about quackery written in 1974 by James Harvey Young, Ph.D. [Young JH A historian’s view of quackery in 1974 with comments by Stephen Barrett, M.D. Quackwatch, Nov 14, 2016]

The article describes how quackery thrived during the previous 100 years and the gradually increasing but insufficient efforts of our government to curb it. Dr. Young, whose books included  The Toadstool Millionaires and The Medical Messiahs, was considered the foremost authority on the history of quackery.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #16-43, November 20, 2016

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Medicines Control Council (MCC): guidelines on complementary medicines

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Posted 13 June 2016

A number of updated guidelines for complementary medicines have been published on the MCC web site:

7.01 Complementary Medicines – Discipline Specific Safety and Efficacy V3 13-Jun-2016  –

7.03 Complementary Medicines – Use of the ZA-CTD format in the Preparation of a Registration Application V3 13-Jun-2016  –

7.04 Complementary Medicines – Health supplements Safety and Efficacy V2 13-Jun-2016 –

7.05 Complementary Medicines – Registration Application ZA-CTD – Quality V1 13-Jun-2016 –

The definition of a complementary medicine, to include the category ‘Health Supplements’ as suggested in a previous draft,  is expected to be finalised soon. CAMs will in future be divided into discipline-specific CAMs (linked to the AHPCSA-regulated disciplines) and ‘Health Supplements’. Guidelines on safety and efficacy will be then separated for the two types of CAMs, but the quality guideline and ZA-CTD guidelines are common to both types.

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GroundUp Op-Ed: Complementary medicine companies are destroying consumer protection

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Posted 31 May 2016

First published by GroundUp

What do these have in common?

  • Herbex Attack the Fat Syrup will help you lose weight.
  • Solal’s anti-ageing pill can increase your lifespan and improve heart function.
  • Antagolin combats insulin resistance and will help you to lose weight effectively.
  • USN’s Tribulus is a “testosterone booster” and “libido enhancer”.

They’re all claims by complementary medicine companies about products they sell. All of them are at best misleading, not properly tested and probably false. All were ruled against by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

And all four of these companies are doing their utmost to destroy the ASA. They may have succeeded, which means there is little protection left for consumers from misleading or unsubstantiated medical claims.

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Crackdown looms on complementary medicinal products

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Posted 09 May 2016

This article by Tamar Kahn in Business Day Live, reports on the MCC claiming to be gearing up to seize “scores of illegal products claiming to treat diabetes, heart disease, cancer and viral illnesses”. The complementary medicines regulations, which were gazetted on November 15 2013, allowed firms to continue selling complementary medicines until they were called up for assessment by the council, starting with those deemed most risky. Only those that applied for registration as a CAM may continue to be sold until their submission has been assessed, and accepted or rejected. What is remarkable is how few complementary medicines have been submitted for registration.

The report quotes Mr Norman Fels, Chairperson of the Health Products Association (HPA), as stating that “the low response rate from the industry suggested companies were experiencing problems with the process, rather than ignoring the regulations”. However, several … Read the rest

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