Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Switzerland Embraces Pretend Medicine

There has been som quite jaw-dropping news from Switzerland where they have incorporated woo such as homeopathy (which doesn't work), acupuncture (which doesn't work), and herbalism (that mostly doesn't work) into their national health insurance scheme. Before, people's premiums were going towards funding evidence based medicine, but now rational human beings must stump up for a range of ineffective treatments. If someone ever says to you "alright, so these treatments are a load of hogwash, but what real harm are they doing?" you need only point to Switzerland to see the threat of real damage that these people pose. It's not even that the wrong pockets are being lined, but EBM is being massively undermined.

“It shows that we are beginning to come out of the two camps – one for orthodox medicine and the other for alternative medicine. In the future, hopefully, it will mean that medical students will study complementary therapies as part of their medical training and be able to integrate some of them into their practice,” says [Alexander] Harbaugh.

This is CAM fantasy, to force medical doctors to learn homeopathy, chiropractic and other nonsense despite it being at odds with our understanding of how our bodies work. David Colquhoun has attacked at length and with good cause at the fake respectability that CAM has been creating for itself, the creation of Bachelors of Science [sic] degrees in homeopathy, NICE's recent approval of chiropractic, Switzerland may prove to be a clear example of what may happen if such moves go unchecked.

The only fly in CAM's snake oil is hinted at in the following quote
The current criteria requires that the therapy benefits the patient, that it is cost-effective and appropriate for the patient’s condition.

This hopefully will mean that alternative medicine will have to prove that it is benefitial to the patient. I think most of us could live with evidence-based alternative medicine being included in state-run health schemes.

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