American Herbal Products Association urges medical disclosure of dietary supplement use

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has urged doctors and healthcare practitioners to ask patients about their use of herbs in an effort to foster communication on the issue.

AHPA president Michael McGuffin spoke at the CAMExpo - the International Complementary and Natural Healthcare Conference and Expo - in New York City. McGuffin presented as part of the panel, "Herbal Remedies and Botanical Medicine in the Cross Fire", and called on physicians to take responsibility in order to find out whether or not their patients are taking herbals.

Numerous studies have found that patients routinely fail to disclose or discuss use of herbal and dietary supplements with their physicians.

However, the line between supplements and "drugs" is one drawn by regulatory definition, and in an elegant turn of phrase coined by someone else, in many represents 'epistemological chaos' rather than a clinically significant reality.

Given that, disclosure of use of herbs and other dietary supplements, including vitamins and minerals, is probably a useful thing. From an ethical standpoint, it's the consumer's obligation as part of the informed consent discussion, and can only help inform treatment options.
Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.