CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Progressive Medicine makes a pitch

Something called "Progressive Medicine" makes a pitch for its blend of complementary and alternative medicine therapies. The news flash I read today has this to say about the way 'progressive medicine' works.
The Institute for Progressive Medicine (IPM), a revolutionary medical clinic that emphasizes safe, natural and alternative treatments in combination with traditional medical techniques, announced the clinic's IV Therapies, including one of their most popular therapies - the Stress Drip. The Stress Drip is a variation of the Immune Drip - a popular drip that contains high doses of superior quality vitamin C and B vitamins, magnesium, trace minerals and the antioxidant glutathione, all of which are administered intravenously for superior assimilation. The Stress Drip includes all the elements of the Immune Drip but adds two additional ingredients, tryptophan and inositol, which can induce calming and relaxation. With the sluggish economy and depression rates on the rise, the Stress Drip can provide immunity support and energy, along with relief from anxiety and emotional discomfort.

Intravenous therapies can offer enormous health benefits. The Institute for Progressive Medicine has a newly renovated intravenous therapy department where IV treatments are administered in a comfortable and relaxing setting by certified nurses with many years of experience. IPM's practice has administered over 20,000 infusions to patients with diverse health problems. Treatment times range from ten minutes for simple IV pushes to a few hours for specialized IV therapies. Immune Drips, specifically, are used to support individuals with: viral infections, respiratory infections, Mononucleosis, fatigue and fibromyalgia, cancer (including individuals undergoing radiation or chemotherapy), as well as for many other ailments.

"The Stress Drip is specially formulated to help those with extreme stress in their lives. Individuals facing a particularly difficult undertaking or feeling upset or incapable of handling a tough situation, anything from marital stress to parenthood, tax season or an operation, are ideal candidates for this calming therapy," explains Dr. Allan E. Sosin, M.D., founder and medical director of the Institute for Progressive Medicine. "The Stress Drip can help people relax, sleep better, has no common side effects and may be repeated as frequently as needed."

Patients receiving IV nutritional infusions often tolerate ailments much better than they would otherwise. It is believed that nutritional IV infusions can enhance the effect of conventional therapies.

Other IV therapies available from the clinic include chelation therapy for removal of heavy metals as well as drips to support patients with diabetes, vascular disease, asthma, liver disease and hepatitis, inflammation, macular degeneration, learning and cognitive disabilities, depression and other chronic conditions.

About Institute for Progressive Medicine

The Institute for Progressive Medicine is a revolutionary medical clinic that leans towards a natural and alternative medical routine. Started by Allan E. Sosin, M.D., a renowned physician who is board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology, IFPM supports the patient's physical, mental and spiritual well-being using the most natural, safe and effective methods available. IFPM's mission is to respect patient's rights and look for the most natural and preventive path towards overall health. Dr. Sosin earned the title, Physician of the Year Award in 2000 from the National Health Federation.
I like the term 'progressive' as it is certainly better than 'regressive.' One has to careful about either praising or criticizing these kinds of clinics and pitches, because there are on one side patients who will swear by these methods and on the other, skeptics and critics who will insist there is no, or little, scientific evidence backing the therapeutic claims.

I can, however, confidently state that legal caution is called for in any such enterprise, as the same legal issues arise time and again: unlicensed practice of medicine (for the non-licensed practitioners, or even for the licensed health care providers who exceed their scope of practice boundaries); informed consent and medical malpractice / negligence / standard of care issues; professional discipline for physicians who are practicing in ways that are not generally conforming with what is usually accepted in the medical community; health care fraud issues that can arise with insurance billing and coding practices; and finally, the conflict of interest provisions (depending on how the clinic is structured).

Chelation therapy and IV vitamin therapy drips can be particularly thorny, even though in the quote language there appears to be some effort to focus more on stress relief and "support" than actual disease care. Whether these distinctions actually hold up when faced with a legal challenge -- for example, in a medical board discipline case -- is questionable, and the real tests come during a live challenge as opposed to during an intellectual test of some legal hypothesis in the gray zone.

I am all for patient autonomy and consumers' health care freedom based on informed medical choices, as anyone who reads my writing knows; and then there is the conservative, lawyer's hat, which says to beware of overbroad claims and therapeutic promises about practices that get too far afield of today's standard of care. Standards evolve organically over time, and although revolutionary breakthroughs are possible, revolutions often do not happen without a lot of destruction along the path, so claiming something as "revolutionary" is not necessarily without peril, if one keeps the holistic picture in mind.
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Michael H. Cohen, Esq.; 468 North Camden Dr. | Beverly Hills, California 90210 | 310-844-3173