CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Candian integrative medicine proposed to break medical 'monpoly'

A conference at the University of Victoria sponsored by the Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians proposes to explore broader use of integrative medicine in Canada.

Commenting on slow acceptance of integrative medicine in Canada, Monopoly medicine prevents real healthcare argues that misconceptions concerning the evidence base for integrative medicine preclude wider acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine approaches in the mainstream medical community:

Canadians now spend in excess of $20 billion per year on prescription drugs, an amount that is growing at a rate of about $1.5 billion per year. While some argue that this money is a good investment in healthcare, leading to longer and healthier lives, others say that our growing dependence on high-tech pharmaceuticals is leading us in the opposite direction where we get diminishing - and some would say negative - returns for all this new money.
Like human-induced climate change, there are a lot of inconvenient truths around the sustainability of publically-funded medical care. Sadly, the debate is mired in arguments around who should pay (public versus private), as opposed to what we should pay for. Those who have thought deeply about this issue have suggested "integrative solutions" to the current healthcare crises, where we start rethinking the contents of our publically-funded healthcare basket and make some hard choices about paying for effective care.
At the end of May, a conference at the University of Victoria may hold a key to cracking the nut of unsustainable health care. Sponsored by the Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians of BC (ACIPBC), a group of physicians aiming to shape a healthcare system that draws from both worlds - orthodox medicine and "complementary and alternative" medicine - the Body Heals Conference (www.bodyheals.ca) brings together an array of luminaries in the fields of integrative care. No doubt the conference will, at the very least, provide some grist for the mill as the government continues its public "Conversation on Health" in BC.

The article points to use of hyperbaric oxygen as an area in which evidentiary critiques are misleading. The article's author has published "Selling Sickness" and is listed as a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria. Many of the arguments - such as calls for a more 'level playing field' - recap those discussed in the Institute of Medicine's 2005 report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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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. The firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to acupuncturists), solo entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational and health care institutions.

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 exploring 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, and 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, which follows 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 is licensed has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C., and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing).
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