Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Saul Green letter to The Scientist re: Alternative Medicine

The Scientist 10[4]:, Feb. 19, 1996


Alternative Medicine

By Saul Green

Author: Saul Green
Joy McIntyre's article 'OAM Commences $8 Million Investigation Into Alternative Therapies' (The Scientist, Jan. 22, 1996, page 3) neglects the most serious consequences of the plans the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) has to test treatments by 'rigorous scientific methods.'

That consequence is the fact that the very nature of these treatments will require a 'testing process' that could go on for as much as 10 years. Meanwhile, patients will continue to be 'had.'

When rigorous scientific trials on laetrile, vitamin C, hydrazine sulfate, chelation therapy, chiropractic, and homeopathy proved them worthless, did the alternativists accept the results and quit foisting them on medical consumers? No way! They are still prompting them today. So what will all of OAM's testing accomplish?

In my opinion, Wayne Jonas, James Gordon, David Eisenberg, Fredi Kronenberg, et al. will gain the wholehearted support of the entire community of medical scientists if they will publicly commit themselves to the following conditions:

1. In order to make the medical community aware of what is going on in the field of alternative medical research, OAM should arrange to publish all the research results of the OAM grant recipients.

2. Within 18 months of receipt of grant funds, grantees must submit for publication by OAM the methods they used, the results they got, and the conclusions they drew.

3. Each researcher engaged in the funded research project will submit to OAM a full financial disclosure of personal income related to the clinical practice of the treatment in question.

4. The results and conclusions of each research project will be submitted for evaluation to a select committee of independent scientists (not chosen by OAM, NIH, or a congressional committee).

5. All evaluations will be made public. If results are positive, they will be endorsed and promoted by OAM.

6. If the results are clearly and unequivocally negative, the treatments will be declared worthless and proponents will be instructed to stop promoting, selling, or using the remedy.

Would anyone reading this letter care to predict the reception it gets from OAM and the alternative medical community?

Saul Green
ZOL Consultants
340 W. 57th St.
Suite 8J
New York, N.Y. 10019