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).

Friday, March 18, 2005

Supporting Signatures to Open Letter to the AVMA

Task Force For Veterinary Science - Supporting Signatures (To our Open Letter to the AVMA Practice Act Task Force)

I wholeheartedly support this endeavor to keep the practice of veterinary medicine free of nonsense and quackery. An attempt to regulate such diverse ideas and practices as are found in the woo woo world of so-called "Alternative Medicine" (sCAM), is outside the bounds of any science-based profession, such as veterinary medicine. There is medicine, and that which pretends to be, but is not, medicine:

"There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. Whether a therapeutic practice is 'Eastern' or 'Western,' is unconventional or mainstream, or involves mind-body techniques or molecular genetics is largely irrelevant except for historical purposes and cultural interest. . . . As believers in science and evidence, we must focus on fundamental issues - namely, the patient, the target disease or condition, the proposed or practiced treatment, and the need for convincing data on safety and therapeutic efficacy." - Fontanarosa P.B., and Lundberg G.D. "Alternative medicine meets science" JAMA. 1998; 280: 1618-1619.

"There cannot be two kinds of medicine -- conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted. But assertions, speculation, and testimonials do not substitute for evidence." - Angell M, Kassirer JP, "Alternative medicine--the risks of untested and unregulated remedies." N Engl J Med 1998;339:839.

Keep your act clean, and you won't have to keep looking over your shoulder. It will save you a lot of grief, and protect the AVMA from justified accusations for being a party to nonsense. Only after a method has been conclusively proven to be effective should it be considered legitimate to use it in practice. Until then it should, at best, be considered experimental, and then only as part of carefully controlled experiments with non-paying and consenting subjects. Therefore this work should first be approved on human subjects, before moving on to non-consenting animals, with their easily mislead owners being the victims.

The present move, if not stopped, will only bring miscredit to the practice of veterinary medicine. I therefore support this effort to stop the proposed formulation in the proposed Model Veterinary Practice Act. It is a step in the wrong direction, and will only dumb down the profession. It will also set a dangerous precedent for other professions to do the same. The AVMA will never be forgiven for doing such a thing.

Please add my name to your letter.

(signed by the sitemaster)