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).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Good medicine: Homeopathic board needs a physical - just in case

Good medicine
Homeopathic board needs a physical - just in case

Oct. 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Trust, but verify.

That is fine advice, even when the object of said trust seems pure as the driven snow. Because appearances can be deceiving.

And trustworthy individuals and organizations can, with dismaying frequency, allow standards to erode over time.

Thus, news that the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners has gone 20 years - 20 years! - without facing a formal audit is itself a red flag. What trouble might lurk in an agency so long left unscrutinized?

Plenty, as Republic reporter Robbie Sherwood found in an exhaustive examination of the board, results of which were published Oct. 9.

Since 2000, Sherwood found, the board has licensed four doctors who were convicted of felonies in other states and six others who either lost their licenses or were disciplined outside Arizona.

In one case, the board dismissed a complaint even though the Pima County medical examiner concluded that a Patagonia homeopath's treatment led directly to the death of a patient.

Granted, troubled doctors make up a very small percentage of the 113 practitioners currently licensed by the board. But the aforementioned cases are cause for concern.

So is Arizona's reputation as a safe haven for homeopaths who run into trouble elsewhere. And so is the board's penchant for 4-2 voting splits - the two minority votes usually coming from the public members, who are outgunned by the four industry representatives.

State Sen. Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale, has asked the state Auditor General's Office to haul out the old stethoscope and give the board a thorough, formal examination.

It's an excellent idea. It's also timely, because under the state's "sunset" provisions it must be decided in 2006 whether the board will even stay in existence. Or, if it does, whether reforms are needed.

Trust? Maybe.

Verify? Absolutely. Because good medicine and lives depend on it.


Of course homeopathy isn't "good medicine" at all. It's not even medicine! It's still The Ultimate Fake.


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