Why run a risk agenda for CAM regulation?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, 2008, 20 (4), pp. 136 - 140
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Practitioners are often concerned at the mention of complementary medicine's inherent risk. Industry groups certainly refuse to acknowledge that any risk can be associated with complementary medicines. Various industry spokespersons have made comments refuting the need for regulation because 'the lower risk profile of complementary medicines mean that [any] tougher line is unwarranted' (Creswell 2008) or 'natural therapies are actually safer than eating meat from a delicatessen' (Birnbauer 2008). Considering Australia has approximately 11,500 cases of food poisoning every day (resulting annually in 18,000 hospitalisations and 120 deaths) and the preparation and sale of food is highly regulated this is hardly an appropriate analogy (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2008). Although the direct risks of complementary medicine are often relatively low when compared to other health practices, pharmaceuticals for example, they still pose sufficient risk to warrant regulation. This article will explore in depth that acknowledging this risk isn't necessarily detrimental to the profession and may actually benefit qualified practitioners.
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