s Rolfing, Kinesiology, Crystals and other Preternatural Practices! - Why am I'm paying for them? | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/06/2012         Volume. 4 No. 5   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the June edition for i2P, Information to Pharmacists E-Magazine.
While it is traditional for the pharmacy business cycle to “dampen down” at this time of the year, the lack of optimism in community pharmacy seems more noticeable this year.
While there is much to be concerned about, the old adage about “when the times get tough, the tough get going” has never been truer.
Opportunities abound in this current climate of change. All you have to do is do some forward planning and capture your share of forward movement.
And there is much to excite as is evident in the current articles presented for your use.

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for June 2012

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Feature Contribution

Inside NZ- Changing Times for Pharmacists

Dr John Dunlop (PGDipPharm, MPharm, DPharm(Auck), FACPP, FNZCP, FPSNZ, MCAPA)

Community pharmacists in New Zealand are waiting with bated breath to see the final iteration of the latest pharmacy services contract.
Most have now attended one or two meetings to become better acquainted with the thrust of the new service specifications which aim to move the funding model away from reliance on a dispensing fee to funding for professional services.
These services may include vaccinations, medication reviews, warfarin testing and looking after patients with long term conditions.
There are two levels of service;
a) those requiring a pharmacist to be registered in the basic scope of practice, and
b) those services – such as vaccinations – that will require the pharmacist to up skill and credentialed for the service provision.

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Share an Innovative Future Direction

Neil Johnston

Some people create scrap-books or family photo albums to preserve memories or important hobby material.
I do similar exercises in a business and a professional sense whenever I find a good idea.
Some of these ideas, commonly found on the Internet, I catalogue for future use by researching all the potential applications that could absorb any new idea, and I write a concept paper about it.
Then, when something new appears that could provide enhancement, I revisit my concept paper and update it with this new information.
As a result, my desktop is littered with a large number of concept papers that are filed for future use, or amalgamated with other concepts as awareness builds for a meaningful project.
They are all projects in development.

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The Pharmacy Guild, because of what it is, will have difficulty promoting the next generation of community pharmacies.

Neil Retallick

Those of you who are regular readers will know that, by and large, I think the Pharmacy Guild of Australia does a pretty good job of promoting the two horns of the interests of its members and the healthcare of the average Australian.
But, as Bob Dylan continues to remind us, “...the times, they are a’changing...” In fact, it is hard to remember a time when community pharmacy was confronted by more dynamic intra-industry and extra-industry forces.

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So you want to be a pharmacist?

Gerald Quigley

I had the pleasure this afternoon of speaking with pharmacy students from RMIT University.
What an inspiring group!
I headed, having read at breakfast, a garbage piece of journalism written in the Herald Sun Melbourne, implying that every pharmacy is ripping you off unless they are selling discounted cold and ‘flu remedies.
In this cynical piece, the journalist naming himself as “Public Defender” quotes “if you do your homework to source a cheaper product, then you are going to end up with money in your pocket”.

Comments: 1

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9 Key Performance Indicators for Building An Effective Profit Plan (Part 1)

Chris Foster

As the 2012 financial year draws to a close, it's a good time to reflect on last year and highlight those things that went well and those that may have impacted negatively in the pursuit of your goals.It's also a great to spend some time re-evaluating your personal and business short, medium and long term goals in the light of events over the last year.The achievement of your goals will in many cases be dependent on setting and aspiring to specific financial targets. It's important that recognise that many of your personal goals will require you to generate sufficient business profits to fund those aspirations

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Smart businesses catch the "Age Wave"

Harvey Mackay

With each passing birthday, some wise guy asks me if I'm finally going to retire.
Oh, how I hate that question.
I love my work, and I love to work.
And as it turns out, I'm part of an emerging demographic: the longevity revolution.
It's also an underrated generation. To confirm my suspicions, I turned to the real expert in this field.

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Where is the care in health care?

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

I have recently been experiencing health care from a different angle as I have accompanied my elderly mother through a prolonged period of hospitalisation (seven weeks) in five different hospitals, both public and private.  As my mother has short term memory loss and I have her medical power of attorney I believed it was very important to be involved in my mother’s journey through the health care system.  This has provided a very different perspective from either being a care provider in my role as a pharmacist or even from the times I have been a patient.

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All Evidence Must Pass a Test for Integrity

Peter Sayers

No single source of evidence can be regarded as reliable even if derived from controlled clinical trials and published in a reputable journal.
The reason for this is that there has been no system for validating clinical trials and allowing open comment.  Intellectual fraud is commonplace.
All clinical trials need to be replicated by an independent external body and no published evidence should be regarded as complete without this tick of approval.
A statement regarding replication should appear prominently at the beginning of each published paper to clearly illustrate its status.

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Rolfing, Kinesiology, Crystals and other Preternatural Practices! - Why am I'm paying for them?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

When the budget came out last month, private health insurance (PHI) was suddenly in the spotlight when funding was allocated for the investigation into so-called 'natural' services they include in their'extras'. Having left Medibank two years ago, when they announced they were including a rebate forhomeopathy, this is music to my ears.

Comments: 9

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Call for urgent paradigm shift to bring nutrition into medicine

Neil Johnston

I was recently sent an email from ACNEM as a follow on from the Second Nutrition in Medicine conference at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.
It seems that awareness is growing once again, about the usefulness of nutritional science and its application to the prevention and treatment of illness.
That this subject is not front and centre for any healthcare program has always been a bit bewildering to me.
Of course, you can't patent most nutritional products can you?
It's not that long ago pharmacists had their own college of clinical nutrition...and let it go.

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Taking a Snooze

Mark Neuenschwander

I’ve been thinking about taking a snooze.
The hungry Bermuda Triangle is out my window to the west. I’m on a nine-hour flight between Washington DC and Sao Paul to address I Simpósio Internacional de Farmácia Hospitalar e Clínica. My title is “Traceability and Patient Safety in the Drug Dispensing and Administration Processes Using Barcodes”—a real snoozer. Napping passengers surround me.
Six or seven flights ago, a young woman holding a Costco-sized jar of earplugs stood up as I approached my row.

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Perceptive, Prescient Dr Peter

Barry Urquhart

“The Peter Principle” lives.
 In 1969 Dr Laurence Peter released a management book, with co-author Raymond Hill, which was an irreverent study of what became known as hierachiology.
 The underlying contention of “The Peter Principle” was that everyone in a bureaucracy is promoted to their level of incompetence.
 An extension of the principle, verified by ubiquitous anecdotal observations, is that everything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails.

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Pharmacy Clinical Spaces

Neil Johnston

Clinical spaces are those spaces dedicated for fee-paying clinical services..
To date, one of the difficulties of carving a suitable clinical space from a pharmacy environment is the ability to find a quiet spot as well as one that allows for speech privacy.
I have concluded that a range of different spaces are required to deliver pharmacy clinical services so that they are able to be differentiated by type of service and privacy level.
Thus a layout and design for the clinical spaces will become as important as the total layout for the entire pharmacy. Integrating the clinical environment into a retail space will be a significant challenge to overcome, but it is a challenge where creative pharmacists will be able to generate a range of unique pharmacy solutions.

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Vitamin Bashing or Bad Science?

Staff Researcher

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, June 11, 2012

by Steve Hickey, PhD, Andrew W. Saul, PhD, and Robert G. Smith, PhD
(OMNS June 11, 2012) There is a global tendency to popularize pharmaceutical industry pseudoscience that harms patients and prevents health. Far from being critical, the media are easily taken in by corporate medicine. Two recent examples give food for thought. Like so many others in the media, Alex Hutchinson was misinformed about the underlying science when he wrote "Three Reasons to Reconsider Vitamin Pills." [1] Sometimes the lack of scholarship in medical research is astounding. A recent paper by María Martínez and colleagues illustrates this well. It is bizarrely titled "Dietary Supplements and Cancer Prevention: Balancing Potential Benefits Against Proven Harms." [2]

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Pharma & Wholesaler - Invading Community Pharmacy

Neil Johnston

Over the past four years, i2P has been promoting the concept of “Pharmacy-in-the-home”, the definition of “home” being where a patient actually lives (private home, nursing home, hostel etc.).
More succinctly, the concept of the development of a mobile pharmacy health service has been a project in progress.
Understandably, the concept of a mobile service has also caught the attention of mobile phone manufacturers and their “app” developers, with the latter starting as an interesting innovation, but now turning into an innovation flood.
There is no doubt that pharmacy must change its model of health delivery and become proactive on behalf of patients - to be mobile and have diversity in health programs and individual services

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The Third Industrial Revolution – Digital Manufacturing Coming to a Pharmacy Near You

Neil Johnston

Sometimes you simply have to stand in awe at some new technology breakthroughs because they expand and transform human endeavours to such a remarkable degree.
In manufacturing, the first phase was the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century and later, the production line in the early 20th Centrury-the second Industrial Revolution.
Right now we are on the cusp of the Third Industrial Revolution.
Digital manufacturing is upon us and it will transform the way we work and will be disruptive to all major economies.
I2P has always reported on trends that will affect future pharmacy, and we now note that a lot of remarkable technologies are converging in the form of clever software, novel materials, more human-like robotics, a multitude of web-based services plus new processes.
At the heart of these new processes is the 3D printer.
While pharmacists may regard these technologies as “distant” and are used to planning forward strategies on a five-year timeline, we advise that strategies will need to be planned on a continuous 12 month cycle to keep abreast of developments.
Accordingly, pharmacists must plan investment in their own research to harness this new technology.

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Anti-inflammatory drugs may improve survival from severe malaria

Neil Johnston

A novel anti-inflammatory drug could help to improve survival in the most severe cases of malaria by preventing the immune system from causing irrevocable brain and tissue damage.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have shown that a new class of anti-inflammatory agents, called IDR (innate defense regulator) peptides, could help to increase survival from severe clinical malaria when used in combination with antimalarial drugs.

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Drug allergy breakthrough

Staff Researcher

Australian researchers have discovered why people develop life-threatening allergies after receiving treatment for conditions such as epilepsy and AIDS.
The research, by the University of Melbourne and Monash University, could lead to the development of a diagnostic test to determine drug hypersensitivity.

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Rutgers Study: Vitamin E in Diet Protects Against Many Cancers

Staff Researcher

Researchers find form commonly used in supplements has no such benefit

Vitamin E in vegetable oils and nuts prevents cancer, according to research done at Rutgers University and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
Next time you need to choose between vegetable oil and margarine in that favorite recipe, think about your health and reach for the oil.

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Unlocking the secrets of Indonesia’s natural remedies

Staff Researcher

Supercritical fluid technologies developed by chemical engineers at the University of New South Wales will play a vital role in extracting medicinal compounds from a range of native Indonesian herbs and enable new methods of drug delivery.
A memorandum of understanding was signed today between UNSW and PT SOHO Global Health of Indonesia, a leading pharmaceutical company based in Jakarta, which plans to use these technologies to uncover the evidence-based potential of long-used herbal remedies. 

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SHPA announces new CEO

Staff Writer

SHPA is pleased to announce the appointment of Helen Dowling as the new Chief Executive Officer of SHPA, commencing July 2012.
Helen has been the District Director of Pharmacy for the Hunter New England Local Health District since 2008, and previously was the Director of Pharmacy at the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, NSW.

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Substituting Vitamins and Supplements for Pharmaceuticals in Type 2 Diabetes

Staff Researcher

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 28, 2012
Commentary by Stuart Lindsey, PharmD

(OMNS May 28, 2012) Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the drugstore, we are going to question authority yet again. Readers may remember Dr. Stuart Lindsey as the Frustrated Pharmacist (http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v08n05.shtml). He's back and at it once more, this time presenting an important supplement-based approach to type 2 diabetes. This essay presents ideas that are very possibly a large part of the solution. As with all OMNS releases, it is not meant to substitute for medical advice. Persons should consult their own doctor before making any health decision. - Andrew W. Saul, Editor

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A dark chocolate a day keeps the doctor away

Staff Researcher

In good news for all chocolate lovers, a daily dose of dark chocolate could lower the risk of stroke and heart attack, according to new research.
In a study published today in the British Medical Journal, Monash University researchers showed that dark chocolate's blood pressure- and cholesterol-lowering qualities made it a cheap (and tasty) intervention strategy for the 30 per cent of the Australian population at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Inject Drugs Without Needles

Staff Researcher

The prospect of less painful medicine shots without needles came a step closer this month, as US researchers revealed how they have developed a device that delivers a controlled, tiny, high-pressure jet into the skin without using a hypodermic needle.
While there are already several jet-devices on the market, they tend to be of an "all or nothing" design that delivers the same amount of drug to the same depth each time.
However the new jet-injection device that researchers at MIT have engineered can be programmed to deliver medicine into the skin in a range of doses to variable depths in a controlled manner.

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Under the influence of magnetic drugs

Staff Researcher

For more than three decades scientists have been investigating magnetic nanoparticles as a method of drug delivery. Now by combining three metals - iron, gold and platinum - pharmacists at the University of Sydney believe they have discovered a method for magnetically directing drugs through the body.

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Injection offers hope for treating auto-immune disease

Staff Researcher

Australian researchers have uncovered a potential new way to regulate the body’s natural immune response, offering hope of a simple and effective treatment for auto-immune diseases.
Auto-immune diseases result from an overactive immune response that causes the body to attack itself.
The new approach involves increasing good regulating cells in the body, unlike most current research which focuses on stopping “bad” or “effector” cells, says lead researcher Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson, from UNSW’s Faculty of Medicine and Liverpool Hospital.

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New survival factor for immune cells identified

Staff Researcher

Ms Eleonora Ottina and Dr Marco Herold have identified a survival factor for immune cells
An international team of researchers has discovered that many of the body’s infection-fighting immune cells require a cell survival protein, called A1, to develop and function. Their finding could lead to a better understanding of conditions including leukaemia, allergy and autoimmunity.
The team discovered that without A1, immune cells called lymphocytes and granulocytes could not develop, or could not respond appropriately to infectious stimuli.

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Home-cooked meals add to life expectancy

Staff Writer

Tucking into a home-cooked meal up to five times a week could add years to your life, according to new research.
The study, recently published in Public Health Nutrition by researchers from Monash University, the National Defense Medical Centre, Taiwan and the National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan, found that people who cooked at home at least five times a week were 47 per cent more likely to still be alive after 10 years.

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Major NIH grant to strike down superbugs

Staff Writer

Professor Roger Nation, Dr Kade Roberts, Dr Tony Velkov and Associate Professor Jian Li. Associate Professor Phil Thompson is also part of the MIPS research team.
Doctors treating infectious disease who are down to the last line of defence against antibiotic-resistant superbugs will be buoyed by an A$4.48 million investment in designing new treatments and therapies.
Awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, the grant will support researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and Rempex Pharmaceuticals in California to design and develop new antibiotics that are effective against bacterial ‘superbugs’ that cause life-threatening infections and are resistant to all current antibiotics.

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Tax time – a donation to PSS is a gift to your profession and a deduction for you

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Don’t miss out on making your tax deductible donation to PSS before 30 June 2012.  As the end of the financial year approaches the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) invites all Australian pharmacists to consider making a tax deductible donation to support the work of PSS.  According to John Coppock, President of PSS, “PSS provides a listening ear and support to any pharmacist, pharmacy student or intern wishing to call on the toll-free number. All members of the pharmacy profession should support this service.  We have volunteers based in Melbourne who generously give their time to answer calls.  Other pharmacists can support the service through a tax deductible donation.”

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Pharmedia: Patients won't swap GPs for pharmacist consults

Neil Johnston

Editor's Note: There have been two articles recently in Australian medical media regarding clinical services for a fee through non-medical practitioners. The first being was by a standalone nurse practitioner clinic that closed after only a few months of operation.
The second was simply about a survey asking for comment on pharmacist clinical services. This involved one researcher from Flinders University in Adelaide and a small sample of the general public. The survey was conducted in Glasgow, published in the BMJ and reported in Australia through the e-pages of 6Minutes.
It was thought that this item was worthy of comment by Mark Coleman.
The media item follows and Mark's comments appear after the media item.

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Rolfing, Kinesiology, Crystals and other Preternatural Practices! - Why am I'm paying for them?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

articles by this author...

From a Skeptics Perspective: Loretta Marron, a science graduate with a business background, was Australian Skeptic of the Year for 2007 and in 2011. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Friends of Science in Medicine and that organisation won Australian Skeptic of the Year for 2012. On Australia Day 2014 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM ) for "service to community health"  Loretta edits the websites www.healthinformation.com.au & www.scienceinmedicine.org.au

When the budget came out last month, private health insurance (PHI) was suddenly in the spotlight when funding was allocated for the investigation into so-called 'natural' services they include in their'extras'. Having left Medibank two years ago, when they announced they were including a rebate forhomeopathy, this is music to my ears.

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PHI are health insurance funds and not medical funds.  While they state that they have a responsibility to "provide members with access, choice and flexibility in the treatment of health related illness or injury, through sustainable products", many of the services provided by Alternative Medicine (AltMed) and other so-called 'natural'  health practitioners that PHIs now pay rebates for, are based on alternative belief systems. 

There are 36 PHI funds and all but one, the Doctor's Health Fund, includes AltMed services, so I am now a member of the only fund where I know that I am not directly paying for quackery through my membership fees.  However, despite my best efforts, I am supporting many pseudo-scientific practices thanks to the Private Health Insurance Rebate (also known as the Federal Government 30% rebate) which contributes at least 30 cents for every dollar to pay for private health insurance; including  some of my (and your) taxes.  For some of the PHI's, with no opt-out , try to exclude these unproven services, and you may find your premiums are increased!

Currently, the AltMed Industry is a $3 billion dollar industry, with services subsided by Government funding through PHI's and Medicare, but those days may soon be over.  The 2012 Budget announced that there will be a "crack down on taxpayers' funds being used to subsidise 'natural therapy' services which do not present clear evidence they are clinically effective."   These are reported to include naturopathy, aromatherapy, ear candling, crystal therapy, flower essences, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, reiki and a very odd chiropractic technique called rolfing. 

In an effort to save $30 million a year, the budget has provided the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) with a million dollars and one year to complete his review of AltMed therapies, after which time "the Private Health Insurance Rebate will be paid for insurance products that cover natural therapy services only where the Chief Medical Officer finds there is clear evidence they are clinically effective."  

However, the investigation does not include chiropractic or acupuncture. 

While most of us think of chiropractic as a treatment for back pain, for which there is some evidence, hundreds of chiropractors take the dubious elements of chiropractic into absurd realms, and are openly targeting the lucrative market of babies and children.  The Chiropractors' Association of Australia (CAA), the peak body for chiropractors, has a strategic plan with a vision statement that "chiropractic is recognized as the most effective and cost efficient health regime of first choice that is readily accessible to all people"  as part of a long term goal to challenge the GP's for their small patients. 

The CAA also assess courses for practicing chiropractors such as "Double your Practice... with Children and Families!!" which attracts 4.5   Formal Learning Activities (FLA) hours and includes a wide range of objectives such as "How to build a family/Paediatric Wellness Practice", "How to dramatically increase the number of children and families you see in practice" and "How to have the majority of your patients as children".  

Another questionable course offered by the CAA, and there are many of them, is Auriculotherapy, which attracts 7.5 FLA hours and relates to diagnosing and treating patients through their ears

Chiropractors also widely use a range of unproven devices, such as the Activator  (which is justifiably described as a "stick that goes click")  and the "Insight Subluxation Station"  for diagnostics and treatments. These have also been accepted onto the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods!

Chiropractors have been registered since 1985, but as they are self-regulated unless significant harm to a patient can be proven, there is no consumer protection.  Hundreds of chiropractic websites suggest that they can assist a wide range of childhood health conditions including ADHD, asthma, allergies, bedwetting, colic and ear infection, by using spinal manipulation.   Board members of the CAA are known to run anti-vaccination seminars to new parents, and the majority of the membership of the anti-vaccination group, the AVN is made up of chiropractors.

Complaints sent to AHPRA in 2010, relating to a wide range of claims made on practitioner website, were forwarded to the Chiropractic Board of Australia and two years on, they remain unchallenged.  This is not surprising in that some of their board members still support 'fundamentalist' 19th century-based chiropractic beliefs concerning  the existence of the "Vertebral Subluxation Complex" in the spine; alleged to block mythical "innate energy" which, when released, cures most health conditions and boosts immune systems so that vaccination is not required. 

While there is also some evidence that medical acupuncture  may help with some pain and nausea, it does not alter the course of any disease. While it warrants further research, claims made by other acupuncturists and Chinese Traditional Medicine practitioners are often grossly exaggerated, with some even claiming everything from helping patients quit smoking to  curing cancer, for which, again,  there is no evidence. 

Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM) will be included under the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) umbrella on 1 July 2012.  Based on the hundreds of chiropractic websites still targeting children, I have little confidence that registration will offer any additional consumer protection from recalcitrant CTM practitioners.

While the budget announcement has already acknowledged the lack of evidence for many AltMed therapies, "the elephants in the room";  chiropractic and acupuncture, with a brief that excludes them, will escape scrutiny by the CMO.  This will mean that vaccination rates will continue to plummet, parents of sick children, as well as patients with cancer and other major illnesses,  will be sold false promises at sometimes a huge cost; both financially and through the delay in administering evidence-based treatments. 

While some of the  services investigated by the CMO will be exposed as placebos, for treatments offered by 'fundamentalist' chiropractic and many acupuncturists we taxpayers will continue to pay the 30% subsidy, even though they are clearly not clinically effective.  In other words, for these practitioners, it will remain business as usual.

Return to home

Submitted by Peter Kennedy on Mon, 20/08/2012 - 14:46.

Dear Jenny and Mark
You are aiming your attack in exactly the opposite direction to that which is required.
Loretta and I are not seeking to limit anyone's choices, we are seeking to REMOVE the limits on choices which Medibank and all the other health funds impose (we are not just picking on Medibank, as Loretta points out they ALL do it). We would like to choose NOT to pay for worthless treatments which we never intend to use, but we are not allowed to!
Jenny, rip-off quacks are getting away with murder right now! And WE are being FORCED to pay their "professional fees"!
And Mark, I have never "claimed to be a medical doctor" and unlike you have no vested interest here (except the vested interest I have declared: stopping quacks from taking money out of my pocket against my will for treatments which I never asked for and do not want).

Submitted by Mark Coleman on Fri, 24/08/2012 - 16:10.

Dear Peter,
Taken from the Clinical Excellence Commission website:
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Dr Peter Kennedy MBBS, FRACP

Would you confirm this is not you?
Regards, Mark.

Submitted by Jenny on Tue, 26/06/2012 - 12:03.

Why did my father fight for the freedom of this country from 1936 to 1945 (I was four when he returned). Sadly, the values we treasured so dearly then have now been taken from us. That being freedom to make choices. This controlling attitude being dogmatically shoved in our face about health choices by a woman whom calls herself a scientist but admits to no formal training in health sciences is biased and often poorly resarched. Loretta Marron was born in Germany and migrated to Australia, yet thinks she has the right to dictate how our health system works. So a homeopath advised you against chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2004 ? As a scientist, did you check on the credentials of the therapist before visiting her ? Surely you would have checked on her accreditation and qualifications. All registered natural therapists are affilliated with a professional body such as ANTA,with a strict code of conduct to do no harm and to only treat patients within the framework of their training and capacity as a complementary therapist, NOT a primary health care worker. Surely you reported the therapist to the CRP as you have done to over 800 CAM websites for what you believe to be misleading advertising. Ban CAM and it will become a booming undercover industry with the results being all sorts of rip-off quacks getting away with murder.

Submitted by steve jenkin on Thu, 07/06/2012 - 09:47.

This is Peter Arnold's entry from the published list of members of "Friends of Science in Medicine"

Dr Peter C. Arnold BSc MBBCh BA, Formerly Chairman, Federal AMA and Deputy President NSW Medical Board.

I find it disingenuous for members of FoSiM to not declare their membership when actively engaging in one of their campaigns. In the same way that Marron is a director and paid employee of FoSiM and doesn't declare that either.

This is not modelling best conduct.

Submitted by Joseph Ierano, Doctor of Chiropractic on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 23:50.

I thank Ms Marron for her passionate discourse surrounding the flawed practices of the systems she (and many) refer to as "natural therapies".

As a self conferred sceptic (I have no national award for what is really a sound philosophical state of mind), and similarly having a science grounding but a business 'foreground', I have looked into the flawed practice of chiropractic, the flawed practice of TCM, the flawed practice of Rolfing - which some of my patients turn to for welcome relief of pain - which indeed is NOT chiropractic. I am sceptical of Ms Marron's information here.

In my health discipline travels I stumbled upon the flawed practice of medicine too, and the ever changing flaws of pharmacopeia that we acknowledge as 'knowledge' ever changing. However the whole profession does not need to suddenly fall in to disrepute does it?

Health care providers can be a desperate dissonant bunch, constantly touting that their cures reign supreme. Thats what we tend to do in a free market place that was borne of the literal marketplace where we showed our wares openly. But alas regulation MUST protect the innocent and that is why we are registered professions now. Chiropractic registered since 1978, not 1985, as Marron incorrectly states. I doubt her ability to research a somewhat minor point?

A major point is that Chiropractors do not regulate any differently from the medical doctors they studied alongside with at university. True they may have made stupid claims in the past, thinking they can cure anything outside of the manual care and neuro-musculoskeletal realm they are experts in. But what of the medical manipulation experts who treat children? Yes, they exist. Osteopaths have done so longer than we.

Chiropractors treat children with postural and musculoskeletal dysfunction and spinal pain syndromes daily. Why? Because they have joints and spines. Yes little ones at that. Because spinal care that starts young, conservatively, and as a 'first-choice' practice can avoid the use of drugs and surgery. This does not mean we cure asthma or colic. Or negate medicine. I have treated MDs (several of my DC mates are married to them) and referred to and from. The touting of cure is nonsense that CAA does not tolerate and battles against, like any medical union or body.

CAA, to my knowledge, has never, ever conducted an anti-vaccination seminar and we encourage research to make the latest adverse effects upon children that certain vaccines have had to be a thing of the past. We welcome development of a flawed procedure (that it once was) called vaccination that has been refined over centuries and continues to be. Just like chiropractic has been, just like the three quarters of the world that does still rely on traditional healing.

I challenge Ms Marron to enter into a dispassionate discussion about healing methods, just as chiropractors who stand to show non-evidence based procedures for what they are, and represent the CAA, such as myself. Also, it would be encouraging that she bring the facts to her next article as this one is somewhat flawed. The 'stick that clicks' argument is flawed inasmuch as 'a hacksaw does nothing in the hands of a blacksmith' would. An instrument is an extension of the hand that manoeuvres it, as the extensive research does show it does do 'something'.

However, her main points I respectfully appreciate and can see the benefit in what she is doing. Her probing, more carefully directed, and approached with a mirrored degree of scepticism from the reader could be very useful in refining health care into one integrated system, not just 'natural' and unnatural health care.

Disclosure: I am a volunteer board member and director of the CAA, NSW Branch.

Submitted by Dr Peter Arnold on Sat, 02/06/2012 - 20:26.

Dear Pharmacists,
You expect my profession to respect your knowledge and to collaborate in the prescribing and dispensing of evidence-based pharmaceuticals.
How can you expect to retain our respect when you sell, for purely mercenary reasons, unproven rubbish to the self-same customers whom you and I are trying to treat scientifically?
Collectively, you deserve the bent spoon award given to you some years ago by Australian Skeptics.
Why don't you tell your Guild and your Society to insist on scientific practice by their members?
There are certainly exceptions amongst you, but your collective behaviour makes us doctors see you as nothing but glorified, unscientific shopkeepers.
Shame on you, as a collective!
Dr Peter Arnold

Submitted by Mark Coleman on Mon, 04/06/2012 - 09:46.

Dear Peter,
Given that you have held senior positions with the AMA and the Doctor's Health Fund it is understandable that you would make strong statements against pharmacists - it has always been the case, with a political rather than a scientific basis.
The lack of collaboration with other health professionals by the AMA, is well known and understood, but not accepted.
And when you talk about dispensing evidence-based pharmaceuticals, please examine the literature and news reports that demonstrates that a large amount of this "science fiction" is fraudulent and is used as a basis to extort large sums of money from medical consumers.
Even the retractions of exposed medical fraud continue on in some form, as that evidence has been utilised to derive other conclusions (also posing as evidence).
So pharmacists do not trust or respect the "evidence" you promote and rely on their own professional experience and judgement to sort their way through the minefield of "science fiction".
This has not, however, prevented some inter-professional and fruitful relationships developing on an individual and personal basis.
Those are formed around the integrity of those individuals, free of politics.
The "bent spoon award" is a political fiction developed to prop up the notion that medical evidence is the only evidence base, and that it is somehow the only standard.
Pharmacists prefer to judge themselves via an independent community evaluation through the Morgan-Gallup poll.
In 2012 they find their approval rating for ethics and honesty up by 1%, to a total of 88%.
For the same period, the doctors approval rating fell by 4%, to a total rating of 83%.
Thus five percentage ratings points separate pharmacists and doctors in the ethics and honesty department.
What does this tell you?
I know that this continually frustrates the skeptics and the medical profession that there is a strong quality component in the service provided by pharmacists.
However, pharmacists can see a need to improve their primary care services, but not by the dictates of the medical profession or the skeptics. Any constructive criticisms are taken on board with the remainder being dealt with for what it is.
Improved quality pharmacy services will be delivered as chargeable services, and are currently being designed.
If they attract the same consumer approval rating as for all other pharmacy services, no doubt the medical collective will oppose any government reimbursement to these quality services as well?
i2P continually takes the pharmacy leadership organisations to task for any perceived failings. This is an ongoing process if you read some of the articles from the archives.
And shame on your collective for its attempts to maintain a market share by trying to manipulate the public purse and eradicate other health modalities that provide greater consumer satisfaction than the medical model.
When you use the word "unscientific" do so in the knowledge that the medical evidence base is horribly flawed and that people promoting flawed knowledge are not respected.
Perhaps you might better utilise your time in retirement to encourage your own "collective" to tidy up its own backyard?

Submitted by Peter Kennedy on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 13:47.

But unfortunately only doctors and their immediate families can join the Doctors' Health Fund, so that's not a solution for most people.

I too complained to Medibank about this and the excuse was "most of our members want us to cover these services". (Do they really? Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to pay for them.) If most of their members wanted Medibank to insure them against losing money at the TAB, would they cover that too?

And then on the other hand, Medibank refuses to cover laser corneal surgery to correct myopia, a procedure with solid scientific proof that it works and that side effects are relatively rare, trivial or easily controlled. Even though paying for one laser eye op in a lifetime would save Medibank decades of payouts for glasses and contact lenses, totalling a much greater expense. The excuse they gave me was "because it doesn't have a Medicare Item Number".

Get that? Medibank won't cover anything that a real doctor does, no matter how beneficial to patient health and scientifically sound it is, unless Medicare also covers (part of) the same procedure/treatment. In fact they apparently legally CAN'T cover it, because the only medical expenses that private health funds are allowed to cover are "gap" amounts of procedures/treatments for which Medicare pays part of the doctor's fee.

But they CAN and DO cover and pay for ANYTHING that any anti-scientific witchdoctor does for the purpose of supposedly improving your health. And we are FORCED to pay for it!

The system is totally upside-down!

Submitted by Mark Coleman on Mon, 04/06/2012 - 09:04.

Dear Peter,
Some of your comments are a bit misleading and confusing.
You have previously claimed to be a medical doctor and if that is correct, you can choose to belong to the Doctor's Health Fund.
That solves your problem of not having to subsidise other health modalities.
The author of the above article is not a medical doctor, yet claims to be a member of the Doctor's Health Fund.
Something is not quite right here!
The fact that other health funds cover a range of modalities you take issue with arises from their member's requests and the fact that those people get better care and service from those modalities than they do from their medical doctor.
Freedom of choice is a concept that most people can live with and you certainly have it...but you seem to choose Medibank as your health fund.
That is your choice.
Yet you seek to limit the choices for all other consumers in association with your "friends".
Your reference to "witch doctors" and "anti-science" have no credibility when compared to the "science fiction" that is published as "evidence" for mainstream drugs.
Given your public position in upholding "clinical excellence" I would suggest that cleaning up your own backyard would attract more support and be a better starting point than attacking other health modalities.
Medical fraud is something that I do not wish to personally subsidise.

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