Scott Gavura, a pharmacist, writes:
The other day, I went to a magic show. The magician manipulated energy fields, pulled toxins out of my stomach, and then gave me a remedy - but there was nothing inside. Then he pulled out a prescription pad, prescribed some Tamiflu, and sent me on my way.
Seem unlikely? Well, the Ontario government is poised to give another type of magician -- the naturopath -- prescribing rights, despite the reams of evidence discrediting their approach to patient health. It's a move that legitimizes a well-meaning but baseless profession, and puts patients at significant risk.
The piece was also published -- without linkies -- last week in the National Post (!?), followed this week by a rebuttal from one of the quacks who stand to benefit from the legislation. (The comments on both pieces are mostly reassuringly sensible.)
For background, here are a couple of articles on naturopathy.
And here's a terrifying site documenting the harm these fake doctors cause.
Here's the text of Bill 179.
Similar legislation has been passed in BC. A recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal describes the powers allowed under it:
In British Columbia, the government last April passed legislation allowing naturopathic practitioners to prescribe Schedule I medications, such as basic primary care drugs like antibiotics. In addition, qualified naturopaths will be able to prescribe hormones, botanicals, high-dose vitamins, amino acids and other natural substances they have traditionally used in their practices, but which are increasingly coming under federal control and scheduling limitations. As such, in many provinces such as BC, only medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians could previously prescribe substances such as digitalis and other botanicals and hormones that naturopaths normally used.
Under BC’s legislation and accompanying regulations, naturopaths will not prescribe certain restricted classes of medications, such as antipsychotics and chemotherapy drugs. The regulatory board that governs naturopathic doctors is now finalizing the standards and list of substances that naturopaths will be allowed to prescribe.
Naturopathy is quackery. It is not science-based. In fact, it rejects one of science's bedrock methods -- double-blind tests -- precisely because such tests demonstrate the utter futility of its 'treatments'. It also rejects vaccination.
And here's the call for action. Under the title I snaffled for this piece, Steve Thoms writes:
Defeating a bill in its third reading is rare, but not impossible. I'm asking for all Swift readers (especially the Canadians and Ontarians) to email the Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, and (email@example.com), as well as the Minister of Long-Term Health and Care, Deb Mattews, (firstname.lastname@example.org). It would also be wise to CC the same email to Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party (ahorwath-qp@ndp. on.ca) and Tim Hudak, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (email@example.com). The bill is under review by the Standing Committee on Social Policy (for a complete list of the members of the committee, click here), so Ontario residents would do well to email them as well. Remember to CC all correspondences, so that everyone knows who else is reading what.
. . .
We really need everyone's help defeating this affront to health care standards and patient safety. If we beat them in Ontario, we just might stop them in their tracks.
If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks a million
Let's get those emails flying! Also, please spread the word to your friends, families, and associates of the not-insane type.