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Is it ethical for medical practitioners to prescribe alternative and complementary treatments that may lack an evidence base? — No

John M Dwyer
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (2): 79.
Published online: 18 July 2011

Emeritus Professor John Dwyer says doctors should not give alternative therapies their sanction

No While the answer to the question in most situations is a definite “no”, the issues associated with the need to ask the question are important and troublesome. In this most scientific of ages, when orthodox medicine is committed to embracing an ever more evidence-based approach to clinical practice (and still has a long way to go), consumers of health care are increasingly exposed to a plethora of nonsense (non-science) claims that waste their money, distance them from effective care strategies and, not infrequently, cause harm. More than half the population will partake of some form of alternative or complementary therapy each year, spending more than two billion dollars to do so!1 Of course it is important to understand why this is so.

  • John M Dwyer

  • University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: j.dwyer@unsw.edu.au

Competing interests:

None relevant to this article declared (ICMJE disclosure form completed).

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