Over the last several months I’ve found myself more excited and enthusiastic about science than at any other point in my life. In parallel, I’ve become more and more frustrated and angry at the amount of nonsense that gets peddled to the public as genuine and plausible science. I wanted to do something, but I was missing that crystallizing moment that would whip me into a state of righteous indignation. Then along came Iowa’s own Tom Harkin.
Senator Harkin, along with Orrin Hatch, was responsible for the disastrous 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Most egregious, the DSHEA took the approval and regulation of ‘dietary supplements’ away from the FDA and severely weakened the agency in the process. Unfortunately, he’s back at it again.
According to Senator Harkin, “It’s time to end the discrimination against alternative healthcare practices.” Of course the source of this ‘discrimination’ stems from the fact that these treatments DON’T WORK! The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the alternative medicine branch of the NIH and another brainchild of Harkin, has spent the last decade studying the effects of CAM. After 10 years and $2.5 billion in taxpayer money, everything tested has performed no better than placebo.
That hardly seems like discrimination to me. A more apt description would be consumer protection. It truly is time to get away the labels that swirl all around this debate. There is no Western medicine and Eastern medicine. There is no allopathic medicine and alternative medicine. There is no modern medicine and traditional medicine. In the end, there is scientific medicine and unscientific medicine. There is medicine that works, and medicine that most definitely does not. If homeopathy, acupuncture, therapeutic touch et al worked, if these treatments survived the large, well-designed clinical trials that are the cornerstone of medical research, they wouldn’t be ‘discriminated’ against. They would be part of mainstream medical practice.
Unfortunately, the complete failure of these treatments in the laboratory will mean very little if Harkin and his allies are successful. I’ll end this with a plea for the few who come across this blog. Stop this bill. Contact your representatives. Let them know that the majority of their constituents are not in favor of having unscientific, unproven magic as part of their healthcare program.