THE alternative medicine industry is to be strictly regulated in the same way as doctors in a drive to root out charlatans, say Britain’s Health ministers.
In a move that ostensibly meant to boost public confidence in complementary therapies, a new governing body will demand minimal training and discipline any practitioner who breaks the rules.
However many alternative health practitioners view the announcement with some suspicion. Sales of Chinese, ayurvedic and Western herbal medicines have rocketed in recent years, challenging standard pharmaceutical remedies. And in the process, posed a growing threat to the multi-billion dollar profits made by the trans-national pharmaceutical giants.
This, say some alternative health practitioners, is the real reason behind attempts to regulate alternative medicine.
Alarm bells are said to be ringing at Whitehall, about the danger posed by the amount of “unlicensed and potentially dangerous remedies being ingested.”
It has also been learnt that the new proposals will mean that some herbal treatments, currently available to buy over the counter, will be available only from licensed practitioners. A new code of conduct will also ensure that alternative medical practitioners do not treat patients beyond their level of expertise. Thus bringing all alternative health practitioners under the control of one, government appointed body.
The new proposals raise the prospect of GPs acting as herbal practitioners in addition to prescribing conventional medication.
Approximately one in five Britons use complementary medicine while one in 10 turn to herbal treatments or homoeopathy.
Everyone on the register will be expected to prove both their training and competency and will be able to call themselves a “registered practitioner” in their field of work.