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Medical Association Demonstrates Bias

Ron Law
Beyond Alternative Solutions
Advisor to the Natural Healthcare Industry
09-832 4773

Medical Association Demonstrates Bias

The research academics from the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Medical Association are concerned that the natural substance Echinacea could trigger allergic reactions -- so can 150 common every day foods. Do they want them more closely regulated too?

There are deaths documented following the consumption of at least 60 common foods, but none relating to the consumption of Echinacea, anywhere in the world. So why can they conclude that is plain "closer regulation of this substance and other herbal products is required."?

The Medical Association's Dr John Adams showed an appalling bias and lack of understanding of the difference between advice and product on TV1's Morning Television. He also failed to mention that based on the research, 184 of the 1,200 pharmacies in New Zealand failed to give appropriate advice as opposed to only 63 of the 150 health food stores.

This is of grave concern and suggests that the Ministry of Health should immediately tighten the regulation of pharmacies --- especially given their privileged and 'expert' status.

Dr Adams also clearly demonstrated his lack of understanding of the Australian regulatory system. Echinacea is freely available in Australia so imposing their regulatory system onto New Zealand would not improve safety in New Zealand one iota.

Besides, as a recent Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand (Inc.) report, "The Burden of Asthma in New Zealand" pointed out, New Zealand has experienced two drug-related asthma mortality epidemics resulting in more deaths from drug treatment than the disease itself.

Interestingly this excellent report notes that the New Zealand Asthma Mortality Survey identified that problems associated with long-term management of asthmatics included a lack of appreciation by the patient's doctor of the patient’s chronic asthma severity, the inability of the doctor to recognise the severity of an asthma attack, a lack of written guidelines for management and over-reliance on inhaled bronchodilator treatment without additional therapy.

Given that highly preventable medical injury is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand, is the leading cause of death in under 45 year olds, and costs the economy over $4 billion per year, perhaps concern for patient safety is not the motive behind this gutter science.

The natural healthcare industry welcomes the Health Select Committee's decision to hold an inquiry into the appropriate regulation of dietary supplements and healthcare products -- perhaps this should be extended to include a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the reasons for the 1,700 highly preventable medical injury deaths per year in New Zealand -- including 700 from Ministry of Health approved and endorsed pharmaceutical products.

As for the NZMA's view that the sale of alternative medicines should be regulated, again, this highlights their total lack of expertise and understanding of the dietary supplement industry. A review of legistation by a top public law specialist firm has revealed over 26 acts, regulations and codes of practice regulating the diatary supplement industry.

I will be presenting a paper at the upcoming New Zealand Society for Risk Management conference in Wellington on relative risks associated with everyday activities using fatalities as a measure. Natural Healthcare & Therapeutic Products are over 40,000 times safer than "properly" regulated pharmaceuticals and over 100,000 safer than the medical industry per se...

"Plainly, closer regulation of pharmaceutical products and the medical industry is required," says Ron Law. “Perhaps a more effective solution would simply be to remove the State subsidies relating to the medical and pharmaceutical industries… they would collapse over night.”

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