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Alternative medicine a worry

Fraser knocks new remedies not based on any ‘solid’ evidence

Henry Fraser

Henry Fraser

Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Henry Fraser is defending his stance on alternative medicine after warning about the practice on the weekend.

Professor Fraser tells Barbados TODAY that medicine should be based on “solid scientific construct” in contrast to practices such as homeopathy.

“There’s a great deal of stuff out there, which goes under the euphemistic title of alternative medicine. It’s really not based on any evidence, almost always,” he said, explaining that Western medicine had been proven to work, having gone through rigorous trials, and thorough investigation and documentation.

On Saturday, Professor Fraser raised alarm about the increasing number of alternative medicine practitioners in the country, as well as the emergence of more medical schools.

He indicated that the UWI and professionally trained practitioners were under threat as a result.

“Our great University of the West Indies, the standards we set and the training most of us here have received, are under constant daily threat by a new society, which is constantly seduced by glamorous claims of many forms of alternative practices and by the claims of business-oriented medical schools whose raison d’etre or reason for existing is business first, and medicine is merely the business of their business,” he said at the start of the 75th Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conference organized by the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners and UWI.

“Only by practising to the highest standards of medical knowledge, skill, ethics and care for our patients will we achieve the best results and genuine life satisfaction.”

The professor also expressed grave concerns about the poor showing of medical practitioners at the two-day conference held at the Lloyd Erskine
Sandiford Centre

And with mandatory requirements for continuing education for doctors being introduced in Barbados several years ago, he questioned their absence from the event.

“If only 170 doctors of almost 500 doctors in Barbados attended the CME conference, one has to wonder what is happening. Are many doctors planning to retire next year because they haven’t fulfilled the requirements or are they spending thousands of dollars going overseas to family medicine or other speciality conferences in North America and Europe?”

He noted that the content of the conference, conducted twice a year, was tailored to suit the Caribbean situation, and took into account issues such as diseases that were common in the region.

“It’s a hugely important conference. Everything that is done here is done largely as a result of requests from the keenest doctors.” he said further.

11 Responses to Alternative medicine a worry

  1. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I think the real focus should be ensuring the regular health care is sound – – – all other forms of practices WILL be, whether made known or hidden – – – then there comes a thin line with religions and ways of life and health practices this can touch – – – whether the island is on restricting i.e. Indians from using their traditional herbal way or setting up shop or the Asian community from selling their medicinal products if it be made a case under religious grounds – – – good spin – – – then with patents to drugs spanning 20 years though TRIP’s and other assiated agencies the common man can’t afford always the recommend drugs and might have to make out with safe herbal ones, that sometimes when used with pharmaceutical drugs cause complications – – – structural violence dictates the pricing of from a cold or fever tablet to that of cancer and terminal illness medication to be placed at whatever price – – – this construct is responsible for population control in allowing millions to suffer in some countries for the lack of a cold or flu tablet – – – and what can be done . . . I know for capitalist reasons and to ensure the markets of consumerism globally of pharmaceutical drugs get on and off shelves be sustained . . . there will always be cultural solutions with herbal remedies to some things whilst modern medical practice still has its place – – – the 2 will need to work along, unless there is a case where a particular alternative procedure is proven to cause damage even if used in the “safe way” . . . The problem is bigger than “John or Kay don’t use the “bush tea” I might be hearing a bigger voice proactively protecting sales and legally looking for avenues to prevent cultural and other ways for sales of alternative medicines given a contextual voice – – –

  2. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Here is where opposing voices like Dr. Vandana Shiva come to song like a wilderness echo to the context of “the seed” . . .

  3. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Here is where opposing voices like Dr. Vandana Shiva come to sonnd like a wilderness echo to the context of “the seed” . . .

  4. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 19, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    It is one thing to preach on Alternative medicines but in the other voice is the strong control of markets and patents that regulate life – – – I think both have a rightful place in society and should be taken contextually – – – Barbados is a diverse community and to overly dictate medicinal usage but instead not concentrate on sound care in the hospital and regular medical care at its best, will lead to a legislative battle on the freedom of religion and cultural operation – – –

  5. Robert Holloway
    Robert Holloway May 20, 2014 at 1:21 am

    It is good for medical practices to be aware of solid alternatives , the issue a lot of times is the substance and quality control of the alternative . In fact one also has to be aware of prescribed medical prescriptions at knockoff prices and / or the source

  6. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 20, 2014 at 4:36 am

    I agree but all I’m saying is that in all the technicality and caution paid to alternative medicine there is also a similar caution paid to some pharmaceutical ones too. I agree with the Senator and also disagree realizing there is a place for both, and that both can be abused or used irresponsibly. What I also hear that’s not said is a capitalist voicing and a marketing or sales pitch in proactive sense before the “alternative takes over too much” . . . Just my interpretation

  7. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 20, 2014 at 4:46 am

    The other thing we seldom talk of is in 3 rd world agencies the “bad drugs” or inferior drugs packed on the shelves under a name more affordable that still isn’t any better. . . Here we go with population control and only they who can afford will have proper medication or suffer without blame because the state says ” Tom or Jane cah say dum en get someting” but how reliable in some cases is the question or how potent, or may not be the full potency in a drug offered. This still causes death or poor health to those who rely on pharmaceutical, thinking they are in goody hands getting some but never enough dosages or strength in some medication. It’s a big neoliberal and capitalist topic, not just a hot or cold issue. At the root is a discussion on who can afford and who “we” think will have to make do. . . I don’t speak to hear myself talk or need a like Facebook tick for approval. I study the principles that govern the practices and fully understand its not as simple as presented, but packed with bigger politics of decisions that affect the masses immensely.

  8. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 20, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Too few Bajans get involve in heated debates in what they ought to, but run to a frenzy and like Pierre Bourdieu is controlled in consumerism to the good benefit of they who congratulate the masses on “good behavior” which in most cases is dociloty or passivity. A title is great but more ordinary Bajans especially those running out of secondary or tertiary institutions owe it to their families to be more involve in the critique of macro discussions, or see in some cases poor decisions go hardly opposed, due to a national inattentive state. Instead of hear this someone will say “I know he he en nabody who de mars he think he is” Lol. He en Lord dis or Sir dat to blog dese tings.

  9. Adrian M Chase
    Adrian M Chase May 20, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Geez ….this guy▲▲▲…loves to see his own typing.

  10. Fraser Young
    Fraser Young May 20, 2014 at 7:14 am

    ignorance of Alternative medicine and its practices is rampant, to cast the same blanket over all alternative medical practices is not an educated stance

  11. Clotelle Holder Fertur Lux
    Clotelle Holder Fertur Lux May 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Dr Fraser needs to get with it!! All over the world people are embracing alternative or complementary medicines! Just as he has noted that Western medicine had been proven to work, having gone through rigorous trials, and thorough investigation and documentation, Chinese medicines, Acupuncture and many of the alternatives have also been proven to work! The research is there, and it’s sound! Dr. Fraser only needs to look and see! Chinese medicine and acupunture has been around over 5000 yrs, Western medicine as we know it only 200yrs. I think alternatives have stood the test of time and will continue to survive and you know what? The patients are the ones who will benefit from having a choice and an alternative!!


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