Traditional Chinese Medicines Should Undergo Same Scrutiny As Other Treatments Before WHO Includes Them In Standard Care Practices, Opinion Piece Says
Scientific American: The World Health Organization Gives the Nod to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bad Idea
“…Over the past decade proponents of [traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)] have worked hard to move it into the mainstream of global health care — and it appears those efforts are coming to fruition. The latest (11th) version of the World Health Organization’s list known as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) will include these remedies for the first time. According to its own mandate, the WHO sets the norms and standards for medical treatment around the globe and articulates ‘ethical and evidence-based policy options.’ … To include TCM in the ICD is an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice. Data supporting the effectiveness of most traditional remedies are scant, at best. … [W]hile it’s a good idea to catalog TCM and make health workers aware of treatments used by millions, their inclusion in the ICD recklessly equates them with medicines that have undergone clinical trials. … Until they undergo rigorous testing for purity, efficacy, dosage, and safety, the WHO should remove traditional medicines from its list. These remedies should be given the same scrutiny as other treatments before being included in standard care practices” (April 2019).
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