What does a lady who thinks she can send psychic energy she calls Qigong over the telephone to heal people, a former devotee of Bhagwan Rajneesh, a dentist who thinks he can diagnose by pushing someone’s arm down, an anti- immunization chiropractor, and an assortment of acupuncturists, herbalists, American Indians, a black, a nun, entrepreneurs, physicians, insurance wonks, healers and even an animal rights activist who sells natural personal care products have in common?

Answer: Your future health care sponsored by your friendly federal government with your tax money.

In March of 2000 President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13147 establishing the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. On July 13 he announced 13 members, with an additional 6 were added for a total of 19 members.

In establishing the commission the order states that “a growing number of Americans are using alternative approaches to health promotion, and medical treatment. People are looking to their health care providers to treat the whole person not only the illness.” The commission was authorized because of this perceived public interest in and use of unconventional health care.

The commission has been charged with addressing research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices and products; delivery and public access to CAM services; dissemination of reliable information on CAM to health care providers and the general public; and appropriate licensing, education, and training of CAM health care practitioners. The commission’s recommendations on public policy and legislation are due to the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services in March 2002. Individuals described as being “knowledgeable in complementary and alternative medicine,” that is, advocates, practitioners and promoters, make up the commission. The skeptical scientific community was completely ignored in the creation, development, and appointment of this commission.

Even given the popularity of alternative practices and products based on media coverage and marketing the commission seems peculiar in light of the existence of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The NCCAM currently operates with a $68.7 million dollar budget out of the National Institutes of Health. This seems to represents a duplication of already funded programs and research. Of significance is the credibility the special appointment of the commission imparts to practices and procedures which in most cases simply do not measure up as good science.

Bluntly put, the actual value and efficacy of most alternative/ complementary practices and products is very questionable. With the emergence of science based medicine from the dark ages of alchemy and magic, treatments and products which have entered the mainstream of health care are based on principles of biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and other natural sciences. While not

Re-Inventing Medicine in the 21st Century
The White House Commission on Complementary
and Alternative Medicine Policy




What’s in the News



Books and
Other Stuff