Category: Politics and Regulation

Stanislaw Burzynski (upper panel) and Robert O. Young (lower panel), two quacks whose activities reveal the weaknesses in how the practice of medicine is regulated.

Stanislaw Burzynski and Robert O. Young: How two quacks of a feather illustrate how poorly states regulate medical practice

One of the weaknesses in our system of regulating the practice of medicine in the United States is that, unlike most countries, we don’t have one system. We have 50 systems. That’s because the functions of licensing physicians and regulating the practice of medicine are not federal functions, but state functions. Each state sets its own laws and regulations governing the practice...

/ November 23, 2015

The DC as PCP: the battle resumes

It has been almost five years to the day since I wrote my first post in “The DC as PCP” series. These posts (listed here) chronicle the continuing battles among various factions within the chiropractic profession over the subluxation and its many iterations, educational requirements for chiropractic colleges, their legal scope of practice, and whether chiropractors are – or are not—primary care...

/ November 12, 2015

Matt Ridley’s not-so-mythical “myth” of basic science

I’m a clinician, but I’m actually also a translational scientist. It’s not uncommon for those of us in medicine involved in some combination of basic and clinical research to argue about exactly what that means. The idea is translational science is supposed to be the process of “translating” basic science discoveries in the laboratory into medicine, be it in the form of...

/ November 1, 2015
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Antivaccinationists and the Nation of Islam protest in front of the CDC, but don’t you dare call them “antivaccine”

Cranks of a feather quack together. Antivaccinationists team up with the Nation of Islam to protest vaccines at the CDC.

/ October 26, 2015
Choosing Wisely

Choosing Wisely: Changing medical practice is hard

One of the hardest things to do in medicine is to change practice in the face of scientific evidence that what you're doing isn't working. Quacks never change, but medicine does. The change might be slower and messier than we would like, but change does happen. Choosing Wisely is an initiative designed to bring about change by discouraging the use of interventions...

/ October 19, 2015

“Safe” dietary supplements can land you in the emergency room

If there’s one thing I’ve been consistent about, it’s that, however ridiculous all the other woo I routinely discuss here is—homeopathy, reiki, reflexology, I’m talking to you and your friends—herbal medicine and supplements might have value because they might have a physiological effect that is beneficial in treating or preventing disease. Of course, if that’s the case, it’s because the herb or...

/ October 18, 2015

The Amarin case: off-label promotion and a double standard for prescription drugs vs. dietary supplements

A recent court decision enjoined the FDA from threatening prosecution against a drug manufacturer for off-label promotion of a prescription drug. Based on this and an earlier decision by an appellate court, it appears that the FDA can no longer prosecute a pharmaceutical manufacturer for a truthful and non-misleading off-label promotion to health care professionals, at least within the jurisdiction of the...

/ October 15, 2015

Sarah Hershberger: “Health freedom” and parental rights vs. child welfare

One of the more depressing topics that I regularly write about on this blog includes of analyses of news stories of children with cancer whose parents decided to stop science-based treatment (usually the chemotherapy) and use quackery instead. There are, of course, variations on this theme, but these stories take form that generally resembles this outline: A child is diagnosed with a...

/ October 12, 2015
Ben Carson fires up the Mannatech faithful by telling them how it helped him cure his prostate cancer. Well, that and the nerve-sparing prostatectomy he underwent and the fact that the spine lesions he thought to be metastases were really not metastases at all.

Presidential candidate Ben Carson: Shilling for Mannatech with his very own alternative cancer cure testimonial?

Over the years, mainly at my not-so-super-secret other blog, I’ve frequently made the points that the vast majority of physicians are not scientists and, in fact, that many of them suffer from a severe case of Dunning-Kruger when it comes to science outside of biomedical sciences—or even biomedical sciences outside of their medical field of expertise. The most common science I’ve seen...

/ October 11, 2015

Chiropractors Lobby for Acceptance by the VA and TRICARE

It seems alternative medicine is infiltrating into more and more organizations that should be based on science. We have quackademia in medical schools, integrative medicine clinics in hospitals and medical centers, government funding for alternative medicine research and education, coverage of alternative medicine by government and private health insurance, and acceptance of alternative practitioners in the VA and in military hospitals. Two...

/ October 6, 2015