Category: Politics and Regulation

Legislative Alchemy: Michigan House Bill 4531 gives naturopaths a broad scope of practice

Michigan House Bill 4531, if passed, would give naturopaths one of the broadest scopes of practice in the U.S., essentially equaling that of a family practice MD or DO. The bill made it through all the necessary House committees and is now before the House for an initial vote determining whether it will proceed further in that body. If it passes there,...

/ May 12, 2016
medical-error

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.?

A regurgitation of existing data suggested that medical error is the third leading cause of death in America. Is it true? Spoiler alert! No. No it's not. While medical error can and should be reduced, this BMJ article does not justify claims that doctors are a leading cause of death in the United States.

/ May 9, 2016
SB277, which eliminates nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates in California, is a very good law, but it's not perfect. Unfortunately, one provision allows the issuance of medical exemptions based on the say-so of doctors using antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience.

Medical exemptions to vaccine mandates for sale after SB277! Get ’em before they’re gone!

When California passed SB 277 into law, eliminating personal belief exemptions to school vaccine requirements and permitting only personal medical exemptions, I predicted that antivaccine quacks would start issuing bogus medical exemptions. Unfortunately, I was right.

/ May 2, 2016

What (if anything) does “natural” mean?

What does the term “natural” mean on a label? Does it mean anything? Should it mean anything? Good questions. And complicated ones, judging from the list of questions the FDA needs your help in answering. The FDA has resisted defining “natural” in food product labeling, including whether foods that are genetically engineered, or contain genetically engineered ingredients, can use the term. Back...

/ April 28, 2016

Reclassifying thyroid cancer and the willful misunderstanding of overdiagnosis

If there’s one lesson that we here at Science-Based Medicine like to emphasize, it’s that practicing medicine and surgery is complicated. Part of the reason that it’s complicated is that for many diseases our understanding is incomplete, meaning that physicians have to apply existing science to their treatment as well as they can. The biology of cancer, in particular, can be vexing....

/ April 25, 2016
Where's the sauna detox?

NCCIH Strategic Plan 2016-2021, or: Let’s try to do some real science for a change

It’s no secret that we at Science-Based Medicine (SBM) are not particularly fond of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Formerly known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and before that the Office of Alternative Medicine, NCCIH has been the foremost government agency funding research into quackery for the last 24 years, and, of course,...

/ April 4, 2016

April Fool Cannot Surpass SCAM

It’s April Fools’ day in the US of A. One of the internet traditions is to come up with a story that is weird or unlikely, but not so weird or unlikely that it is not believable, in order to fool people that the story is real. I gave it the old SBM try, I really did, but I couldn’t do it....

/ April 1, 2016

Regulating CAM Aussie Style

CAM proponents view National Health Interview Surveys recording the supposed popularity of CAM, an amorphous conflation of anything from conventional medical advice to mythical methods, as an invitation to unleash even more unproven remedies on the public. My interpretation is quite different. I see the same figures as proof that we are doing too little to protect the public from pseudoscience. In...

/ March 31, 2016
Hijack

The hijacking of evidence-based medicine

A hero of the blog, John Ioannidis, worries that evidence-based medicine has been hijacked, and when Ioannidis says something we at SBM listen. But has EBM been "hijacked"?

/ March 21, 2016

Patient Beware: Off-label drug promotion by pharmaceutical companies

Pharmaceutical companies and their sales reps can distribute information, such as medical journal articles, about unapproved (“off-label“) uses of their drugs as long as they adhere to FDA guidelines. However, the FDA takes the position that this information must be distributed separately from information that is “promotional in nature,” i.e., for marketing purposes, a position that is now open to question. Off-label...

/ March 3, 2016