Category: Politics and Regulation

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

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to anger most antivaccine activists, it’s a skeptic calling them “antivaccine.” The reason, of course, is that (1) many of them actually believe they are “not antivaccine” but rather “pro-vaccine safety,” even though their words and actions proclaim otherwise and (2) they crave legitimacy. They want desperately to be taken seriously by the government and scientific...

/ October 26, 2015

Choosing Wisely: Changing medical practice is hard

We here at Science-Based Medicine like to point out that arguably the most striking difference between science-based medicine (and the evidence-based medicine from which we distinguish it) and alternative medicine, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or (as it’s called now) “integrative medicine” is a concerted effort to change for the better. In other words, in SBM, we are continually doing studies to...

/ 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

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
The Lyme spirochete, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (but not chronic Lyme disease).

More Lyme ‘Guidelines’

I noted with understanding that the Doubtful News can’t take it anymore. The relentless tsunami sewage slurry of pseudo-science (who says I can’t alliterate?) has worn her down. She is: currently experiencing a phase in which I can’t seem to bring myself to promote another ridiculous story in the media about a haunted location, scary sounds from the sky, or the latest...

/ October 2, 2015

“Female Viagra?” Misleading Headlines and Regulatory Dilemmas

The FDA recently approved flibanserin (brand name Addyi) for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in pre-menopausal women. The story of flibanserin illustrates several of the issues we have confronted on this blog: It was hyped in the media. Misleading headlines called it the female Viagra. It was initially rejected by the FDA and was approved only after extensive lobbying...

/ September 29, 2015

Keep Naturopathy Out of the VA!

AMVETS has joined with The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians in seeking to “promote natural, non-pharmacological approaches to treating patients suffering from chronic pain.” They are petitioning Congress and the VA to authorize bringing licensed NDs into the VA system. As a veteran myself, a retired Air Force Colonel and an MD, I find this appalling. During my twenty years service in...

/ September 22, 2015