On the slim chance that you’ve been perched on the edge of your seat wondering how the New Mexico appellate court ruled on chiropractic prescription privileges, whether the Council on Chiropractic Education got approved for another three years as an accrediting agency, if NCCAM ever came clean about spinal manipulation, and the fate of Brandon Babcock, DC, at the hands of the judicial system, here are your updates.
Prescription privileges for New Mexico chiropractors
A surprisingly titillating tidbit about New Mexico “advanced practice” chiropractors.
As discussed in previous posts, New Mexico “advanced practice” chiropractors succeeded in getting limited prescription rights. The statute specifically says they can:
prescribe, administer and dispense herbal medicines, homeopathic medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, glandular products, protomorphogens, live cell products, gerovital, amino acids, dietary supplements, foods for special dietary use, bioidentical hormones, sterile water, sterile saline, sarapin or its generic, caffeine, procaine, oxygen, epinephrine and vapocoolants.
Dangerous drugs or controlled substances, drugs for administration by injection and substances not listed [above] shall be submitted to the board of pharmacy and the New Mexico medical board for approval.
Apparently, the Chiropractic board couldn’t read the plain language of the statute and blew off this requirement, even though their own lawyer told them they couldn’t. This got them hauled into court by the medical and pharmacy boards. The International Chiropractors Association joined the fight.
The New Mexico Court of Appeals has now ruled unanimously that the chiropractors violated the statute in failing to get the required approval. This means they can’t inject any of the substances listed above because delivery by injection automatically kicks these products into the drug category.
The chiropractors remain undeterred. They attempted to get the legislature to broaden prescription rights this year, including controlled substances, but failed. At the heart of this effort is Bill Doggett, DC, who is committed to primary care physician status and full prescription rights for chiropractors. He was also instrumental in getting the limited prescription rights chiropractors now enjoy.
Let’s see what Doggett has in mind in the way of PCP practice and prescription rights if he eventually gets his way with the legislature. Back before the Court of Appeals quashed his hopes, Doggett planned to begin offering a procedure to regenerate healthy vaginal tissue. As quoted in an on-line article from the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation subtitled “[Doggett] Says Chiropractors There [in NM] Are Already Providing Gynecological Exams”), Doggett stated:
It’s actually a PRP (plasma rich protein) procedure that DC’s in NM will be able to do when they settle the ICA suit. Using a proprietary technique, the growth factors in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are extracted from that blood sample and injected into an area near the clitoris and into a the [sic] area of the upper vagina that is most important for the sexual response (the O-Spot) using a patent-pending procedure. Because these areas have been numbed with a local anesthetic cream, patients experience little or no discomfort during the procedure.
To be fair, Doggett isn’t the only health care provider pushing this procedure. It is being promoted by a group of MDs who will train physicians and nurse practitioners to use their system. (Also available, the Vampire facelift.) Best I can from the website, which has a soft-porn quality to it, there has never been a clinical trial of the O-Spot technique. Did Doggett complete the O-Spot training? I don’t know, but a search for his name does not show up in their list of providers.
Council on Chiropractic Education will probably get another three years
In my last post we looked at the battle among various chiropractic factions over continued recognition of the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) as the accrediting agency for chiropractic schools. According to a press release from the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) has voted to continue the CCE’s recognition for another three years. Significantly, there were three dissenting votes. The NACIQI is an advisory body and the final call is up to the US Department of Education.
According to the ICA, there were a “large number of witnesses” at the December 12th hearing, including 18 students and more than a dozen private practitioners. “The majority of those speaking expressed deep and well-documented issues and concerns with the CCE’s standards, policies and procedures and highlighted the degree to which division over the direction of the CCE has come to dominate debate within the chiropractic profession.”
If the CCE’s recognition is continued by the Department of Education, the battle is hardly over. The ICA vows to “hold the CCE accountable to their pledge on governance reform negotiations.” And no doubt the rest of the dissidents will be holding the ICA accountable on its pledge to hold the CCE accountable. We’ll be watching.
NCCAM still manipulates spinal manipulation
Over a year ago, the post “NCCAM manipulates spinal manipulation” decried the misinformation about spinal manipulation and chiropractic on NCCAM’s website. The main criticism was that the information rests on the false assumption that chiropractors always use spinal manipulation for the same purposes as other health care practitioners. NCCAM’s discussion failed to tell consumers that chiropractors may purport to “detect” subluxations and use spinal manipulation to “correct” these subluxations. NCCAM also presents only the chiropractic view of the risk of cervical artery dissection following neck manipulation. Finally, it naively assumes that chiropractors who “specialize” have adequate education and training in these “specialties” and that they will appropriately prescribe dietary supplements, including having sufficient knowledge of supplement-prescription drug interaction. In other words, NCCAM does an extremely poor job of applying its supposedly “rigorous” research standards to the subject of chiropractic.
Well, they can’t say they didn’t know better, because after the post appeared I told them. Here’s the rather mealy-mouthed response I got:
Dear Ms. Bellamy:
Thank you for your e-mail to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) about your blog post commenting on our Center’s spinal manipulation and chiropractic information.
We appreciate your thoughtful input on our information. We will keep your comments on file for future reference when we next update our content on these practices. Our goal is to produce accurate and informative publications, so we routinely review and update the information on our Web site.
To develop our materials, we use information from a wide range of science-based resources, which include peer-reviewed journals from PubMed, Federal Government Web sites, and subscription databases. Then our publications go through a review process, which includes reviews by experts in the field. We list at the end of each publication the references that we used to develop it.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us.
I don’t know what NCCAM’s definition of “routinely review and update” is, but it apparently does not fall within the parameters of (almost) two years. The last update of the article on chiropractic was in February, 2012, and my complaint (the post was in July, 2012) did not inspire them to take a second look at their information. The spinal manipulation article was updated this year, but simply perpetuates the same misinformation. So much for NCCAM’s promise to “maintain a strong commitment to providing objective and authoritative evidence-based information to the public and health care professionals.”
Functional Endocrinology practitioner Brandon Babcock sentenced
In “CAM Docket: Functional Endocrinology Update,” we reported that Utah chiropractor Brandon Babcock was going to trial on 11 felony charges related to his functional endocrinology practice. He faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Babcock was found guilty of six counts of exploiting the elderly in October and was sentenced in early December to six months in jail.
Babcock lured patients with free “gourmet dinners” at which he pitched his “diabetes breakthrough.” Then, without their knowledge or consent, he signed them up for a credit scheme to finance their bogus treatments. It is not clear from the news story how much of the exploitation charges had to do with the financial shenanigans and how much had to do with his practice of functional endocrinology.
Over in Colorado, the medical board’s order to cease and desist directed against Babcock’s fellow chiropractor and functional endocrinology practitioner Brandon Credeur is, as best I can tell, still in effect. The medical board charged Credeur with practicing medicine without a license after he received a very light slap on the wrist from the chiropractic board. His Functional Endocrinology of Colorado website is still up.
Apparently chiropractors remain undeterred by these events. Within the last couple of months a chiropractor came through Tallahassee offering a free dinner and talk on the wonders of Functional Endocrinology for diabetes. I thought about going but just couldn’t stomach the idea.
Happy New Year!
If your New Year’s Eve plans include a free gourmet dinner make sure you know who’s picking up the tab. Whatever you do, have a safe and CAM-free evening.