Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ask a silly question

An ABC News health correspondent asks Why Do We Spend $34 Billion in Alternative Medicine? As if it’s a difficult question to answer.

The article written in July 2009 by Lauren Cox of the ABC News Medical Unit casts aspersions on alternative medicine, citing the common explanation that non-Western medical techniques are largely unproven. Scientific research doesn’t extend to many naturopathic cures, therefore people should be wary of them.

Of course, the money involved in conducting scientific testing makes it prohibitive to all but the high-earning pharmaceutical companies – so it’s a double-edged sword. No one can prove alternative medicines really work because no one can pay to prove it.

The article goes on to wonder why people are so willing to fork over cash for natural remedies to illness, then answers it’s own question. Money is a big issue – people without health insurance have to do something. Natural cures, food, vitamins, etc, are less expensive than medical cures – doctor visits with hefty price tags, never-ending prescriptions for drugs, repetitive medical tests than may actually cause the diseases they’re trying to detect, and emergency care bills that bankrupt the insured just as easily as the uninsured.

Why would it be a mystery?

The article also offers another view of alternative medicine as friendlier, more thorough and in fact often more effective than Western medicine. Is it any wonder patients opt for spending more time with a naturopathic doctor who has time to listen to their problems and prescribe a custom path of care, than those 8 minutes with a regular health care professional whose focus is on seeing as many people in a day as possible, prescribing drugs recommended by the pharmaceutical reps that clog their waiting rooms and churning out the insurance paperwork so they can be reimbursed for their time?

I think it’s elementary, Watson. Don’t you?

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