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Ban on alternative medicine studies opposed

Removing complementary medicine courses from universities would weaken the quality of the education and threaten safe practice but not halt demand for such medicines, say academics writing in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).

if “complementary medicine practice is allowed to develop outside mainstream education … it would undermine ‘safe practice and critical appraisal’”, they wrote, according to a report in The Conversation on 16 July.

The academics include Stephen Myers, professor of complementary medicine and director of the Natural Medicine Research Unit at Southern Cross University.

In a response to comments in the journal in March by Friends of Science in Medicine, a body that fights the spread of “pseudoscience” in medicine, the authors charge some members of the medical establishment with trying to stifle divergent views.

“Science sets out to rigorously eliminate bias, not to assert it. The arguments mounted for the closure of complementary medicine courses in Australian universities by the Friends of Science in Medicine in a recent editorial … are highly emotive and, while having a gloss of superficial reasonableness, they do not stand up to critical review,” they wrote.