Sunday, January 16, 2011 on "Natural Health Products" and the Misleading Words of Heather Boon [et alii]

here, I cite from an article concerning sCAM 'natural health products' that includes 'consumer rights advocacy' from UT's Boon [see 001., below]; then, I cite from a pro-naturopathy paper Boon was the lead author of that is quite misleading regarding naturopathy's basis (so much for informed consent) [see 002., below]:

001. Joh Hembrey reports in "FAQ: Alternative Therapies -- Natural Health Products: What You Should Know" (2011-01-14)[vsc 2011-01-16]:

"natural health products [...include] vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies and teas, homeopathic medicines and probiotics [...and are a] $4.3 billion [Canadian market per 2004...] natural health products are now considered a subset of drugs under the Food and Drug Act. Health Canada says it ensures that natural health products are safe, effective and of high quality [...except] Health Canada treats homeopathic medicines -- which are made by extremely diluting substances that are said to have effects similar to the condition being treated -- differently [...and] there is also a category for traditional claims, where companies need to submit evidence that a product has been used by a branch of traditional medicine to treat a particular condition consecutively for 50 years, she says, adding they do not have to submit clinical data [...] 'it's based on the evidence [...] if you have good scientific evidence you can make pretty much make any claim you want [...e.g.] if the claim the company wants to make is this cures your headache, then yes, we need to see double-blind, clinical trials [...] the labels have a lot more information then they used to and I think people need to stop and take some time to read the label,' says Heather Boon, associate professor at the University of Toronto [...she says] the package should also include the name and quantity of each medicinal ingredient [except for homeopathy, which doesn't have any!], recommended use and duration, expiry date and risk information [...] Health Canada says consumers should speak with a health-care professional, such as a medical doctor, nurse, pharmacist or naturopathic doctor, if they have any further questions about natural health products."

Note: so there's big money in this, and a huge exemption regarding safety, efficacy and quality for a privileged subset of these medicinal products -- the homeopathic / 'empty placebo remedy'.  Boon tells us that we deserve to be well-informed in the sense of "science" regarding claims on products.  That's a good thing, though exempting items is an unusually kind act of charity.  Does Boon abide by that 'informed consumer' / 'consumer rights advocacy' sentiment herself?  Health Canada labels naturopaths "professionals", but do NDs / NMDs deserve that level of trust and that position of self-policing? [I offer answers below, in 003.]

002. pronaturopathic propaganda / 'a survives scientific scrutiny claim upon the hugely science-ejected naturopathic':

002.a. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine has up the Boon lead-authored study "Practice Patterns of Naturopathic Physicians: Results From a Random Survey of Licensed Practitioners in Two US States" (2004):

"naturopathic medicine [...has] a primary goal [their foremost principle, actually] of enhancing the individual's innate self-healing ability [coded vitalism...] naturopathic medicine is defined by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) as 'distinguished by the principles upon which its practice is based. These principles are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances."

Note: so, you'd reasonably take from this the idea that naturopathy is, as they claim in exhibit A, scientific.  Nowhere in the article is the truly science-ejected vitalistic basis [exhibit B and C, respectively] of naturopathy communicated.

Year-round, I add to those three databases: exhibit A which is the ND claim of science, exhibit B which is the ND basis of vitalism, exhibit C which is the scientific rejection of vitalism -- it's quite an interesting collision to track.

Anyway, you are being misled but, that is a typical naturopathy M.O.:

claim science-basis, don't reveal the science-ejected underneath actuality.

Again, so much for informed consent.

003. so:

does Boon abide by that 'informed consumer' / 'consumer rights advocacy' sentiment herself?

I wish I could confidently say so.

do NDs / NMDs deserve that level of trust and that position of self-policing?
How can you trust that which is false and opaque, and has to problem with it?  
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