Should alternative medicines be regulated?

Earlier this week I was listening to radio national and a group of doctors and scientists were campaigning for universities to stop teaching alternative medicines. Their argument was that universities teaching it gives these unproven and unverifiable practices legitimacy they don’t deserve. (Like Keynesian economics. Jokes……..) Readers of this blog should know that I am an atheist skeptic who can be very hostile to ideas I consider stupid. Most alternative medicines and religion come under this category. I am also a pretty hard line libertarian.

From the mid twentieth century on government has created an alphabet of regulation and departments to protect us the consumer from poor quality goods and services. In some cases these departments have done good in many others they have imposed significant cost onto both the taxpayer and the consumer. They have also protected monopolies but creating artificial barriers to entry for new competitors. In fact some experts have argued that the creation of new miracle drugs stopped about the same time as the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. It is quite likely that modern medicine ran out of a low hanging fruit to pick around this time, but there is no doubt that the FDA has made it enormously expensive to develop new drugs.

The creation of regulators for consumer protection is a rejection of the idea that both the marketplace and the court system will provide an incentive for producers to make products that work. Regulation is a vote of confidence in the expert. In the case of alternative treatments sometimes they can provide effective treatment in spite of supporting evidence that such a treatment should work. This is nothing new and not limited to the alternative lifestyle types. Sister Kenny promoted physical therapy as a treatment for polio, her understanding of what polio was complete quackery. However, her treatments were effective in a time before vaccination. The medical establishment then as they do now tried to prevent her from offering this treatment. This was an example of the marketplace being ahead of medical science.

Like many government policies regulation of medical services has unintended consequences. The victims of an unregulated shocky service are loud and politically powerful. However, the people who are priced out of medical services due the increased in price caused by complying with regulation has no voice. Nor are those who die because medication were never developed.

Chiropractors are an excellent example, many people who use these services would love nothing more to see a pain specialist and Osteopath. Chances are those people can’t afford those services. Osteopaths and the broader medical profession resist Chiropractors operating in their area of specialty, they regularly attempt to get the government to regulate against alternative treatments and publicly attack alternative treatments as quackery. No doubt the medical profession would deny this about their financial interest and says something like, the government should fund people to see an Osteopath. Aghhh yes our old friend rent seeking.

The broader point is in the examples of chiropractors is to regulate them assumes people are stupid. That people would continue to see people throw away money on services that fail to deliver results. I’m sure as medical science develops betters ways of treating backpain the chiropractic profession will be dramatically reduced, however until then these professionals are delivery a service people believe work and that people are willing to regularly use.

Ultimately, in an age where people can use the legal system to sue business that fail to deliver services and were information by other consumers are readily available on the internet. Do we really want the Government whom response to vested interests telling us as consumers what we can and cannot buy. I don’t.

28 thoughts on “Should alternative medicines be regulated?

  1. The current health regulation system has been protecting quackery for decades. For example, the pharmaceutical industry, which markets drugs which don’t work, have side effects worse than what the drugs are claimed to cure and which often cause the ailment they are claimed to cure. They are toxic substances and in many cases highly addictive. Their health effects are worse than those of street drugs.

    The doctors who push these drugs are quacks. Many natural substances are genuine remedies. Many prescription drugs are modified copies of these genuine, natural remedies, created solely for the purpose of patenting and marketing.

    The reason that the natural substances don’t sell is that they are not profitable, either for doctors or the pharmaceuticals, and therefore are not prescribed by doctors. These drugs are far more highly priced than their natural counterparts, which are available without prescription in health food stores and supermarkets.They are also more profitable because they don’t work – healthy people are not as profitable as sick people. Selling people drugs which keep people sick increases the sales of drugs.

    Some of these drugs are useful for emergency purposes, but they are marketed and prescribed for long term use.

    The government cooperates with and protects the pharmaceutical industry and other branches of organised quackery in such a way that they dominate the health industry and keep real medicine underground. The pharmaceutical industry is effectively entirely unregulated as far as protecting the public from it’s hazards is concerned.

    The worst that can be said about many “alternative therapies” is that they don’t work. They do not present a hazard. They are not even as expensive as pharmaceuticals and other conventional quackery treatments, including unnecessary or ineffective surgeries

  2. ” For example, the pharmaceutical industry, which markets drugs which don’t work, have side effects worse than what the drugs are claimed to cure and which often cause the ailment they are claimed to cure. They are toxic substances and in many cases highly addictive. Their health effects are worse than those of street drugs.”

    This is bullcrap. Utter tosh.

    “The doctors who push these drugs are quacks. Many natural substances are genuine remedies. Many prescription drugs are modified copies of these genuine, natural remedies, created solely for the purpose of patenting and marketing.”

    So these drugs are remedies like the natural substances they mimic or they don’t work. You seem confused.

    “Some of these drugs are useful for emergency purposes, but they are marketed and prescribed for long term use.”

    Name one, you freaking crackpot.

    “The government cooperates with and protects the pharmaceutical industry and other branches of organised quackery”

    You’re not a libertarian. You’re a left wing troll trying to give us a bad name.

    “The worst that can be said about many “alternative therapies” is that they don’t work. They do not present a hazard. They are not even as expensive as pharmaceuticals and other conventional quackery treatments, including unnecessary or ineffective surgeries”

    Lies.

  3. JSC, excellent article.

    What I find disturbing is how hard it is for terminal patients to use experimental or trial drugs. If it doesn’t work, they are doing something noble and basically donating their body to science.

    Not much to add, because this is so well written. Well done sir!

  4. “This is bullcrap. Utter tosh.”

    Good to see you backing your comments with the usual arguments and references.

    “Many natural substances are genuine remedies. Many prescription drugs are modified copies of these genuine, natural remedies, created solely for the purpose of patenting and marketing.”

    So these drugs are remedies like the natural substances they mimic or they don’t work. You seem confused.”

    They attempt to create modified versions of the original substances which have the same effect. They claim that they do this to improve on the natural substance. They don’t succeed. Because the chemical make-up of is different to that of the original substance, it has a different effect and a hazardous instead of beneficial one.

    The companies market them anyway with claims that their product works and that the natural one does not. They do this for profit.

    ” “Some of these drugs are useful for emergency purposes, but they are marketed and prescribed for long term use.”

    Name one, you freaking crackpot.”

    Would you take the word of a pharmaceutical research chemist?

    http://thepeopleschemist.com/

    http://overthecounternaturalcures.com/

    ” “The government cooperates with and protects the pharmaceutical industry and other branches of organised quackery”

    You’re not a libertarian. You’re a left wing troll trying to give us a bad name.”

    Why would I bother? I couldn’t discredit libertarianism as well as you do.

    My comment above fits very well with libertarian thinking. One of the objections to big government is that it protects cartels. Left-wingers believe that government restrains big business – even though they complain louder than anyone else the numerous times when it does the opposite.

    “The worst that can be said about many “alternative therapies” is that they don’t work. They do not present a hazard. They are not even as expensive as pharmaceuticals and other conventional quackery treatments, including unnecessary or ineffective surgeries”

    Lies.”

    The accumulative expense of prescription drugs is highly expensive compared to the cost of most alternative therapies. You should know.

    There is not much point in posting criticisms of other posters if you don’t make any arguments.

  5. “Good to see you backing your comments with the usual arguments and references.”

    Where are yours? “The people’s chemist”. What a crock of shyte.

    Piss off, troll.

  6. ” “Good to see you backing your comments with the usual arguments and references.”

    Where are yours? “The people’s chemist”. What a crock of shyte.”

    I just stated my opinion. You are the one abusing me for doing so.

    “Piss off, troll.”

    Again, I just stated my opinion. That’s what comment pages are for. It is you who is trolling. You behave like a Nazi SA lout, not a libertarian.

  7. loki,

    All you have ever contributed here is thus far:

    The insane theory that banks destroy the economy by supplying money which there is a demand for, (unlike central bank money which is actually often oversupplied)

    demanding that libertarian parties cease to exist,

    and spouting some Scientology like nonsense about pharmaceuticals being evil, but which have saved billions of lives.

    I am sure you are simply here to try to give us a bad name.

    Bugger off.

  8. ” All you have ever contributed here is thus far:

    The insane theory that banks destroy the economy by supplying money which there is a demand for, (unlike central bank money which is actually often oversupplied)”

    Banks don’t supply money, they hold money and loan money. The trouble is that today they loan money which is simultaneously in the accounts of the depositor and the borrower, which is a physical impossibility and only possible by fraud. To supply money, banks would have to manufacture money, which they don’t. Money comes from applying labour to resources.

    “demanding that libertarian parties cease to exist,”

    I didn’t demand that. I merely stated my reasons for why I would not join one.

    “and spouting some Scientology like nonsense about pharmaceuticals being evil, but which have saved billions of lives.”

    Not lives, dollars.

    “I am sure you are simply here to try to give us a bad name.”

    Don’t worry, dot, I’ll leave that to you.

    BTW, all you have contributed here is abuse to dissenting posters. I think you are here simply to kiss arse.

  9. “The trouble is that today they loan money which is simultaneously in the accounts of the depositor and the borrower, which is a physical impossibility and only possible by fraud.”

    No. In a legal and accounting sense, this is wrong. Accountants disagree with you. Case law disagrees with you.

    “I didn’t demand that. I merely stated my reasons for why I would not join one.”

    No, you suggested that we disband the LDP and educated the public so it is inevitable that a Parliament full of libertarian leaning independents get elected. Fantastical childish nonsense.

    ““and spouting some Scientology like nonsense about pharmaceuticals being evil, but which have saved billions of lives.”

    Not lives, dollars.”

    Laughable new age, anti business, horseplop.

    “BTW, all you have contributed here is abuse to dissenting posters.”

    Incorrect, moron.

    “I think you are here simply to kiss arse.”

    Mainly to shut down idiotic concern trolls like you.

  10. “No. In a legal and accounting sense, this is wrong. Accountants disagree with you. Case law disagrees with you.”

    Oh no, not accountants and lawyers. A lot of lawyers and accountants disagree with libertarianism too. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with vested interest.

    “No, you suggested that we disband the LDP and educated the public so it is inevitable that a Parliament full of libertarian leaning independents get elected. Fantastical childish nonsense.”

    Ah, suggested, not demanded. A libertarian party in government would be made up of libertarian representatives from various electorates. You don’t need the party to have the representatives. It is their numbers which make them the majority in parliament, not a party. You need to have the representatives first to form the party in the first place.

    ” “Not lives, dollars.”

    Laughable new age, anti business, horseplop.”

    Not anti business, anti-cartel. The pharmaceutical industry is supported by the government.It makes it’s billions illicitly, with government support, selling ineffective and harmful drugs. That’s socialism, not free-market. It is not anti-business to oppose government support of big business. In a libertarian society, government stays out of business and business stays out of government.

    ” “BTW, all you have contributed here is abuse to dissenting posters.”

    Incorrect, moron.”

    LOL. Was that intentionally funny?

  11. “Oh no, not accountants and lawyers. A lot of lawyers and accountants disagree with libertarianism too. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with vested interest.”

    No, accounting standards and case law. Are you illiterate or just dishonest? Um yes vested interest of accountants. Yes they’re all paid a yearly bribe to keep “the system” going. Yeah right moonbeam.

    “A libertarian party in government would be made up of libertarian representatives from various electorates. You don’t need the party to have the representatives. It is their numbers which make them the majority in parliament, not a party. You need to have the representatives first to form the party in the first place.”

    This is insane, workable, destructive BS.

    “The pharmaceutical industry is supported by the government.It makes it’s billions illicitly, with government support, selling ineffective and harmful drugs.”

    Actually it’s perfectly legal and the drugs work. The problem with the TGA is that NOT ENOUGH drugs are released, not vice versa.

    Piss off, moonbeam troll.

  12. “So much of standard medicine is medieval barbarism and irrationality. So they don’t criticize from a position of righteousness.”

    Correct. There have been many great advances in medicine which have their place. Many pharmaceutical drugs have their place in cases of emergency. But the medical establishment has come under the control of political and financial vested interests who have used their position to dominate and misinform doctors and the public. The government has been an essential element of this growth in dominance all the way.

    Anyone who dismisses this is naive and misinformed. A “moonbeam”, you could say.

    I recommend G. Edward Griffin’s “World Without Cancer” for a detailed history, from the 19th century to the time of the book’s publication, how the medical industry came to be dominated by these interests and who they are. The first edition was published in 1974 and the latest (third) edition in 2011.

  13. “No, accounting standards and case law. Are you illiterate or just dishonest? Um yes vested interest of accountants. Yes they’re all paid a yearly bribe to keep “the system” going. Yeah right moonbeam.”

    Our whole big government, socialist system is based on case law. Accounting practice has to acknowledge the system created by the law. Accountants don’t make the laws.

    It is not controversial for me to recognise that both lawyers and accountants gain financially from the extra work they get due to the existence of that system.

    “This is insane, workable, destructive BS.”

    Thank you for taking the time to unpack and criticise my comments. If you could really see the flaws in my argument and you really thought my comments were destructive, you would expose those flaws for other readers who may be wrongly influenced by them. Typically, instead, you did not argue at all. You don’t really know what you are talking about at all.

    For a political party to exist nationally, first there needs to be libertarians willing to run for office in their electorates. But if those candidates already exist, you don’t need the party for them to be elected, They can each campaign in their electorates without cooperating with one another nationally. Once they are elected, their influence on the governing of the country depends on their numbers. If they are like minded, they will naturally band together on many issues. If they disagree on some things, they should not band together, they should act independently, the outcome being decided democratically and through discussion. If there are a majority of libertarians in government, you don’t need a party. If there is a minority of libertarians in government, forming a party would not make them dominant in the government.

    Simple logic, moonbeam. Try it out some time.

    “Actually it’s perfectly legal and the drugs work. The problem with the TGA is that NOT ENOUGH drugs are released, not vice versa.”

    Much of it is legal. Everything the Nazis did was legal, naturally, since they made the laws. Everything they did was also all wrong.

    Yes the drugs work, in their proper usage (emergency and medical). But they are marketed and wrongly prescribed for uses which they were not designed for and and for which there are severe health hazards. The problem is not that there are not enough drugs, but that drugs are prescribed for the wrong uses. Natural remedies, which many pharmaceutical drugs are based on, are effective, safe and cheaper than pharmaceuticals for common, long term, use. Their artificial, pharmaceutical derivatives are chemically modified copies of the natural substances and therefore do not act in the same manner. They are ineffective and toxic and far more expensive.

  14. Nice one Jinmaro, you can’t help having the same MO.

    John, Sukrit, ban this troll before they destroy the website. I recommend you delete all of the utterly insane posts it has made.

    [JOHN: I've told you Mark... start using your name and posting articles, and then we'll give you the authority to ban people as/when you need]

  15. “It is not controversial for me to recognise that both lawyers and accountants gain financially from the extra work they get due to the existence of that system.”

    Such bullshit. I get extra work too, because with a working banking system, I am not living in a third world shithole.

    “Thank you for taking the time to unpack and criticise my comments. If you could really see the flaws in my argument and you really thought my comments were destructive, you would expose those flaws for other readers who may be wrongly influenced by them. Typically, instead, you did not argue at all. You don’t really know what you are talking about at all.”

    Was this written by a bot?

    “For a political party to exist nationally, first there needs to be libertarians willing to run for office in their electorates. But if those candidates already exist, you don’t need the party for them to be elected, They can each campaign in their electorates without cooperating with one another nationally. Once they are elected, their influence on the governing of the country depends on their numbers. If they are like minded, they will naturally band together on many issues. If they disagree on some things, they should not band together, they should act independently, the outcome being decided democratically and through discussion. If there are a majority of libertarians in government, you don’t need a party. If there is a minority of libertarians in government, forming a party would not make them dominant in the government.”

    I needed to scrub my brain with steel wool after reading that illiterate bullshit.

    “Simple logic, moonbeam. Try it out some time.”

    BAM. It’s definitely this Jinmaro freak with MPD, banned from the left wing Lavartus Prodeo for being too fruity and too much of jerk. You are too stupid to hide your MO.

    Ban this freak soon, site admin.

    “Much of it is legal. Everything the Nazis did was legal, naturally, since they made the laws. Everything they did was also all wrong.”

    That’s not even true, they were never legitimate, hence the Nuremburg trials.

    “Yes the drugs work, in their proper usage (emergency and medical). But they are marketed and wrongly prescribed for uses which they were not designed for and and for which there are severe health hazards. The problem is not that there are not enough drugs, but that drugs are prescribed for the wrong uses. Natural remedies, which many pharmaceutical drugs are based on, are effective, safe and cheaper than pharmaceuticals for common, long term, use. Their artificial, pharmaceutical derivatives are chemically modified copies of the natural substances and therefore do not act in the same manner. They are ineffective and toxic and far more expensive.”

    Virtually all prescription drugs are used properly and are effective.

    Guys, I am warning you, delete this troll. He has multiple handles on libertarian websites and blogs, as various females and usually engages in some insane concern trollery and slander.

    Just phuck him off guys.

  16. “Such bullshit. I get extra work too, because with a working banking system, I am not living in a third world shithole.”

    I didn’t say there is anything wrong with getting more work. I merely said that it is an incentive for lawyers and accountants to cooperate with the banking system, so their support of it is not necessarily of it’s legitimacy.

    “I needed to scrub my brain with steel wool after reading that illiterate bullshit.”

    So far you have displayed almost no literacy or education yourself. You respond usually by either agreeing with the party line or abusing those who dissent. Neither requires any intelligence.

    “BAM. It’s definitely this Jinmaro freak with MPD, banned from the left wing Lavartus Prodeo for being too fruity and too much of jerk. You are too stupid to hide your MO.”

    You’re calling me a jerk? Do you ever listen to yourself when you speak?

    “That’s not even true, they were never legitimate, hence the Nuremburg trials.”

    I didn’t say what the Nazis did was legitimate, I said it was legal – and wrong. Do you recognise that some laws are wrong? If you were a libertarian, you would. Much of what the pharmaceutical industry is both legal and wrong, because the laws which protect it are wrong.

    “Virtually all prescription drugs are used properly and are effective.”

    Yes but they are mostly not used properly.

    “Guys, I am warning you, delete this troll. He has multiple handles on libertarian websites and blogs, as various females and usually engages in some insane concern trollery and slander.”

    Who have I slandered? What have I said that could be characterised as “trollery”? Many people do have different handles on different blogs. That doesn’t make them trolls.

    If you were really intelligent, you could silence me by arguing intelligently. So far you have not even tried, except very feebly.

  17. You feeble minded idiot you don’t recognise intelligent argument. You are full of shyte.

    “Many people do have different handles on different blogs. That doesn’t make them trolls.”

    Righto, phuck off.

  18. “Nice one Jinmaro, you can’t help having the same MO.

    John, Sukrit, ban this troll before they destroy the website. I recommend you delete all of the utterly insane posts it has made.”

    You are proof that prescription drugs don’t work. You are an acute paranoid. Right or wrong, my arguments could not destroy this website. Or perhaps you demand ideological purity. That is a totalitarian trait.

    “You feeble minded idiot you don’t recognise intelligent argument. You are full of shyte.”

    Was that an intelligent argument? I’m not smart enough to tell.

  19. dot, I don’t believe you are genuine. Stupidity of the magnitude you exhibit could not exist outside of a laboratory. You must be pretending to be this stupid in order to discredit this website. That is why you side with the authors of the articles – to associate them with a stupid readership. You abuse intelligent commenters like myself in order to neutralise or drown out intelligent comment and discussion and drive off intelligent readers.

    You should have been banned long ago.

  20. I’ll gladly be be banned if loki and all of his multiple personalities never come back.

    I’ll even take it on the chin as a supporter of the ALS and would be author.

  21. “Why not ban them both? They seem to be having a private feud on this site.”

    Partly I have been responding to his criticisms of my arguments, though he is not trying to respond intelligently. As for the feuding, I think only the instigator needs to be banned to end that. Dot is the abusive one and I am just reprimanding him because apparently the mods are helpless with laughter. You don’t think I’d just take those kinds of comments lying down, do you? Would you?

  22. “John, Sukrit, I am waiting for you guys to act. Jinmaro has basically blown his cover and is throwing a tantrum.”

    Psychiatrists call this “projecting”.

    “I’ll gladly be be banned if loki and all of his multiple personalities never come back.”

    We only need to get rid of you for that, because the multiple personalities exist only in your imagination.

    “I’ll even take it on the chin as a supporter of the ALS and would be author.”

    Just having you as a supporter is bad enough.

  23. I thought to myself if I was cashed up that I would offer to fund Australian economic and political blogs that would ban the following users or delete their accounts and somehow block them indefinitely:

    Jinmaro
    Steve from B
    Minty
    Parkos
    Tom N
    Ernestine Gross
    Shiny
    Fran Barlow
    Homer Paxton
    BilB
    Dan
    Graeme Bird
    Possum
    Peter Brent
    Marylin Shepherd
    Niall
    Doc Mercury
    Mungo something freak on the drum.

    Jinmaro, Homer, Graeme and BilB are the most stupid and dishonest and take priority.

    I’m sick of these arseholes turning me into an angry twat.

  24. No! Graeme Bird has the best profile image of all. Otherwise, I agree that would probably be the most constructive thing you would have done for the movement.

    Maybe the angry twat turned us into arseholes. Did you think of that?

    I can’t wait to read an article on free speech by you here. I’d let you be an author just for that.

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