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Doctors and patients fear ban on integrative medical practices

Doctors may be banned from recommending vitamins, nutritional supplements and other therapies under new regulations planned by the Medical Board of Australia.

Many doctors are concerned that the new regulations increase risk for patients and fail to differentiate between evidence-based therapies and more ‘fringe’ practices.

One doctor, Nadine Perlen, is concerned that the regulations could effectively outlaw therapies that are known to support patients with a variety of conditions.

"Potentially a doctor like myself, who is a qualified GP working in general practice, who integrates knowledge of nutrition and biochemistry and gastrointestinal health, could be told … you are not allowed to recommend vitamins or minerals to your patients," Dr Perlen said.

Crucially, there is no evidence the current code of conduct was inadequate or that the proposed guidelines would improve patient safety, according to the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association.

Only one per cent of all adverse drug reactions reported between 2014–16 were caused by complementary medicines, the Association says.

Such is the level of concern about the proposed censorship of doctors, the consultation period has twice been extended due to the volume of submissions from patients and doctors alike.

Patients are encouraged to make submissions before the closing date of June 30.


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