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At least it’s a start – ending the subsidy of nonsense therapies

May 5, 2012

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Government plans to cut subsidies to a “range of natural therapies that have not been shown to be clinically effective”. The list includes aromatherapy, ear candling, crystal therapy, flower essences, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, reiki and rolfing, but exactly what will be cut will depend on a review by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley. About time!

Many of these therapies are subsidized via the private health insurance rebate. I hope other holders of private health insurance have done as I have and complained to their insurers about part of their premiums being wasted on these useless techniques. Now, hopefully, we might see some action.

The government has apparently quarantined the ‘mainstream’ therapies from the cuts, and unfortunately this category includes acupuncture and chiropractic. Doesn’t Professor Baggoley get to investigate whether these are clinically effective? Who’s responsible for deciding in advance that acupuncture, for example, is clinically effective, and on what evidence?

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3 Comments
  1. Martin Lack permalink

    Dare I investigate which of these bogus therapies (also known as “licences to print money”) the UK government has subsidised and/or promoted…?

    Anyone in any doubt should read Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science (if James Delingpole thinks it’s rubbish it must be good…)

  2. I’m sorry but I daresay that you opine quite wrongly regarding what is and is not worthy of the designation “clinically effective”. You list both acupuncture and chiropractic as unworthy of the designation “clinically effective” which was the cause for them not being cut. Are you unaware of the several studies which give credit their credence? There are several scientifically viable studies done by governments, medical communities and independent researchers which lend to the credibility of both chiropractic and acupuncture. It is quite possible that you were exposed to stories or hearsay accounts which represent the professions poorly; however, your correlations are misguided.

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