Department of Health's Lin I-hsin:
Balanced Alternative Medicine Management
The chairman of the Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy under the Department of Health talks about Taiwanese officialdom's cautious, reasoned approach to non-mainstream therapy.
Balanced Alternative Medicine ManagementBy Ming-ling Hsieh
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 412 )
One of the reasons why the average patient uses traditional or alternative medicine is because he believes it is possible to complement orthodox medicine, or because he is convinced that traditional or complementary therapies have a certain curative effect. They may also be cheaper and without side effects or help strengthen the immune system, alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life.
From this perspective we should probably be more open-minded toward such approaches.
Presently, what the Department of Health (DOH) regards as standard medicine are the modern medical treatment systems commonly known as Western medicine, Chinese medicine, and dentistry.
To date, the only formal pronouncement we have made regarding therapies other than the ones just mentioned was the public declaration of "Procedures outside the Purview of Healthcare Management" of 1993.
But there is a proviso, which stipulates pursuant to the Medical Care Act that practitioners may not advertise their therapies.
Three years ago the Bureau of Medical Affairs, DOH, publicly solicited categories and types of alternative medicine as well as relevant research that looks into the reasons for and scope of demand for alternative therapies. In 2007, we also explored relevant management models for techniques such as skin scraping, reflexology, and cupping. As recently as this year, the Committee commissioned two research projects on Qigong and Ba Duan Jin (Eight Section Brocade) exercises.
We believe that after we have gained a better understanding and have seen more presentations of such techniques, we will be able to sort out more appropriate and more efficient ways of balancing the public's needs and safeguarding the public's safety.
Translated from the Chinese by Susanne Ganz