Sunday, 27 July 2008

You're spending my tax dollars on WHAT?

Bear with me, I need to vent.

I have just become aware of this particulare despicable little media release: Complementary Medicine Gets a Boost. From, of all bodies, the federally funded National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. If you go to that link, a bare-bones web page bearing the media release, you may notice the date, 1 April, and laugh heartily and think that it's a sly joke perpetrated by a bored website admin.

No suck fucking luck. The release also appears on 31 March, here. It's genuine. In fact, you can download the grants allocation summary from both pages.

You have got to be kidding me. $7million into research into Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM, for those of you not familiar with the lingo)? Why? Haven't we already got sufficiently absolutely none evidence to throw this aside, be frostily polite to those who complain that they can't get their homeopathy on prescription (when all you really need to do is turn on a tap) and concentrate on medicine that has evidence behind it?

And then we have Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, quoted as saying

"There is growing testimony that complementary medicine can make asignificant, cost-effective contribution to public health inchronic-disease management and in preventative care."


Oh yes:

"Until now there has been a gap between those who believe in and use complementary medicine and the strength of evidence to support that use. Today's announcement is intended to help bridge the gap."

Well fuck, do you think the gap is because there is no evidence? Perhaps those who "believe in" CAM have as much justification for doing so as those who believed that drinking poisoned Kool-Aid when comet Hale-Bop passed would result in being picked up by a passing space ship?

"More than $2 billion is spent nationally, with up to two-thirds of theAustralian adult population using at least one product and one in fourusing complementary medicine services."

That does not justify spending money on it. I know we live in a democracy, but fuck: Isn't there some basis for evidence in public health spending? Let them spend money on CAM, and then support the doctors to explain their idiocy to them when the treatments don't work and they end up in hospital.

The projects funded by the NHMRC will deliver evidence-based studies,including clinical trials, to strengthen acceptance and integration ofalternative therapies into the health-care system.

Oh really? You mean you've chosen the outcome before conducting the studies? I rather think that "evidence-based studies" (why are we having any other kind when dealing with health issues?) won't "strengthen acceptance and integration" at all. Quite the opposite.

Not only does my private health insurer provide rebates for chiropractic services, but now my tax dollars are directed towards proving the unprovable.

If there was a major political party worth voting for, I'd be jumping ship faster than a rat on speed.

Link to the media release, 1
Link to the media release, 2
Link to the NHMRC main page

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