Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vermont Bill H.524 - VT NDs - Prescription Drugs

On February 16, 2012 a legislative committee of the Vermont House of Representatives discussed proposed Bill H.524,, which if passed into law would give naturopaths, NDs, licensed in Vermont the opportunity to take a “pharmacology” exam and permit those who passed to “prescribe”. 

Although I’m not a lawyer, I couldn’t understand how any government could pass such a vague law, one that didn’t specify what the test would cover, who would draw it up or what those who passed would be permitted to prescribe. 

Based on my experience with NDs, I am certain that they do not have the education, skills or judgment required to safely and effectively prescribe drugs. I am certain that they know zilch about pharmacology and toxicology and believe that granting them the same privileges as medical doctors who practice evidence-based or scientific medicine have is dangerous. It is also highly deceptive in that it gives consumers the erroneous impression that NDs are the same as MDs when that is not true.

I expressed my concerns to the committee as did Ben, author of the blog, The Vermont Medicine Show, a Vermonter with a Masters in Philosophy but no college credits in any medical science. Ben explained his lack of qualifications to prescribe drugs and practice medicine to the committee and also told them that he had taken the “pharmacology” exam offered to NDs in Vermont and that he had passed it.

Harry Chen, MD, VT Commissioner of Health, and Chris Winters, an attorney and the Director of the VT Office of Professional Regulation, who are, I believe, the ones who introduced Bill H.524, spoke in favor of it as did naturopaths Sam Russo and William Warnock. 

Sam and William represented VT NDs. I represented myself, the victim of an incompetent doctor; Ben represented himself, a VT small business owner and a concerned father. Madeleine Mongan, a lawyer with the Vermont Medical Society, was going to speak opposing the bill but do to lack of time, she had to return the following day to do so. Madeleine planned to give evidence showing that the NDs’ claim that their education is the equivalent of an MDs is erroneous. 

Ben recorded some of the oral testimony and posted it on his blog:
This is the written testimony I submitted:

Hearing On Vermont Bill H.524 
Naturopaths & Pharmacology
February 16, 2012

Belief-Based Medicine vs Evidence-Based Medicine

Naturopaths, NDs, lack the knowledge required to use drugs safely and effectively. They know nothing about pharmacology or toxicology.

Naturopaths practice a belief-based system of medicine rather than an evidence-based or scientific one. They believe in the healing power of nature and natural products. When presented with overwhelming evidence that their beliefs about silver were inaccurate and potentially dangerous, they ignored it showing that in addition to lacking the knowledge required to use drugs safely and effectively that they also lack the judgment required to do so. 

Rosemary Jacobs

Representing myself, the victim of an incompetent medical doctor, an MD. 

I attached hardcopy of the following:
From the following link to the VT ND Formulary Physician Formulary 20091211.pdf
I copied and submitted the unnumbered title page starting with, “Vermont Secretary of State Office of Professional Regulation 2009 Naturopathic Physician Formulary”, that precedes p. 1.
p. 1 marking the final item “Colloidal Silver Preparations”
p. 5 marking “Silver”

I also submitted hardcopy of:

A Wall Street Journal article by Jill Carroll (June 14, 2001; Marketplace; p. B1; Regulators Crack Down on Web’s New Miracle Cure: Colloidal Silver) which says that “federal regulators say it is a total scam.” It refers to colloidal silver. 

Toxic Encounters Return with Us Now to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Argyrol and Argyria; Ronald B. Mack, MD (NCMJ; sep 1988; vol 49, # 9; p 451-2) in which Dr. Mack describes cases of argyria, skin discolored by silver, and argyrosis, eyes discolored by silver, that he had seen in medical school. 

If anyone would like me to send them the last two, please let me know. Since they are copyrighted, I can’t post them. 
naturopathic education, naturopathic medical schools, naturopaths vermont, sam russo, william warnock, prescription drugs, incompetent doctors, dangerous medicine

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What Chris Kilham, The Medicine Hunter, Doesn't Want You To Hear

On February 3, 2012 I read this article,, on the Fox News site written by Chris Kilham who bills himself as the “Medicine Hunter”, and an ethnobotanist who researches “natural remedies all over the world” and teaches at the University of Massachusetts. 

Mr. Kilham opened his article with:

“If you’re a doctor, pharmacist or other health care practitioner, you know that many people who walk into your office are using supplements, such as herbs. But school did not teach you about these remedies, and unless you have studied the topic of herbal medicine on your own, you have more questions than answers. 
So where do you go to learn more?
The American Botanical Council of Austin Texas is your answer."

I posted this comment right after reading the article:

ABC is a trade organization that promotes the sale of botanical "dietary supplements" and, I suspect, also makes a fortune selling "information" about its products. Suggesting that one go there for accurate information about medicinal herbs is like suggesting that one go to the Tobacco Institute for information about cigarettes although I suspect that due to changes in cultural attitudes that the pitch you get from ABC is far subtler, more sophisticated and discreet than the propaganda put out by the now defunct Tobacco Institute.

My comment appeared on the site under one other in which the author said something like, “Kilham didn’t go to med school or pharmacy school. So how does he know what is taught there?” What the commenter did not point out, perhaps he didn’t know, was that there is a special branch of pharmacy called pharmacognosy that specializes in the study of pharmacologically active ingredients found in natural products including those in plants. Without checking, I believe that there are still pharmacy schools offering degrees in Pharmacognosy and suspect that many more cover it in courses on the history of pharmacy.

But later in the day when I went back to check to see if more comments had been added, I was surprised to find that both my comment and the other one had disappeared and that there no longer was a spot to post a comment. 

When I had originally posted mine there were two photos of Kilham. Under the small one you saw: Print; Email; Share; Comments (1); Like... When I returned, “Comments (1)” had been deleted. I looked and couldn’t find any place to add one much less find the one that I had previously posted. 

I don’t know a lot about computers and I’m not aging well. If I missed the comments, please let me know. (I have saved the piece twice, once showing the comment link and once without it.)

Fox News has a logo above Kilham’s article that says, “ Fair & Balanced”, and since I believe that the article as well as the failure to post my comment shows that the piece is exactly the opposite of that, I think this is something Fox would want to know about. I will try contacting them and report the results, if any, here on my blog.

Chris Kilham, Fox News, American Botanical Council, ABC; University of Massachusetts; ethnobotany; The Medicine Hunter; dietary supplements; botanical drugs