The fight over the teaching of complementary medicines by Australian universities has drawn international coverage, including this piece by the New York Times. In his latest column in this week’s BMJ, Australian journalist Ray Moynihan talks with some of the key protagonists.

Ray Moynihan writes:

The campaign by the Friends of Science in Medicine to shut down alternative medicine courses on campus is raising some fascinating questions about the interplay of science, education and healthcare – and sparking much lively debate.

Leading Australian complementary medicine researcher, naturopath and medical doctor, Professor Stephen Myers told me he sees the campaign as a “witch-hunt.”

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Professor David Colquhoun – who has helped run a successful campaign to close down complementary medicine courses at British Universities – told me he was glad researchers saw it as a witch-hunt. “Good, that’s the intention.” Colquhoun – who’s helping to advise the new Australian group – argues the field is all nonsense, it’s advocates are quacks, and ancient wisdom is “mostly wrong.”

Australian campaign co-founder Professor John Dwyer says it’s not a witch-hunt, but an attempt to remove “pseudo-science” from university courses.

Interestingly, the AMA president Steve Hambleton has withdrawn his initial support for the campaign, telling me he thought the campaign’s pitch had become “much fuzzier and less clear”, and that rather than using a “sledgehammer” by calling for mass closures across campuses, a case-by-case approach might be better.

You can see the full text of the BMJ piece here:






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