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Books, Journals, New Media
November 11, 1998

LawComplementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;280(18):1633-1634. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1633-JBK1111-2-1

"Alternative medicine" is a euphemism for medicine based largely on anecdotal evidence. The possible safety and efficacy of many practices and procedures of alternative medicine have been neither proved nor disproved on the basis of peer-reviewed data. Medicine that has not been forged in the fire of peer review is not really medicine at all.

To denigrate alternative medicine as being tantamount to cultism, mysticism, chicanery, or quackery, however, is perpetuation of a caricature. Moreover, the salient reality is that many Americans have an active interest in alternative medicine. This interest has kindled controversy; indeed, controversies abound. And, perhaps almost invariably, many of the resultant issues and concerns have been funneled into the labyrinthine American legal system.

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