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May 1996

The Cuban Experience: False Hope for a Cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(5):606-607. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130598019

In medicine, whenever a chronic disease lacks a proven effective treatment, the opportunity exists for practitioners to offer unproven therapies to patients who are desperate for a cure. Often these therapies, which are usually without any scientific basis, are available only in countries where consumer and medical regulations that safeguard the public are either nonexistent or unenforced. With the rise of alternative medicine, some practitioners of unproven methods claim their therapies are beyond the understanding of conventional medicine and are therefore exempt from scientific evaluation. Such unsubstantiated claims are understandably met with great skepticism by the medical community.

Practitioners of unproven therapies commonly refuse to provide scientific data to corroborate the safety and efficacy of the treatment modality they are promoting. Such was the case in London for the bee venom treatment for retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The practitioner of this therapy was so emotionally persuasive that even well-educated men and

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