CAM PoliticsProf. Ernst

Evidence-based practice in CAM

CAMIn practice, evidence-based medicine means integrating individual expertise with the best available scientific research.

Prof. Ernst thinks evidence-based practice is “essential for any form of health care.” But how many professional CAM societies incorporate it in their codes of ethics?

First, the details.

  • Codes of ethics from the following organizations were reviewed.
    • Association of Naturopathic Practitioners
    • Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (UK)
    • Ayurvedic Practitioners Association
    • British Acupuncture Council
    • Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
    • European Herbal Practitioners Association
    • General Chiropractic Council
    • General Osteopathic Council
    • General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies
    • National Institute of Medical Herbalists
    • Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine
    • Society of Homeopaths
    • UK Healers
    • Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners

The statements referring to evidence-based practice were compared with the respective codes of British doctors and nurses.

And, the results.

  • Only the General Chiropractic Council, the General Osteopathic Council and the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies oblige their members to adopt evidence-based practice.

The bottom line?

Prof. Ernst concludes, “This discloses double standards in UK health care, which may compromise patient safety.”

The fact is that evidence-based medicine practice is not a priority for most CAM organizations.

Maybe I’m cynical, but even among allopathic medicine organizations it seems that political and profit considerations assume a higher priority than the day-today practice of their members. Case in point is the sweeping healthcare revisions in the US.

More on evidence-based practice is presented here, with a tutorial here.

12/24/09 12:10 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.