Medicine vs alternative medicine in South Africa

One of my recent posts mentioned those people that want to give more recognition to traditional healers; something I think would be a terrible mistake. I’m somewhat buoyed by hearing that the Health Products Association of SA (HPSA), a rather misleading name since they produce alternative medicines, is suing the minister of health, Aaron Motsoaledi, over coming regulations. It means that the department of health is doing the right thing. The regulations would require even alternative medicines to show that they are both safe and beneficial.

That the alternative medicine industry is opposing such regulations should call its utility into question. They are admitting that they have neither evidence of safety nor benefits of using their products. That probably sounds strange to anyone that uses their products or has seen their advertising, which will promise the moon at times. The fact is, it’s very easy to mislead the public and make grand claims if no one is going to ask that they be backed up. It’s a totally different game to try and convince scientists and doctors that something works without real evidence. When there is no evidence, we have no reason to trust their claims.

On a side-note this story showed two very annoying problems with journalism these days. The linked News24 article was actually produced by the South African Press Association and is repeated word-for-word by News24, The Citizen, Times Live (which includes the Sunday Times) and OFM. There are probably ones that didn’t show up in my search either. What’s the point in having different newspapers reposting exactly the same article? I find it lazy and pointless. Furthermore, they are reporting on a story that was published in the Sunday Times (which I don’t have access to) but only News24 even tried to link one anywhere, though not to the article itself. Isn’t part of the idea of HTML pages that you can easily link to other pages? That they don’t do that in this day and age is astounding.

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