Maryland legislature passes naturopathic licensing bill, but with damage control

It looks like Maryland is about to become the 18th state licensing (or registering) naturopaths unless the governor vetoes this legislation. That is unlikely to happen because the licensing bills passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate. But becoming licensed in Maryland may turn out to be something of a pyrrhic victory.

The companion House (HB 402) and Senate (SB 314) bills moved through the General Assembly with lightning speed, suggesting the legislative wheels were well-greased behind the scenes. The lubricant was compromise by all parties: the NDs, the Maryland Board of Physicians, and Med Chi, the state’s medical association. The result seems to be the product of the legislature giving everyone some of what they want, but no one got it all. The baby got split, and that is never good for the baby’s health.

The warhorse parade

The bills originally introduced were obviously drafted by the naturopaths. It gave them their own governing board. They would be able to perform minor office procedures, use colon hydrotherapy, dispense therapeutic devices for barrier contraception, and durable medical equipment. They could administer homeopathic remedies, nutritional “medicine,” vitamins, minerals and so forth via intradermal, subcutaneous and intravenous routes. And they could practice independently, free of any supervision by a physician. Basically, they would be primary care physicians, which is what they claim they are.

Fortunately, all of that is gone in the version that passed. Unfortunately, there is still plenty to be concerned about. We’ll get to those features in a minute.

I listened to recordings of a couple of hours of testimony before two committees, one House, one Senate. (You’re welcome.) But the groundwork for licensing was laid last year, with a report from the Maryland Board of Physicians based on “Practitioner Workgroup” meetings that included representatives from state government and medical, chiropractic, acupuncture, occupational therapy, naturopathic and “chain drug store” (go figure) organizations, a law/lobbying firm (can’t tell who they represented), and Dr. Linda Lee, the Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Johns Hopkins. These “stakeholders” decided to try to iron out their differences rather than duke out all the issues in front of the legislature.

During the Workgroup meetings (of which there were only 3) the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians trotted out the usual naturopathic warhorses, such as (with my comments in parentheses):

  • NDs are “natural medicine experts” (One cannot claim both to be an “expert” and at the same time ignore the lack of evidence of safety and effectiveness for many of the herbs and dietary supplements they recommend. And the use of homeopathy instantly disqualifies one from claiming “expertise” in anything, even the basic sciences.)
  • “Many patients visit NDs who would not otherwise seek healthcare and NDs assist those patients in entering the system.” (As far as I can tell, there is zero evidence for this position.)
  • NDs “search for the underlying causes of disease.” (True, to the extent diet and exercise may play a role in disease. False, if the underlying cause is something that doesn’t exist, such as “leaky gut,” “chronic yeast overgrowth,” or “adrenal fatigue.”)
  • The pre-med pre-requisites for ND school are the same as applicants for med school. (Except for the small matter that there is no entrance exam for ND school, while med school applicants must take the MCAT.)
  • A med school – naturopathic school “Comparative Curricula” chart showing, among other things that students at the University of Wisconsin Medical School have only 67 more hours in “clerkships and allopathic therapeutics” than ND students in the National College of Natural Medicine’s program. (As is typical, NDs completely ignore the 3-7 additional years of training medical residency requires. And we’d all love to see how they define “allopathic therapeutics” or why they combined this with clerkship hours. What’s the rationale there?)
  • “Significant data exists and continues to increase” for naturopathic practice. (I’ll let one their own examples speak for itself: “Herbs (ex: ‘tumeric’ or ‘curcumin’ into [sic] PubMed) yields 5780 citations.” Query: what information is missing from this example?)

All in all, the NDs presented themselves to both the Workgroup and the legislative committees as educated and trained to the same standards as MDs and DOs, able to fill an unmet need for “health promotion, wellness, disease prevention, and disease management” which they, to the exclusion of other health care providers, could provide in a safe, evidence-based, and cost-effective manner. Their licensure would, in addition, protect the public from poorly trained naturopaths, with their “on-line degrees.” As far as I can see from their presentation to the Workgroup and at the legislative hearings, the evidence they presented in support of their claims is between none and middling. (There is a 400-plus page “compendium” they put together for the legislature. I am attempting to get a copy.)

The Board of Physicians and Med Chi objected to the proposed scope of practice for NDs but not to licensure itself. Both emphasized groups that naturopaths’ unscientific education and training renders them unqualified to diagnose, order and interpret tests, or do anything else beyond use noninvasive “natural” remedies. The Board was adamant that they did not want anything to do with supervising NDs, and who could blame them? Instead they wanted them under the jurisdiction of their own Board (which is, of course, what the NDs wanted). Another possibility they floated was a newly-created Alternative and Complementary Medicine Board, which would also have jurisdiction over chiropractors and acupuncturists, a non-starter as the chiropractors and acupuncturists weren’t about to give up their autonomous boards. Med Chi wanted NDs firmly in the sights of the physicians board, a no-compromise position necessary for their support. Both the Board and Med Chi also objected to NDs using the term “physician.”

(I did not see any mention of the fact that Section 2607 of the Affordable Care Act would prevent insurers from “discriminating” against licensed naturopaths, although apparently Health and Human Services has told insurers they do not need to include naturopaths in their networks.)

As best I can tell, there was not a single skeptical or patient protection group involved. This left opponents from other professions open to the attack that it was all about turf protection. And that is exactly what happened at subsequent legislative hearings. After the chiropractors and acupuncturists were neutralized with provisions in the bill protecting their turfs, the MDs and DOs were left to defend the citadel with pointed questions about why they were always before the Maryland General Assembly trying to limit other health care professions’ scope of practice.

By the time the legislation was drafted and made it to legislative committee hearings, the big battleground turned out to be scope of practice. And it is here that the legislators split the baby, or rather divided the baby up among the various “stakeholders,” as they like to say.

A few MDs testified or wrote letters in support of licensure (integrative medicine’s collateral damage at work), as did a few patients. One patient’s testimony was particularly telling. She has been diagnosed with smoldering myeloma and her oncologist had suggested a watchful waiting to see how things developed. If the disease progressed further, she would go on a regimen of chemotherapy, which is standard practice.

Although smoldering myeloma has a greater risk of progressing to active multiple myeloma, some patients with smoldering myeloma do not make this transition and smolder for many years. Therefore, the current International Myeloma Working Group recommendation is that smoldering myeloma should be observed off treatment outside the setting of a clinical trial. There is at least one small clinical trial that has suggested better outcomes for early intervention, and larger studies are underway to confirm this finding.

So she went to a “naturopathic oncologist,” who prescribed a regimen of dietary supplements and curcumin, which, she pointed out, is being studied at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. This is true, but for lymphoma. Two trials have been terminated and no results are posted. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, curcumin is possibly effective for dyspepsia and osteoarthritis. Apparently, there is some very preliminary research about its use in treating cancer, and the internet chatter is taking that one to the bank. She also ascribed the fact that she had not developed full blown myeloma, and therefore the need for chemotherapy, to her naturopath’s treatment.

To the uninitiated, this might sound impressive, and apparently the NDs thought it so or they wouldn’t have asked her to testify. Yet, what she said was actually troubling: an ND claiming a specialty in oncology prescribed dietary supplements, including curcumin, which has insufficient evidence of safety and effectiveness for cancer and none for smoldering myeloma. And she was attributing lack of progression of her disease to this treatment – was the ND fostering this confusion between correlation and causation?

In fact, each of the patients testifying in favor of licensing attributed improvement to ND treatments (including cranial sacral therapy for a concussion), when in fact the improvement could just have easily been the result of the natural progression of the condition or other treatments the patients were using.

And the results are . . .

The NDs got the scope of practice they wanted in terms of what and who they can treat. This includes:

the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human health conditions, injury, and disease . . .

In other words, they can diagnose and treat any patient of any age with any disease or condition. They can order and perform physical and lab exams, including phlebotomy, clinical lab tests, and order and interpret the reports of diagnostic imaging studies.

And here’s the interesting thing: other than the testimony about the time spent in clinical training (or lack thereof) there was no testimony or documentation, at least publicly available, demonstrating that NDs come out of school capable of diagnosing and treating the broad range of disease and conditions presented by a potential patient population, which includes basically everyone who can walk in off the street and present themselves to the ND. This is a point the DOs and MDs addressed and the NDs never really responded to. Virtually all of the ND testimony consisted of emphasis on their supposed ability to collaborate with other health care providers by serving as the experts in CAM, especially dietary supplements. Well, that’s just marvelous if all your patients happen to present with the limited number of diseases and conditions you’ve seen in your training or know how to recognize. And you can say all day that you will refer when necessary. But you can’t refer if you don’t see the problem in the first place.

Treatments will be limited to:

patient education and naturopathic therapies and therapeutic substances recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.

Thus, the State of Maryland will default to the CNME to decide what “naturopathic therapies and therapeutic substances” are appropriate. I looked on the CNME website and could not find any information about what substances and therapies they do and do not recognize, nor do I see any evidence that they regard making such a list as part of their duties. In fact, the CNME’s standards for what is taught in ND school (if this is what is meant by being “recognized” by the CNME) is remarkably vague. And the bar for what treatments are recognized must be awfully low, considering the fact that ND schools teach homeopathy, acupuncture, Unani (that is, humoral medicine), Ayurvedic medicine, cranial sacral therapy, and a host of other dubious treatments.

After granting NDs the right to diagnose and treat, legislators turned around and piled on a whole bunch of restrictions and safeguards, some of which the NDs agreed to in order to get their feet in the door. Of course, as we know, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is gunning for full primary care physician scope of practice, including prescription privileges, in all 50 states. However, they are amenable to an incremental strategy, getting what they can initially and then returning to the legislature year after year. This strategy is playing out in Colorado right now, where, having gained registration rights just last year, they’ve already managed to get bills filed removing restrictions on their practice, some of which are similar to the ones imposed in Maryland.

Maryland NDs won’t be able to perform minor office procedures or any type of surgery, use transdermal, subcutaneous or IV routes of administration (eliminating their shooting patients up with vitamin and mineral “cocktails”) or colonic irrigation, or prescribe drugs. Nor claim they are “physicians.”

And, best of all, but much to the chagrin of the Board, they will be under the jurisdiction of the Board of Physicians, with a naturopathic advisory committee (2 NDs, 2 MDs or DOs, one consumer).

This advisory committee will be able to

  • Evaluate the content of any clinical, practice or residency requirement for licensure;
  • Develop and recommend to the Board exam standards for licensure, a code of ethics, and continuing education requirements.

Interestingly, one of the duties of the Board will be to collect licensing fees, which were estimated by legislative staff to be as much as $5,100 biennially, making it, by a factor of about 4, the biggest health care practitioner licensing fee in the state. This is because there are only about 25 NDs in Maryland. Fewer licensees means fewer people to share the administrative costs of regulating them. Of course, Maryland can expect to become a magnet for un- or under- employed NDs. According to their figures, there are about 4,750 licensees in the U.S. While some NDs practice in Canada, that number exceeds the number of graduates from ND schools, apparently by a large factor. According to one person who testified at a legislative hearing, the ND schools are graduating 500 NDs per year, although I couldn’t verify that.

As well, all NDs must have a “collaboration and consultation agreement” with an MD or DO, and attest to the Board that the ND will “refer patients to and consult with physicians and other health care providers.” NDs must also have patients sign a consent form stating that the ND’s practice is limited to the scope of practice identified in the statute. (I have to assume here that the ND must actually tell the patient what that is and not just refer to the section of the state statutes where the scope appears. Let’s hope so.)

NDs are prohibited from using “false, deceptive, or misleading advertising.” These prohibitions are typical in health care practitioner licensing statutes. But, while a naturopathic board might not find it problematic for a naturopath to claim, for example, that “toxins” have invaded a patient’s body and therefore “detoxification” is in order, a Board composed of physicians might take a decidedly different view. NDs can’t do anything that doesn’t meet “generally accepted standards of practice of naturopathic medicine.” One wonders what that might be, considering standardization of treatment doesn’t appear to fit into the naturopathic paradigm and their rejection of evidence-based medicine.

However, in addition, they cannot deviate from what is termed “safe care of patients” whether or not actual injury to a patient is established. This is important, for it gives the Board the opportunity to discipline a naturopath for conduct that may well be within the naturopathic standard but is nevertheless unsafe, and without having to show actual injury. Some possibilities: the prescription of dietary supplements where there is insufficient evidence of safety and effectiveness (especially for children, for whom there is virtually no research on dietary supplements), discouraging vaccination by giving parents misleading information about their safety and efficacy, and using naturopathic treatments without advising patients there are more effective medical treatments, or diagnosing and treating one of their non-existent diseases (e.g., food “sensitivities”). They also can’t offer to treat a disease by “a secret method, treatment or medicine,” or promote the sale of goods or services to a patient “so as to exploit the patient for financial gain.”

The bill creates a workgroup to study the development of a naturopathic formulary and make recommendations regarding a formulary, including the types of drugs, medicines and devices to be included and their routes of delivery. But they can’t actually establish a formulary without the legislature giving the green light.

Some disinfectant sunshine

If the Board takes its responsibilities seriously and wants to put in the time and effort, there are some real possibilities to both inform the public about, and protect the public from, naturopathic practice. Here are a few ideas in keeping with the authority granted them by this legislation:

  • Require informed consent, including an accurate (scientifically accurate, not accurate according to “naturopathic principles”) statement of the risks and benefits of any treatment. For example, make them tell patients that homeopathic remedies are water with no evidence of efficacy. Make them accurately state the evidence for any particular dietary supplement. Do not allow them to tell patients they need “detoxification” by falsely stating their bodies are full of “toxins.”
  • Do not accept at face value the ND’s version of their education, training and testing (the NPLEX). There is specific authority to look into it and NDs aren’t telling the straight story. (Why believe an ND who represents his education and training as the same as an MD and qualifies him to diagnose all comers?) Look at the CNME’s accreditation requirements and ask for documentary evidence of what they are taught and details of their training. And beef up the standards where you can.
  • There is no specific prohibition against their selling dietary supplements, homeopathic remedies, and the like to patients, but there is also nothing to prevent the Board from enacting an ethical rule saying they can’t. After all, not selling drugs to patients is already a well-established ethical principle in medicine.
  • Make their continuing education requirements rigorous, and be sure to include the safety and efficacy of vaccination as one of your first required courses.

Finally, I hope Maryland physicians, PAs and nurse practitioners won’t be shy about calling them out on their diagnoses and treatments. Actually, all health care practitioners are required by this legislation to report NDs who are in violation of the statute or the Board’s rules.

The NDs got their licensing statute and most of the scope of practice they wanted. But they did so at the cost of submitting themselves to closer scrutiny (but not actual supervision) via having an MD or DO watching what they are doing. As well, other physicians, PAs, and nurse practitioners will be made aware of how they operate. They had to give up their claim of being PCPs and must tell patients about their limitations. And, if the Board does its job, the public will have an opportunity to examine their education, training, and practice in a way that hasn’t been done before. What comes of this remains to be seen.

Posted in: Naturopathy, Politics and Regulation

Leave a Comment (55) ↓

55 thoughts on “Maryland legislature passes naturopathic licensing bill, but with damage control

  1. Windriven says:

    ” [NDs] will be under the jurisdiction of the Board of Physicians, with a naturopathic advisory committee (2 NDs, 2 MDs or DOs, one consumer).”

    2 NDs who, one expects, will be pro-ND

    2 MDs who, one expects, have the time and interest to serve on the committee. Maybe one of them will be skeptical and willing to refuse to ‘go along to get along’. Maybe not. Many of the best medical schools in the country now have quackery programs: “Dr. Linda Lee, the Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Johns Hopkins.” How many of the best medical schools have a “Center for Let’s Call Bullsh!t By Its Name?” Johns Hopkins doesn’t. How many of the physicians that you know are hard edged SBMers? But let’s be optimistic and score it 1 pro-ND and 1 anti-ND.

    1 Consumer – and what are the chances that the one consumer will have sufficient grounding in science – much less in medicine – to be critical? I’d bet next months health care premium the consumer will favor consumer choice. Score it pro-ND.

    “However, they are amenable to an incremental strategy, getting what they can initially and then returning to the legislature year after year.”

    Sounds like a winning strategy to me. The only thing now that might turn the tide is series of high profile naturopathic misadventures. But while I haven’t been to Public Relations School I could easily spin those misadventures as owing to the restrictions imposed by the legislature and a ‘Medical Board which is careful to protect its own turf.’ If only NDs had the ability to function freely in the full scope of practice, these things never would have happened.

    I don’t see this as a Pyrrhic victory for the NDs. It certainly wasn’t a complete victory but the costs weren’t terrible. The NDs gained ground and medicine lost ground and both sides have troops and powder for another day. But which side has the momentum?

    This all reminds me a little of the ‘war’ on drugs. We will never choke off the supply side as long as there is a healthy demand side.

    1. wilbur says:

      And why do you think there is a “healthy demand side?” Because traditional medicine in this country is utterly terrible. I strongly agree that the role of naturapaths should be strictly limited, but as long as traditional MDs afford patients about three minutes per visit and foists upon them whatever drug has been dumped in the office by the rep who most recently bought lunch for the office, their is going to be “healthy demand” for something else.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Your depiction of medical are sounds like a caricature of even US medical care; no doctor prescribes a medication merely because it is the last one dropped off by the pharma rep.

        But there is some value in your point – the US should have a real, federally-funded healthcare system, not the sad joke that currently exists or even the slight improvement that is Obamacare. Seriously, every other first-world country provides at least some minimum health care through a public option. The US should really, really try it, then perhaps we’d hear fewer stories of three-minute appointments.

        I do not understand how anybody in the US could possibly object to such a system, it boggles the mind.

        1. Wilbur says:

          Fair enough, it was a caricature. But doctors are compromised by their relationships with pharmaceutical companies and medical device suppliers, and the paltry amount of time most dedicate to a given appointment.
          I agree 100% that a minimum care public option makes great sense, and should be unobjectionable.

          1. Windriven says:

            “But doctors are compromised by their relationships with pharmaceutical companies and medical device suppliers, ”

            Yeah. A few. They’re usually easy to pick out.

            Much more dangerous are the drug and device reps who manipulate the facts to push more sales.

            The days when a sales rep would spend his career in the same territory and often with the same company are long over. When that was more common, salespeople understood that their reputations were their most important tool. Usually, a range of medical products were sold by often small regional companies. True professionals (tip of the hat to Foster “Duke” Johns in NOLA, one of the best of all time) never bullsh!tted a clinician to sell a widget because widgets come and go but clinicians hang around for a long time. Today sales reps live and die on quarterly results. The job attracts a different sort of individual today than it did 40 years ago.

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            But doctors are compromised by their relationships with pharmaceutical companies and medical device suppliers

            There are also benefits to pharma reps – doctors with frequent contacts are more likely to prescribe newer medications and treatments, some of which come with unarguable benefits. The free samples they are provided allows patients without insurance (or sufficient disposable income) to receive medications they would otherwise go without. Yes, there are massive problems (which hospitals, medical societies, and individual doctors are trying to fix), but it’s not an unalloyed bad any more than it is an unalloyed good. I would be far, far more concerned with the systematic distortions of the underlying data and clinical trials than I would be with the contact between docs and reps.

            the paltry amount of time most dedicate to a given appointment.

            This isn’t a problem of Big Pharma though, this is due to the incentives of the health care “system” such that it is. Pay for it out of pocket and I’m sure you’d have no problem getting a longer appointment.

            It’s a complicated problem (set of problems really), and making Big Pharma a boogeyman doesn’t help anybody. Somebody has to make the drugs and artificial valves, and unless you want your taxes to go up by a considerable margin, it’s going to be private industry.

            1. Wilbur says:

              Fair enough. And I’m impressed by this site; it seems like a fair and respectful place to exchange views. I don’t mean to blame it all on Pharmas, given the incentives these companies face. But something is very wrong, and needs fixing, when Pharmas are not creating new antibiotics, shorting generics, and instead are literally creating “diseases” like “Low T” (which since the beginning of time has been known as growing old) and creating profitable drugs to fix these new “diseases.”
              I have been able to find some great MDs and they fill a role that NDs never will. But in my experience MDs are increasingly useless and distracted in providing the basic and preliminary care that many people need. So I am willing to at least consider an ND in that role.

              1. weing says:

                “But in my experience MDs are increasingly useless and distracted in providing the basic and preliminary care that many people need.”
                Can you elaborate on this?

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                So I am willing to at least consider an ND in that role.

                Why? The only thing that NDs provide that is of any use is basic advice you can get almost anywhere – eat your fruits and veggies, avoid processed foods, don’t smoke, exercise. But they dollop on top of this a whole bunch of nonsense, like you must eat specific foods high in antioxidants (i.e. expensive acai berries versus cheap apples), that genetic modification is an inherent evil, that organic offers unique, borderline magical advantages, and so forth. And this basic-mixed-with-crazy is often accompanied by outright nonsense like the need for detoxication, homeopathy, bloodletting and energy therapy. Then there are the outright harms such as antivaccination. Frankly, I can’t see anything of merit an ND can provide that wouldn’t be within the purview of a registered dietitian, who wouldn’t lard on the nonsense and dangerous advice. I can see absolutely zero role for NDs that can’t be better met by science-based practitioners, and in many cases simply an internet connection.

                Part of the problem is the public, who can always be blamed, because they simply don’t know enough to distinguish nonsense from science, but that’s a huge and difficult problem. It takes years to build up enough knowledge to understand why science as a method is better than any other system of gathering knowledge, and there’s a dangerous period in between where Dunning-Kruger tricks people into thinking science as a body of knowledge is simple.

                I used to believe in auras and therapeutic touch, the evils of Big Pharma and organic food, and I’m reasonably well-educated with two bachelor’s degrees. It took me years to get to the point that I realized I was too ignorant to argue with an expert, or even a doctor (who are far more knowledgeable than I, but still not what I would consider an “expert” without a postdoc and an active research career – no offence to doctors, I’m speaking of single-subject expertise).

              3. Wilbur says:

                Response to Weing:

                First I should say I do believe that the problem (at least what I see to be a problem) is not so much caused by doctors’ skills or intention or anything like that as I think it is caused by insurance and other elements of our health care system. I agree that if I could pay for all my health care out of my pocket.
                As it is, I have very good PPO health care coverage, and in my efforts over the past decade to settle on a primary care physical I typically get:
                1.) Residents (a different one every time) rather than the doctor who is nominally my primary care doctor, or
                2.) Doctors who do not listen, and do not spend more than five minutes in a given appointment, and as a result produce lousy diagnoses and lousy treatments and/or
                3.) Doctors whose offices are way too swamped to do any follow up pro-actively, or even to respond effectively if I initiate follow-up.

                I will say I live in a big city, and have found the situation better when I have lived in smaller communities. I also have found some great specialists, who are less rushed, who I’ve come to rely upon for certain elements of what I think should be primary care.

              4. Wilbur says:

                Reply to WilliamLawrenceUtredge

                Like other professions, Naturapaths are very different with different levels of quackiness. I would not see one into energy therapy or “bloodletting” or auras. I feel the same way about that nonsense.

                Naturapaths can do more than just give advice about exercise and good diet, as I’m sure everyone on this site knows (and many seem to be irritated about). In some states they can prescribe a wide range of medicines, as I’m sure everyone knows.

                Again, I think of Naturapaths in a limited and complementary role.

                I’d be happy to have all of my medical care provided by traditional doctors, or PAs, or what I think you refer to as science based practitioners , but as I tried to say in previous posts, I find the care the primary and preventive care they provide increasingly hurried, distracted and disinterested (in most cases). That’s all.

              5. Harriet Hall says:

                “I find the care the primary and preventive care they provide increasingly hurried, distracted and disinterested (in most cases)”

                You say “in most cases” so obviously you have found that in “some” cases conventional doctors have been satisfactory. Why not concentrate on finding a science-based practitioner who is not hurried, distracted, and disinterested? Maybe you have just had bad luck; in my recent experience with a considerable number of civilian and military doctors, I have not encountered a single one who was hurried, distracted, or disinterested. If you had bad experiences with auto mechanics, you would look for a better mechanic, not turn your car’s maintenance over to someone who was even less qualified.

              6. Andrey Pavlov says:

                Like other professions, Naturapaths are very different with different levels of quackiness. I would not see one into energy therapy or “bloodletting” or auras. I feel the same way about that nonsense.

                The problem is that their required coursework and licensing exams all have ridiculous quackery like that, including homeopathy (most notably homeopathy). And this argument is, in essence, saying that you wouldn’t fly on a magic carpet since that is ridiculous, but you would stand on a rug expecting it to get you somewhere.

                Naturapaths can do more than just give advice about exercise and good diet, as I’m sure everyone on this site knows (and many seem to be irritated about). In some states they can prescribe a wide range of medicines, as I’m sure everyone knows.

                Yes. And we are reasonably irritated about it because they have absolutely no basis for rational prescription of these drugs, nor education on the interactions and side effects, nor training on what to do in the case of adverse events. We’d similarly be irritated if astrologers were licensed to fly airplanes.

                Again, I think of Naturapaths in a limited and complementary role.

                Except that literally the only things that they can even remotely reasonably do is precisely what your own physician can do in just a few minutes in an actual doctors visit. The fact that they take longer to do it and throw in a bunch of other BS along with it doesn’t somehow make it better or even complimentary.

                I’d be happy to have all of my medical care provided by traditional doctors, or PAs, or what I think you refer to as science based practitioners , but as I tried to say in previous posts, I find the care the primary and preventive care they provide increasingly hurried, distracted and disinterested (in most cases). That’s all.

                And back to the top. You are basically saying that you would much rather have an actual pilot fly you places, but since that is (admittedly) tough and not ideal, you are content hopping on a magic carpet.

              7. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Like other professions, Naturapaths are very different with different levels of quackiness. I would not see one into energy therapy or “bloodletting” or auras. I feel the same way about that nonsense.

                Since naturopathic training inherently involves the teaching of utter balderdash (all naturopaths, all of them, are trained in homeopathy – twice as many hours as pharmacology), not to mention indoctrination in antivaccination viewpoints and misinformation about how real medicine works, I just can’t agree with this. A naturopath who abandons the quackiness of their discipline would cease to be a naturopath and would be an overtrained nutritionist or a grossly undertrained med student. Anything that naturopaths deliver that is science-based is redundant to a real medical profession. Everything else is unethical since it represents rank nonsense or preclinical data that hasn’t been tried out in adequately-sized human trials. The entire profession is inherently useless in my opinion, if not outright harmful.

                Naturapaths can do more than just give advice about exercise and good diet, as I’m sure everyone on this site knows (and many seem to be irritated about). In some states they can prescribe a wide range of medicines, as I’m sure everyone knows.

                Sure, naturopaths can give advice beyond diet and exercise – it’s just shitty, inaccurate, often harmful advice like “avoid vaccinations” and “take red yeast rice instead of your statin”. The fact that they can prescribe medicines, after extensive political lobbying to force these privileges into the medical system, doesn’t mean they should, nor does it mean they should be able to. Their training in pharmacology is grossly inferior to that of a med student, and their experience is even less so – a med student spends years in rotations, seeing thousands of patients, before they are considered a true doctor. A naturopath gets none of that. A naturopath shouldn’t be able to prescribe medications, any more than the average person off of the street should be allowed to walk into a pharmacy and buy testosterone, antibiotics or antivirals.

                And that’s not even discussing the fact that the whole discipline is based on a fundamentally different paradigm from real medicine. Naturopathy’s starting point is vitalism, a discredited belief that a “vital force” exists and can be manipulated – and most of their mutually contradictory belief systems like homeopathy, traditional Chinese “medicine” and ayurvedic “medicine” are based on efforts to manipulate this nonexistent vital force.

                Not to mention the hypocrisy! If natural medicines, herbs and other approaches are so effective, the dogma upon which they separate themselves from real doctors, why do they need prescription privileges? Give them prescription privileges and what do they become? Undertrained, poorly-controlled, poorly-trained doctors who are parasitic on science when they bother to reference it at all!

                Again, I think of Naturapaths in a limited and complementary role.

                Such as what? And what do they complement? Such a statement assumes that their role offers something that real medicine does not. And what exactly is it that they offer? Advice on diet and exercise? Redundant to the internet, registered dietitians and physiotherapist or personal trainers. Herbs? Most are unproven, when tested they turn out to be ineffective or have unanticipated side effects. Supplements? In addition to being sold by naturopaths, a blatant conflict of interest, there is minimal evidence that most people need them and nutrients are best acquired from foods anyway. Homeopathy, acupuncture and detoxing? Ineffective nonsense with active (bowel perforation) or passive (dangerous non-substitutes for real medical care) dangers.

                The very best thing you could say about naturopathy is that it offers advice you could get from a real medical practitioner, but more generally their advice is either actively dangerous or a complete waste of time and money. And perniciously erodes faith in medicine and science. Recommending interventions on the basis of rat and test tube studies doesn’t make you “cutting edge”, it makes you unethical.

                I’d be happy to have all of my medical care provided by traditional doctors, or PAs, or what I think you refer to as science based practitioners , but as I tried to say in previous posts, I find the care the primary and preventive care they provide increasingly hurried, distracted and disinterested (in most cases). That’s all.

                It seems to me the problem there is not with real doctors, it’s with an economic system. The solution is not to supply substandard care from ill-trained, and over-privileged, incompetent, arrogant, dangerous quacks. Do you live in the US? My sympathies, as the current “system” is horribly flawed and the ACA does little to improve it. I really wish that Americans had access to a real health care system, publicly funded. It’s incredible. But to use an analogy, suppose you can’t find a cheap, reliable mechanic to fix your car. Is it really a solution to take your car to a magic carpet salesperson? If your roof has a leak in it, should you get it repaired by someone who thinks white glue is an adequate substitute for roofing nails? If someone is starving to death, is a bag of sucralose the solution?

                I understand your frustration, I sympathize with the limitations of the US health care system (or wherever you live). But particularly with something as important as health, the solution to major flaws in quality and quantity of health care is not to lard on a layer of wasteful, dangerous and parasitic care that will erode, not enhance, the health of citizens. Naturopaths may give the impression of being science-based, may give the impression of competency, may give the impression of caring for their patients, but what they offer is a fraud, a sham, a dangerous mixture of half-truths, plausible falsehoods and outright nonsense. They are waging a propaganda war to claim greater and greater territory, but never deal with the core objectionable fact of their profession – it is not evidence based, and it drinks heavily from the fountain of prescientific and disproven nonsense.

                Yes, most contributors to the blog, posts or commentors, dislike naturopaths, but they have reasons for it. I urge you to look into the deep links and use the search function to see why.

              8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Ack, when my post appears it will have html fail in it.

                Wilbur, I’m not meaning to attack you personally, and my apologies if I come across as harsh or insulting. But this sort of thing irks me. Naturopaths fight a propaganda war, and one that is based on nobody ever noticing or calling them out on the fact that they are a terrible profession filled with unjustified arrogance and no empirical support. They are the charming, deceptive con men and street hustlers of medicine. And through rhetoric and the appearance of being an underdog, they’ve manged to weasel their way into respectability. But again, when it comes right down to it – if you ask them what evidence there is for the treatments they use, they will do one of four things:

                a) Invoke real science and scientific consensus (i.e. parasitic on real medicine and redundant to real doctors, or offering you preclinical results as if it were proven to work in humans)

                b) Invoke fake science, cherry-picked science, or pseudoscience that has all the superficial characteristics of genuine research but none of the substance (i.e. not published in a peer-reviewed journal, or published in an in-house journal whose peer-review is a joke, or case studies, or uncontrolled observations)

                c) Claim “it worked in their experience”. Personal experience is a meaningless source of information; the personal experience of bloodletters led them to believe they were saving lives, when they were actually killing their patients quicker than the diseases they had.

                d) Claim “big pharma”, point out that Pfizer is evil and GSK has been mean to puppies. This is of course true – Big Pharma is pretty evil and cares more for profits than they do for patients. But so what? The fact that Big Pharma is evil doesn’t magically make evidence appear to support homeopathy. This is a distraction, an effort to change the subject. If you ask “what evidence supports X” and their response is “well, Big Pharma makes a lot of money on drugs and doesn’t put any of it into research on X”, they are not answering your question – they are trying to distract you. They’re trained to do this. They probably do this mostly in good faith, and don’t themselves realize that this is a dodge, not an answer.

                Don’t trust them.

  2. Mike says:

    Thank you Jann for keeping us informed about this wackiness.

  3. Hal says:

    I realize O’Malley is unlikely to veto the bill, but I’m still going to write a letter requesting that he do so. Legitimizing this nonsense will only lead to trouble.

  4. brad says:

    You guys are fighting a fight you could never possibly win. Enough of this wasted time and energy for your own sake. It’s easy to be a man behind a computer, but if you have any real guts, go to a naturopathic practice yourself and have a sit down chat with one of them.

    Although I think this blog is crap, it’s the first site I visit every morning. I like a nice hearty laugh with my oatmeal. Good for the spirit.

    ugh oh.. he said spirit. VOOODOOOOOO!!!!!

    1. Jann Bellamy says:

      Well, Brad, I might do just that, but naturopaths are not licensed in Florida, where I live. They were, but the legislature stopped licensing them in the 1950’s. They tried to gain licensure in 2004 but a legislative report found that licensing NDs would present a danger to the public and the bill didn’t pass. However, if I find myself in a state that licenses NDs and have the time, that would not be a bad idea, if they would talk to me. I’ve actually e-mailed a couple of their professional associations asking for evidence for some of their claims but never got a response. I’ve also e-mailed one of their schools looking for more information, but, again, no response.

      It’s unfortunate that your mind is so made up about every topic we write about on SBM that you’ve (apparently) never found anything worthwhile.

      1. Brad says:

        Naturopathic Medicine will be in Florida soon. Just wait. Even if it isn’t licensed, expect a large influx of naturopathic practitioners within the next couple of years. It would be smart to regulate the ones who actually went to school so that the diploma mill naturopaths won’t hurt people. A couple of years ago, Colorado flat out said no towards regulation of ND’s. Same thing with Maryland in 2011, but look at it now… it’s 2014 and individuals in MD and CO will be able to have access towards complementary services.

        Many things happened to naturopaths and naturopathic schools in the 50’s after society began to come reliant on pharmaceuticals and surgery. It picked back up in the 70’s when people started realizing that conventional medicine wasn’t the only means to wellness and there were other complementary methods.

        If people at SBM consider this a little game between naturopaths and conventional medicine, you have the wrong mindset, because your “enemies” want to work with you. They’re actually trained to work with you, unlike the diploma mill graduates. California ND’s were just granted status to be able to provide vaccinations.

        I understand the failures of complementary professions give you fuel, (after all, if ND’s were successful, what would you write about), but these next couple of years are going to be very hard for you because this world is a changin, and you’re going to need to learn to keep up with it, or drown in the deep abyss that is health care reform.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          the diploma mill naturopaths won’t hurt people

          LOL! As opposed to those rigorously trained in pseudoscientific nonsense.

          California ND’s were just granted status to be able to provide vaccinations.

          Huzzah! I taught my 7 year old nephew how to give a vaccine. Seriously. I happened to be home, we had the Fluvax there to save me a trip into the hospital and my sister came by with the kids so we could all just get vaccinated and have a beer after (one of the perks of being in a largely medical family). I suggested that my nephew give me the shot. I sat down, spent about 10 minutes teaching him the technique, and he did a pretty decent job. Funny thing is most adults who learn to do it for the first time are hesitant because they don’t want to hurt you, so they tentatively jab at your arm. That is what actually hurts. Confidence and a swift single jab is the way to go. My nephew put an evil grin on his face and went in with gusto! Didn’t hurt at all.

          So congrats. NDs can now do a skill I taught a 7 year old to do in 10 minutes. Next you’ll let us know that they can put on band aids too.

        2. Jann Bellamy says:

          ” Even if it isn’t licensed, expect a large influx of naturopathic practitioners within the next couple of years.”

          They might be interested in knowing that the State of Florida considers practicing naturopathy the unlicensed practice of a health care profession.

      2. Shay says:

        Ive searched this website for actual informative articles but all I can find is page upon page of repetitive articles stating the same thing over and over. The quackery of natural medicine indeed. I think anyone with a brain should already know that the supplement market is full of false advertising. That is obvious but what are you offering through these long boring articles?

        Yes many supplements dont do what they promise but I cant even find a single article that approves any health benefits from green tea or curcumin on here.

        Here is a question for you. Do all pharmaceuticals work for everyone? Do all anti-depressants cure depression in everyone?

        Seems like the point of this blog is to pay all our money to pill popper MD’s and everything will be just fine.

        1. Windriven says:

          “Ive searched this website for actual informative articles but all I can find is page upon page of repetitive articles stating the same thing over and over.”

          Then clearly, you should move on.

        2. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Agreed. I think that it is safe to say that with an opening like that, there’s not much to accomplish here.

          If you’d come about these parts circa 2 years ago I probably would have bothered, but perhaps someone else need to get in some rhetorical exercise?

        3. weing says:

          “Here is a question for you. Do all pharmaceuticals work for everyone? Do all anti-depressants cure depression in everyone?”
          That’s actually two questions. See if you can answer these two. What do you mean by working for everyone? Why do you think they have so many anti-depressants?

        4. simba says:

          If I am thinking of trying, say, chiropractic for my back pain I can come here, look up ‘chiropractic’, and get directed to the appropriate evidence. That’s a fantastic resource for me.

          If someone tells me acupuncture is thousands of years old, that Burzyinsky offers something that isn’t chemotherapy, if I’m looking for a herbal remedy and want to know about any possible risks, I can come here and know that I can get an answer and look up the references that answer’s being based on (rather than just having to take someone’s word for it). I can get information from people who aren’t trying to sell me those things.

          Perhaps the research isn’t good or solid enough to show benefits from green tea or curcumin. You should take that up with the people doing the research, or the people making health claims- ask them what evidence they’re basing the claims on.

          There have been lots of articles on here supporting a ‘take fewer pills unless you need them, eat lots of veg, and exercise’ stance. That seems to make sense.

          Here’s a question for you: why ask those questions? Where specifically have you seen anyone make those claims? I’ve never, ever seen anyone say those things on here. In fact, a lot of the discussion is based around the idea that people react differently to drugs, there are very few ‘magic bullets’ for diseases or conditions, and medicine is more complicated than a lot of quacks make it out to be.
          So why ask?

          It would me like me asking you will green tea make my hair grow back in 3 days, and claiming a ‘no’ answer would mean it’s rubbish. But you never claimed it would, same way no-one here said all medicines work for everyone. Seatbelts don’t prevent every injury- does that mean they’re worthless?

    2. Windriven says:

      “Enough of this wasted time and energy for your own sake.”

      It isn’t your time so fuck off. If all this wasted time and energy saves one person from woo I for one would consider it time well spent.

      “It’s easy to be a man behind a computer, but if you have any real guts, go to a naturopathic practice yourself and have a sit down chat with one of them.”

      Been there and done that. The intellectual equivalent of a not particulary pleasant acid trip.

      Don’t choke on your oatmeal. And if you do, run like a hare to your local NotaDoctor.

    3. n brownlee says:

      Hmmm… I’m a little late with this – like, a month… But I thought I should mention that some of us have had extensive, first-hand experience with a naturopath. My first cousin is a prominent naturopathic doctor; you might recognize her name if I wrote it here; it’s on display in many health food stores in the book section. She’s 25 years older than I, I’ve known her all my life, and she’s nutty as a peach orchard boar. I’ve never seen her display the slightest awareness of any rational basis for any belief. She’s a lifelong devotee of the proven quackery of the lying, murdering Adele Davis. She believes in the fundamental inerrancy of the Christian bible, that blood transfusions are forbidden by god’s law, that effective medicine is dependent on the (medieval) balance of the four humors. I do believe I’ll stay with SBM, thanks. My odds are better.

  5. Eugenie Mielczarek says:

    It would be interesting to see a data base revealing the education of of these legislators. How many of them completed any physics,or chemistry courses in undergraduate school? My guess is close to zero–why? Because they voted to allow their state’s citizens to be treated by ‘homeopathic’ water.

    1. Windriven says:

      I can’t speak for all of them of course, but in my experience you are asking the wrong question. Many of them know that chiropractic and naturopathy and homeopathy and acupuncture are silliness. But they also know that some of their voters are attracted to it. So they take the position that regulating them is better than having them ‘practice’ in the shadows. Political pragmatism and scientific honesty may not be mutually exclusive but neither are they entirely miscible.

  6. mho says:

    In Colorado, the ND advisory board evaluated the NPLEX test. They examined if it was set up as a proper test, but they relied totally on the material from Bastyr in their look at the content. They looked at sample study questions, but the best way I can explain is they were looking for levels of complexity, but not looking at the quality of the content.

    If we want to see an effective board, SBM’ers need to monitor when the board meets and send in written comments and information on what exactly naturopaths are not qualified to do. If that’s co-ordinated to arrive at the right time, it could be influential. I hope.

  7. Scubadoc. says:

    I’m trying to get my head around how an MD would actually “work with” an ND. Would they have a shared consultation with the patient, or perhaps the patient would spend time with each, and then have to decide “Penicillin or Echinacea for my Strep throat. Decisions, decisions!

    1. Jann Bellamy says:

      That is a provision in the statute that worried the physicians board too.
      From their report:

      “It is unclear what naturopathic practitioners expect of the relationship with collaborating physicians. ‘Collaboration’ is subject to broad interpretation and cannot be assumed without statutory requirements. Instead, there is an undefined relationship regarding supervision, responsibility or liability which does not further public interest.”

      1. TBruce says:

        If I were practising with a naturopath, I would be so tempted to refer certain patients to him or her to take advantage of their “expertise”. By “certain patients”, I mean what British doctors call “heartsink patients” – the ones that give you that feeling when you see their names in the appointment book.

    2. letsgo says:

      smart guy! Echinacea for strep throat. Someone needs to polish up on their botanical knowledge. I guess in this case ignorance is ok. When will all these unfound hatred stop. it helps no one to have all this back and forth arguments about alternative medicine vs pharmaceutical medicine. let the patients be the judges on this.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Why would you let the patients be the judge on medical matters? There’s a reason why doctors have so much schooling, it is to understand first the body, then the medicines that interact with it. Patients rarely know where their pancreas is, let alone whether penicillin or gentamicin is appropriate for an infection. Patients use words like “stomach flu” as if it meant something (it doesn’t – influenza, the source of the term “flu”, is a respiratory virus), ask doctors for antibiotics for viral infections, and rarely follow doctor’s instructions to lose weight, exercise and eat well.

        Echinacea either works, or doesn’t – and this can be tested empirically (and has been, and it turns out Echinacea doesn’t work). The opinions of patients are irrelevant to this fact, and are unlikely to have the expertise to interpret the medical literature to determine not merely which studies are relevant, but which are the most likely to provide reliable knowledge for medical decision-making. That’s why we have doctors.

        My real issue is – people who promote Echinacea for anything in the absence of proof for a variety of dubious reasons, such as “it’s natural” (which strep throat is, and there’s no reason nature would evolve a compound to selectively inhibit strep infection). If it works – prove it, and doctors will use it. If it fails testing, stop promoting it as if it were effective.

  8. MadisonMD says:

    So she went to a “naturopathic oncologist,” who prescribed a regimen of dietary supplements and curcumin, which, she pointed out, is being studied at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    Incidentally, the researcher who did the laboratory research forming the basis for curcumin research ?is under investigation for fraud. Per the Houston Chronicle:

    Aggarwal’s highly influential research into the supposed anti-cancer mechanisms of plant-derived chemicals – particularly curcumin – has laid the groundwork for ongoing clinical trials.

    One study concerning curcumin’s anti-cancer properties has been cited by academic researchers in 700 subsequent journal articles, according to Retraction Watch, which has blogged about the matter.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      It’s part of this mindset I don’t get, but probably because I know better. “Serious people are investigating it… so it probably works and I should try it!”

      My sister once told me that an expert is someone who has failed more times in a narrow field than anyone else.

    2. Sawyer says:

      Hey now, let’s not malign curcumin so quickly. Maybe it has other uses. I’ve heard of a special type called “curcumin tuerly” that is useful at treating premature orgasms.

      (Sound it out slowly)


    3. Ed Battison says:

      Your e-mail almost addresses the important point that there are THOUSANDS of legitimate medical research articles in journals about the importance of Curcumin, tumeric, particular forms and dosages, in its use to combat cancer. Agarwal (sp?) IS an authority known worldwide. Many alternative-medicine doctors include its use. Some cancer survivors have addressed its importance. I only add that there are vital needs for other supplements that are not simply vitamins, are backed up by medical research, and a lot of evidence to indicate the failure of chemotherapy for stage III or stage IV metastasized cancers.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        That’s great and all, but how many of those studies are in humans? It’s easy to kill cancer in petri dishes and inbred mice, humans are a little harder. Given your obvious brilliance, perhaps you could bless us with some pubmed links?

        And cue ‘no money to do the studies’, conveniently ignoring the existence of pharmacognosy as a discipline, and the fact that supplements are a multibillion dollar industry in the US alone.

        Move them goalposts, yah!

  9. Jon Brewer says:

    Oh, fun fact: I was over at the drugstore the other day, and I saw some sort of herbal remedy. (I think it was turmeric.) For ‘general wellness’, whatever that means. Seriously. I’m assuming it has something to do with hit points and dodecahedral dice. ;)

    1. Ed Battison says:

      You probable are right about that label. What is needed is specific purity, quality, and dosages of tumeric oils, curcumin forms and correct duration of its use. A lot of tumeric and curcumin is of poor quality, questionable source and actual content.

      Legitimate sources such as orders filled by Life Extension Foundation, and in most cases Swansons, Puritans’ Pride, and a few others who can prove their quality control, and genuine contents can be trusted.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        What is needed is double blind clinical trials, not the poorly justified assertions of an unregulated industry.

        Seriously, big supplement is an industry, they don’t actually care about your health. The only difference between them and big pharma is pharma actually has to prove their pills work. Not an insubstantial thing.

  10. Socks says:

    Sharing a patient with a naturopath is awkward. How do you call someone on the phone who thinks vaccines are poison and your patient has chronic Lyme, PANDAS, leaky gut, a liver that is slow to methylate things, and adrenal fatigue?

    The patient will bring you stacks of books to prove that there is scientific evidence for all the above. Also reams of lab results. Better to just shoot yourself, I think.

  11. Ed Battison says:

    I want to emphasize some real life experience and comments about a naturopathic doctor who consults to me, and researching for about two years alternative medicine publications such as the Life Extension Foundation. After developing rectal cancer two years after a colonoscopy missed a flat tumor in the rectum, I underwent, surgery, radiation, adjuvant chemotherapy twice with FOLFOX and FOLFIRI. These resulted in no gains against metastasis of this cancer to the lungs and liver. I began taking supplements based on worldwide medical research literature, particularly, the U.S., Germany, Japan, and other notable centers whose results are published by the Life Extension Foundation. and some journals. I contained the cancer to low CRP and CEA blood tests with these supplements advocated by legitimate NDs. Entering my fifth year of cancer, I still can keep these blood test favorable by taking about 50 supplements recognized by qualified NDs. In addition, I practice rigid anticancer diet, and daily exercise continued in recent years of weight lifting and running, which I began years ago.

    As a result of this advice from consulting the renowned Collen Huber, ND, of Tempe AZ, I continue to contain metastasized cancer to little gains. What I am lacking are the high-dose IVs needed to help control cancer, which I want to get in Maryland. where I live. Qualified NDs are needed here to help me maintain the success that I experience.
    Meanwhile this regimen keeps me in excellent health in my fifth year without any chemotherapy for the last three years.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Entering my fifth year of cancer, I still can keep these blood test favorable by taking about 50 supplements recognized by qualified NDs.

      50 supplements? Jesus, you must get a significant portion of your calories from this. But you’re probably incredibly regular, what with all the fiber you’re swallowing.

      Also, how do we know you simply aren’t lying? How do you know that you weren’t cured by your chemotherapy? How do we know you aren’t Collen Hubbard trying to drum up business?

    2. Windriven says:

      You do understand that your one-off maybe-maybe-not cure that maybe, maybe-not had anything to do with the supplements you’re taking, prove not a single goddamned thing, right? Do you have any idea how many one-off remissions have been credited to every manner of half-a$$ed nonsense? And when efforts have been made to replicate the “success” it doesn’t work.

      The “renowned” Collen Huber, who sorry to say I’ve never heard of, needs to package her miracle into a carefully structured and double blinded RCT with meaningful n. Then we might have something to talk about.

      “Qualified NDs are needed here to help me maintain the success that I experience.”

      Why don’t you find an actual MD who can legally infuse these?

      1. Woo Fighter says:

        You’ll have fun at Ms. (Not a Doctor) Huber’s website. Not only does this deranged lunatic claim a whopping 90% success rate curing cancer (and yet nobody has ever heard of her…) but she’s also a disciple of disbarred, convicted criminal Mr. Tulio Simoncini and his baking soda “therapy”:

        But wait! She also promotes Essaic tea! And vitamin C injections, and eliminating sugar from the diet.

        These people should all be thrown in jail for being the charlatans, con artists and fraudsters they are.

        1. Windriven says:

          “These people should all be thrown in jail for being the charlatans, con artists and fraudsters they are.”

          Amen. The only species of scum more odious to me than rip-off preachers are the charlatans promoting cancer cures. Both prey on the vulnerable but the latter prey on people not only vulnerable but peering deeply into the eyes of their own mortality. How twisted does someone’s wiring have to be to do that?

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