Healthcare professional resource featuring the most recent developments in Integrative Healthcare policy, research, education and news, courtesy of John Weeks and the Integrator Blog

Dana Ullman, MPH: Swiss government finds homeopathy cost-effective, covers in national health plan 

In the Huffington Post article The Swiss Government’s Remarkable Report on Homeopathic Medicine, author-advocate Dana Ullman, MPH has again shown how homeopathy’s minimal dose can somehow generate enough energy to heat up the internet. Ullman’s review of the Swiss government’s review had generated some 800 comments and 3500 Facebook shares as of March 3, 2012. Ullman writes that the report’s authors cite evidence-based medicine pioneer David Sackett, MD in their method for choosing useful research. Sackett dismisses those who argue that randomized controlled trials are the only meritorious evidence. Writes Ullman: “Ultimately, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathy represents an evaluation of homeopathy that included an assessment of randomized double blind trials as well as other bodies of evidence, all of which together lead the report to determine that homeopathic medicines are indeed effective.” Those using homeopathy had 15.4% lower costs. After suspending coverage in 2005, the Swiss government has now reinstated it.

Comment: Nothing stimulates the paradigm wars quite like homeopathy and Ullman’s Huffington Post writing on the topic is continuously a battle ground. He pointedly opened his piece with reference to Switzerland’s vaunted neutrality. Another of that country’s signature attributes is now also in play for homeopathy: the report may be viewed as a Swiss bank account from which homeopathic advocates can spend to advance initiatives all over the world. Ullman’s article was a first big draw from the Swiss account.

Update: Marilyn Allen and the advancing effort to place TCM in World Health Organization’s ICD11 codes 

A note recently from Stacy Gomes, EdD, MAEd, VP of academic affairs for Pacific College of Oriental Medicine shared this: “Marilyn Allen’s quiet but steadfast work as the U.S. liaison for the WHO ICD11 [International Classification of Diseases, 11th edition] codes should be on the Integrator Top 10 list but it has not been publicized well and it only effects a limited ‘traditional’ medicine. It is a VERY promising direction for diagnostic coding for Chinese medicine.” Gomes’ note accompanied news that a new “ICD Alpha Browser” of the coding strategy is presently available on a WHO site. The TCM portion is here for review and comment by those who register. Here is a taste of the new language and approach:


“Key Definitions in ICTM [International Classification Traditional Medicine]:

“A disorder in traditional medicine, disorder (TM)*, refers to a set of dysfunctions in any of the body systems which presents with associated manifestations, i.e. a single or a group of specified signs, symptoms, or findings. Each disorder (TM) may be defined by its symptomology, etiology, course and outcome, or treatment response.

“1 Symptomology: signs, symptoms or unique findings by traditional medicine diagnostic methods, including the taking of the pulse, examining the tongue or any tongue coating, abdominal examination, and other methods.

“2 TM Etiology: the underlying traditional medicine explanatory style, such as weather factors (historically known in TM translations as the external contractions), emotional factors (historically known in TM translations as the seven emotions), or other pathological factors, processes, and products.”

Comment: Gomes is right to credit Marilyn Allen for this work. Allen has led the charge for years now to raise funds to get the U.S. acupuncture community into the room to help develop these codes with counterparts and colleagues in China, Korea and Japan. Allen is an educator and writer who also serves as director of marketing for the American Acupuncture Council, a malpractice insurance provider. Allen’s view of the importance of this process is available here. Stacy you are right: Marilyn is perfect for the Top 10 for 2011 list.