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A skeptical doctor looks at the bottom line on regulation of the alternative-medicine industry

By Wallace Sampson, M.D.

Dr. Wallace Sampson, who is affiliated with Valley Medical Center and teaches a course at Stanford University on alternative medicine, posted this to an alternative medicine Web site.

I NO LONGER OFFER interviews unless I am assured that the article or program meets certain standards of veracity. I and several of my colleagues are increasingly concerned about the coverage of all "alternative" medicine subjects, and of nutritional supplements. Regarding the latter, I found no coverage of the Hatch and Richardson bills of 1994 that called them for what they were--special interest bills for the supplement industry, much of which is centered in Utah, New Mexico, and California. The press fell into the trap of making FDA a bad guy, overregulating "victimized" industry.

Regarding anomalous medicine, the press has consistently failed to approach the subject from a realistic standpoint ... that the procedures are ineffective. Again, the press has been gulled by a combine of ideologues and commercial interests, having found out that there's lots of money in medicine. They are riding behind anti-medical and anti-science propaganda that originated with proponents of fraudulent schemes such as laetrile. They are legitimizing dishonesty and stupidity. The movement is admittedly politicized and now has considerable political and economic clout.

The press is responsible in a major way for the advance of both fields over the past twenty years, because of its failure to report accurately. You are free to print the above remarks but only if you do so in full. Before I would offer any more, I would need assurance that your article will take this point of view.

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From the July 3-10, 1996 issue of Metro

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