HealthcarePapers 3(5) April 2003 : 67-70.doi:10.12927/hcpap..17113

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Pharmacist's Perspective on Patient Needs

Dipen Kalaria


The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is pervasive throughout the Canadian healthcare landscape. The lead paper offers recommendations on research, regulation and funding based on accepting evidence beyond that found through randomized clinical trials. Unfortunately, the efforts that go into policy-making are unlikely to reflect the ever-evolving and plastic nature of CAM. Pharmacists have long been the most easily accessible healthcare professional and a natural bridge between CAM and conventional medicine. The role of CAM, and specifically herbal medications, in conjunction with conventional therapy is a dilemma faced by pharmacists every day. Policy-makers need to be creative in order to collect data on safety first and then efficacy for a public that is already using these services. The quandaries pharmacists face on these issues are a microcosm of what researchers and governments must deal with in creating policies that respect patient autonomy and at the same time protect public safety.



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