CPSO Update: Opponents Speak Out Against Quackery IMPORTANT UPDATE

Important Update: The deadline for submissions has been extended to September 16th 2011 – please do not miss the opportunity to comment.  The Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy has.

Over the past several weeks, there has been a lot of interest(see here, here, here, and here)  generated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s new draft policy entitled “Non-Allopathic Therapies in Medical Practice“, and CASS at CFI Canada has been encouraging people to comment on the policy by filling out the CPSO survey available here.

CASS received good news this week in the form of an email from the Canadian Medical Association, the group that advocates for MD’s across Canada.  In response to the analysis by CASS on the new policy that we forwarded to most of the specialist organisations and advocacy groups in Canada, the CMA sent us this message:

“On behalf of the CMA, thank you very much for your letter. Mr. Owen Adams, Vice-President, Health Policy and Research at the CMA, has confirmed that we are making a submission and that we will essentially be making these points.”

This was great news, as the CMA is a leading voice in both current best practices for doctors and public health policy.  The fact that the CMA apparently agrees with our assessment of the CPSO’s policy on non-conventional medicine — specifically that the document is a wishy-washy appeal to neutrality that does little to protect patients from unproven treatments while muzzling doctors from giving their opinions on these treatments — should send up red flags at the CPSO.  Those working on this new policy have focused too much on a false eqivalence in order to remain non-judgemental when in fact we look to licenced physicians to use their strong scientific judgement when prescribing treatment for their patients.

September 1st 2011, tomorrow, is the deadline for public comment on the new policy.  As is evident from the recent update to the comment page,  professionals and members of the public have taken notice of the bad choices made by the CPSO, and we need to tell them firmly that their policy could lower the standard of care for people who get sick in Ontario.  Please fill out the survey and make a difference.

Update, Aug 31, 14:00:

This just in, from the organisation representing Allergists, the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology:

“We share many of the concerns outlined by the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism, of the Centre for Inquiry, in their letter of August 13, 2011, and we hope you have taken their concerns to heart.  Most importantly, we agree the CPSO has, in their apparent efforts at diplomacy, suggested a “false equivalence” between conventional and non-conventional medical approaches, resulting in tremendous ambiguity completely open to misinterpretation.  We believe the standard of care in this evidence-based, scientific era should and must be higher, and that the CPSO draft policy as worded would offer a disservice to both their member physicians, and the public interest they are mandated to protect.”

5 Responses to “CPSO Update: Opponents Speak Out Against Quackery IMPORTANT UPDATE”

  1. Thomas Doubts says:

    Thanks for posting this, Michael. I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I suggest to anyone who wants to fill out the survey to visit the CPSO website first and download the pdf of the complete draft policy. The highlights provided on the website are not enough to get a clear picture of what the college is proposing. Get the full policy here:

    • Thanks Thomas, you could follow CASS on twitter @CFICASS to stay in the loop – we are also working on a monthly newsletter to send out to members and non-members alike, I will let you know when we get that going.

      • Thomas Doubts says:

        Cheers, Michael. I’m adding CASS to my twitter feed now. like the idea of a newsletter too. let me know if any help is required, that’s kind of my area of expertise.

  2. Patrick McDougall says:

    I thought the CPSO had weighed in on this issue – if hesitantly – when, at a disciplinary hearing held January 26, 2010 – it dealt with an Ottawa MD who had served as the “Medical Director” of a cancer scam.
    I say ‘hesitantly’ because my complaint against the erring MD had been filed May 29, 2002, and, when he pleaded guilty, the doctor got off with a slap on the wrist: he had to reimburse the Disciplinary Committee for the cost of his hearing, attend an ethics class, restrict his practice to those not terminally ill, and agree not to re-establish ties with the fraud which is still in full operation in Ottawa.
    As far as I can determine after 9 years of vigorous solicitation of all organizations and agencies purporting to safeguard our health, the field is still wide open to such cancer quacks despite such legislation as 52(1) of the Competition Act and several provisions of the Criminal Code.

    • Dianne Sousa says:

      So you filed a complaint with the CPSO in 2002 and it took over 7 years for a hearing and resolution? Ridiculous.


  • Michael Kruse

    Michael is an advanced-care paramedic in York Region, just north of Toronto, Ontario. A semi-retired theatrical lighting designer as well, he re-trained in 2005 as an EMT-PS at the University of Iowa and as an ACP at Durham College, and is currently working towards a B.Sc at the University of Toronto. Michael is a founder and the chair of the board of directors of Bad Science Watch. He is also the recipient of the first annual Barry Beyerstein Award for Skepticism. Follow Michael on twitter @anxiousmedic. Michael's musings are his own and do not necessarily represent those of his employer or Bad Science Watch.