Letters: Traditional Chinese medicine motives questionable

Dear Editor,

Re: “TCM practitioners aim to join the fight against COVID-19,” News, April 28.

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I was distressed to read about a petition started by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners asking to have B.C.’s health authority allow them to join the fight against COVID-19.

My concern is that a petition, regardless of the number of signatures, is not the proper means to determine what medical procedures or treatments should be offered by health care professionals.

In the past few weeks in the United States, we have seen some of the negative effects that can result from the presentation of rumours and misinformation.

Effective treatments are supported by evidence derived from well-designed clinical trials. We are in a global pandemic and our government leaders must make the best decisions possible and provide us all with the best advice based on evidence and science. To do otherwise puts many of us at risk.

The only evidence presented in the article, the “good outcomes” described by Muying Li and TCM’s “critical role” mentioned by Jia Xian Lu, is anecdotal and cannot be accepted as valid evidence for the efficacy of TCM.

The point is medical treatments approved by government (or any other) health agencies should not be based on the number of signatures on a petition, but on a substantial collection of peer-reviewed scientific evidence. I have to conclude that those responsible for this petition are motivated by the belief that they can help, because the alternative ­— using this pandemic for self-promotion and an attempt to gain external validation — is too disgraceful to consider.

Bruce Stephenson


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