Saturday, August 26, 2006

Are midwives committed to evidence based practice?

Are midwives committed to evidence based practice? I ask this because they do many things for which there is no scientific evidence, or the scientific evidence shows them to be worthless.

Take herbs, for example. Herbs are the "patent medicine" of the 21st century. By that I mean that they are a scam created to separate people from their money. Herbs and other "supplements" represent a greater than $40 billion dollar industry, and almost all that money is wasted. The trade organization for the "supplement" industry lobbied Congress for a special exemption from the FDA rule that the manufacturer must prove that a substance does what it is advertised to do. Because of this lobbying bonanza, the industry can make completely unsubstantiated claims.

That's lucky for the industry, since almost no herbs work, most are completely useless, and some are actually harmful. To the extent that they work at all, it is because they contain drugs. Since the doses are entirely unregulated and the manufacturing process is primitive, you never know now much, if any, you are going to get in each pill.

So why are midwives using herbs? They are useless or harmful; there is no scientific evidence that they work, and they enrich an industry of scam artists. Shouldn't midwives be held to higher standards?


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