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Michigan Naturopath Bill Would Legitimize Dangerous Quack Medicine, Say Science Advocates

May 24, 2018

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.net - 207-358-9785

A bill passed by the Michigan State Senate would endanger the health of Michiganders by granting sweeping new powers to practitioners of unscientific bogus medicine and treatments, said the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an organization that advances reason and science. Senate Bill 826 would grant state licensure to naturopaths and the authority to treat patients’ illnesses and injuries despite the naturopaths’ lack of medical training or credentials.

SB 826, which passed the Michigan Senate 24 to 10 on May 17th, creates a license-granting board made up of alternative medicine practitioners to bestow the state’s formal approval upon naturopaths, allowing them to perform physical examinations on patients, order and perform clinical tests, treat lacerations, and prescribe scientifically unproven—and often dangerous—treatments ranging from homeopathy and hydrotherapy to musculoskeletal manipulation.

“This bill is dangerous because it legitimizes fake medicine,” said Jennifer Beahan, executive director of CFI Michigan. “It would give the state’s blessing to unqualified practitioners of pseudoscience and their baseless remedies, meaning more people will waste their money and risk their health by pursuing quack treatments.”

“The stated tenets of naturopathy are no different from those of conventional medicine (first do no harm, prevention, treat the cause rather than the symptom, etc.),” said Dr. Harriet Hall, a retired medical doctor and Fellow of CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. “They provide common-sense advice about health (diet, exercise, etc.), but they stray far beyond the bounds of science. Despite their claim to emphasize prevention, they discourage evidence-based preventive measures like vaccination and water fluoridation. What naturopaths do that is good is not different from what medical doctors do—and what they do that is different is not good.”

As Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch has said, “They choose from a smorgasbord of implausible, pseudoscientific, untested, disproven, unethical, and dangerous treatment methods.”

The Center for Inquiry is leading the effort to see tougher regulation of homeopathy at the national level, spurring both the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to take a tougher stance against the manufacturers and marketers of this unproven and useless pseudoscientific practice from the nineteenth century.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.