ATCMA’s Response to Pamela Fayerman’s October 15 Article on Chinese Herbs and Medications
Pamela Fayerman’s October 15, 2015, Vancouver Sun article,” Chinese herbs mixed with medications can be hazardous,” draws attention to a local and current emergent medical issue- the potential dangerous interaction of Chinese herbs and western prescription medications. This issue is especially critical in BC, a province with a sizeable Chinese population. If this issue is not addressed immediately and properly, its threat to the public safety is only likely to intensify.
The responsibility for the resolution to this issue needs to be shared equally by the two BC dominant regulated Health Care providers involved: the Western Medical System and the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Industry. These two bodies need to put aside their individual differences and to communicate with each other collaboratively for the benefit of BC’s patients. The public also has a role to play in addressing this problem.
ATCMA, the largest and most influential Association of BC’s TCM practitioners suggests that the Ministry of Health is in the best position to initiate the resolution process. To do so, it should convene a committee in which the two medical systems are equally and fairly represented. This committee, under the direction of the provincial government’s Ministry of Health, should be given the responsibility to attend to two critical tasks: (1) the development of an educational component on herbs/ medication interaction, (2) the development of a similar education program to be made available to practitioners from both Western Medicine and TCM who are already licensed.
The first task could eventually be developed into a component of the pre licensing educational requisites for both the Western Medicine and TCM training programs. The second one could be made available as a compulsory Professional Development offering to practitioners already practicing. This way, all future health care providers who prescribe herbs and medications can be fully informed about the precautions they need to consider when they prescribe herbs and medications to their patients.
ATCMA, who is prepared to provide competent, fully qualified nominees to serve on such a committee, hopes that the Western Medical System also agrees to cooperate and to provide its support behind the establishment of an effective and safe Health Care system for BC residents, many of whom choose to access both the Western Medical system and TCM . This resolution may also provide an opportunity that we should not miss, one in which the two medical systems start to collaborate to provide our patients the safest health care available.
This approach can yield two important benefits: one immediate and the other long lasting. It can provide a workable resolution to the current herb/medication crisis, and it can start the dialogue that needs to take place between the Western Medical System and the Traditional Chinese Medicine components of British Columbia. Both benefits can enhance the lives and health care of our citizens. There is no logical reason why the Ministry of Health should not endorse this common sense proposal.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of ATCMA by Joseph Ranallo, BA (Hons), MA, R. Ac.
作者: ATCMA by Joseph Ranallo, BA (Hons), MA, R. Ac.