I have occasionally blogged about the inconsistency between AMSA’s Pharmfree campaign (supposedly standing for scientific integrity and evidence based medicine) and their enthusiastic promotion of alternative medicine with its numerous unproven health claims.
One of my posts drew a comment from ba who said “As for integrative medicine, AMSA is not doing enough. The medical schools are still in way too deep with the pharma$ to have credible integrative health programs. So far the integrative medicine programs sound more like mere window dressing and decoys.” That suggests a common thread in the AMSA’s seemingly contradictory positions: the notion that Big Pharma is leading a medical-industrial conspiracy to suppress research in (and the integration of) alternative methods.
Could these positions be part of a broad political agenda? Go to the AMSA’s main page and search such hot button issues as reproductive rights, universal health care and, last but not least, malpractice. Extensive material is posted concerning these issues. After perusing their articles on malpractice I gather they are not in favor of damage caps, think the liability crisis is exaggerated and seek other solutions to rising premiums such as reforming the insurance industry, reducing medical errors and disciplining bad doctors.
Medical students and faculty should be aware that while AMSA purports to be concerned with medical professionalism it is very much a political activist group. At 60,000 members it is the largest medical student organization. Medical students are being groomed to transform the culture of the profession, and in a way that should concern us.
I agree with commenter ba on one point. The integrative medicine programs in most medical schools are not credible. The remedy for this credibility gap is not to decrease reliance on “pharma$”. Instead medical schools need to dispense with magical thinking and be appropriately critical of pseudoscience.