"Doctor, can I take 'Abcdxyz' for control of my Diabetes?"
The patient in front of me was asking about one of those numerous alternative 'medicines' for Diabetes advertised all over the media.
Iam asked such questions very often and my standard reply was I am a practioner of Modern Medicine and had little or no knowledge of other Medicinal Systems.
"Is there any harm in taking such medicines?" will be the next question and I will reply that I do not know.
Do I really do not know anything about such alternative medicines? If so why? Should I have been able to guide my patients better about the usage of alternative medicines?
Modern medicine is the science that tries to use all the new knowledge and technology available for mankind to improve the health of human beings. Being a practitioner of Modern Medicine and a keen follower of all research that is taking place in this field I should be able to tell whether a therapeutic method is superior, inferior or useless in comparison to currently accepted treatment method.
So how can I research the data regarding these so called ‘wonder alternative medicines’ for Diabetes? Is there any research ever done for these drugs?
The truth is no good quality research takes place before such products come into market. The Company that produces and markets such drugs never provides any research data. Just plain logic should make all of us realise that these medicines are ineffective because a medicine that can be proven to reduce blood sugar even by few milligrams can make billions if it was scientifically approved. The mere fact that no effort is made to get scientific approval for such products by conducting scientific studies tells us that these products are just placebos sold to unsuspecting public with massive advertisement budgets.
Should we stop such Fake therapies?
Many will say that even though such therapies are ineffective they can do no harm, so why one should try to stop them.
The Companies are fooling unsuspecting people using the name of ancient Indian science Ayurveda. People are wasting their hard earned money by buying and consuming useless products. They could have used this money for a much more useful purpose in bettering their lives.
Also how can one surely say that there are no harmful effects for such products without any proper studies? So stopping of such fake therapies is important for society's health.
How can we stop such Fake therapies?
Most important step should come from the Government. All such alternative medicines and supplements should undergo rigorous scientific testing before they are sold in the market. Advertisements with exaggerated or false claims should be severely curbed.
As a practising doctor I should strongly discourage patients from taking such unproven therapies. I should explain to them that their money will be wasted and no one has any idea of the side effects that it can produce.
With increasing awareness among Indian consumers I feel that people of our country cannot be taken for granted any more. Useless [and maybe harmful] products minting money for unscrupulous Companies should be stopped.