Viewpoint: China's push to export its traditional medicine threatens to pump up 'pseudoscience'

| | March 6, 2018

[T]raditional Chinese medicine is thoroughly institutionalized: Every major city has a traditional medicine hospital and university. A special government department exists to administer it, and the traditional Chinese medicine industry is a massive business.

At best, traditional Chinese therapies might trigger a placebo effect; at worst, they can cause severe side effects, despite a widespread belief in China that traditional medicine is inherently harmless. And yet, Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to share these placebos with the world.

One may be tempted to believe that if patients are still given modern medicine, traditional medicine is simply a harmless “add-on” — like a stuffed animal or bouquet of flowers — that might make people feel better. But that is a dangerous conclusion. Traditional Chinese medicine thrives, in part, because charlatans encourage the public to be suspicious of modern medicine.

[T]he world can ill afford to turn its back on modern medicine. If China wishes to play a leading role in biomedical science, it should be embracing modern medicine, not fanning the flames of suspicion against it. Real Chinese doctors already face public hostility and suspicion, especially over vaccines; by pumping up pseudoscience, the government is only hurting its efforts to persuade the public to put its trust in the state’s own health programs.

Read full, original post: Is China the World Leader in Biomedical Fraud?

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