Myers, SP., Xue, CC., Cohen, M.M., Phelps, KL., Lewith, GT. (2012) The legitimacy of academic complementary medicine Medical Journal of Australia 197(2): 69-70


Science sets out to rigorously eliminate bias, not to assert it. The arguments mounted for the closure of complementary medicine courses in Australian universities by the Friends of Science in Medicine in a recent editorial in the Journal1 are highly emotive and, while having a gloss of superficial reasonableness, they do not stand up to critical review. In a letter sent to Australian vice-chancellors, the Friends of Science in Medicine do not provide an evidence-based curriculum review but selective and outdated anecdotes about chiropractic in a polemic with references to six websites (Peter Lee, Vice Chancellor, Southern Cross University, personal communication).

Complementary medicine is a broad field in which generalisations have little value. The major professional and university-based disciplines of traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy and naturopathy need to be differentiated from fringe practices, and the actions of rogue or unqualified practitioners should be viewed separately from the competence of the wider profession.