Paper 3 final - Balloga, 1 Abram Balloga ANTHR 1166 Paper...

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Balloga, 1 Abram Balloga ANTHR 1166 Paper #3 9/18/2008 Medical Integration Researchers find that modern medicine often falls short of human expectation both in effectiveness and emotional reassurance, causing patients to look outside of conventional medication for answers. Testifying to this, even with a fully developed biomedical technology, the United States exhibits an astonishingly high and continuously growing 42% of its citizens indulging in alternative therapies (Clark, 447). Acknowledging the shortcomings of biomedicine, Peter Clark argues that unchecked rising use of non FDA approved treatment is becoming increasingly dangerous. He asserts that these methods must be included and regulated along with prescribed drugs in order to provide oversight and safety for patients. I will explore the soundness of his solution based on what we know about consumer needs and incentives for seeking alternative treatment. In his article, Peter Clark offers a bioethical argument for the integration of alternative treatment with modern medicine in a supplementary sense. He asserts that current trends in non traditional medical consumption are increasing the necessity to bring non-traditional treatment under regulation for the common good. The scientific and medical communities know very little about most alternative medications, and are therefore ignorant of the possible hazards of combining unknown remedies with prescription drugs. Manufacturers of these products do not explicitly claim to cure specific ailments, so they do not have to legally prove their effectiveness to that purpose. The investigative research required to gain FDA approval is extremely expensive in both time and money, economically discouraging companies from taking this step. For these reasons producers would rather not have their products tested, and fail to ensure initial
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Balloga, 2 safety and compatibility with biomedicines. By sidestepping the FDA manufacturers are able to avoid scientific and medical oversight, leaving their remedies obscure and negligent of possible harm to users. Essentially people do not know what they are putting into their bodies and are left woefully unaware of negative side-effects as well as potential adverse reactions with prescription drugs. Here Clark discusses the moral question of patients’ rights by comparing the right of autonomy with the necessity for consumers to be informed. He believes that people have the right to ingest whatever they please, while also serving the obligation not to damage their health (Clark ). However in the case of alternative medicine, users lack the information needed to evaluate the risk of use and make an educated decision. Without the ability to correctly assess
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This note was uploaded on 06/25/2009 for the course ANTHR 1166 taught by Professor Daenafunahashi during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Paper 3 final - Balloga, 1 Abram Balloga ANTHR 1166 Paper...

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