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Alternative medicines 'need stricter regulation

7 December 2006

More regulation of the alternative medicine industry is needed to protect patients, according to a top cancer expert.

John Waxman, a professor of oncology at Imperial College in London, has said that more rules are needed to protect patients from "cynical" exploitation.

A full 80 per cent of cancer patients are estimated to pursue an alternative complementary treatment or dietary regime to help treat their illness.

In this week's British Medical Journal, Professor Waxman wrote: "It's time for legislation to focus on a particularly vulnerable section of our society and do something to limit the exploitation of our patients." Many food supplements should be reclassified as drugs in order to subject them to closer scrutiny and regulation, added Professor Waxman.He described the intellectual basis for these treatments as "delusional".

Conventional methods of treating cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormonal suppression.

This article was first published in

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