There is no doubt that technology has been witnessed ever since the times of the cave man. One area in which technology has largely been experienced is in the medicine field. From the era of the cave man to date there have been various new advancements in the field of medicine because of technology (Tan & Ong 233). These advancements have led to different opinions regarding their impacts to the field of medicine. Although technology is seen to benefit the medicine field, some experts argue that the benefits are more weighty compared to the detriments.
Although some individuals will undermine the existing benefits concerning technology in medicine, the benefits are really significant. One way in which technology is improving the society is the invention of the painless needles. Needles are known to scare some individuals including children and adults. The introduction of painless needle enables pediatricians to offer vaccinations which are pain free. Some researchers refer to these new needles as micro needles. They are manufactured from metal, silicon, biodegradable polymer or glass (Ifat Hasson-Gidoni 656). These painless needles are 500 times lesser compared to the ordinary-hypodermic needles, which are very minute to infuriate nerve endings. The new needles comprise 400 embedded micro needles that are glued to a patch which will quietly puncture the skin.
Therefore, with this new technology in place, the community can have shots which are pain free. Technology in the field of medicine has made the average person’s life expectancy to increase (Tan & Ong 234). With new technological progression in medicine, surgeries and treatment, the average-life-expectancy of a person is expected to be on the increase. The life expectancy of a US citizen is a good example to confirm how technology has improved life expectancy. The 2004 research in the United States demonstrates that the average life span of a US inhabitant is 77.4 years old. The average life span from 1900 for males and females was 48.2 and 51.5 respectively. This is seen as a significant improvement thanks to technology (Ifat Hasson-Gidoni 658.
The use of robots in medicine has also been seen to be of great help especially on prescriptions. For instance, a medical center may be overseeing an enormous amount of prescriptions like 1500 a day. This is indeed a large amount of prescriptions. However, the introduction of robots has offered a new form of help where prescriptions are dispensed at speedy rates (Catherine Matthews 1184). Spencer is an example of a million-dollar robot that consumes about 4 hours to complete what pharmacists complete in 24 hours. The use of robots also gets rid of the chances for human errors. The meaning of this is that individuals will have the correct medication any time. For a client waiting for a prescription, the technology makes the process effective (Catherine Matthews 1186).
Though there seem to exist various benefits regarding technology in medicine, there also exist negative effects regarding the same. A health care provider depending heavily on technology might spend a lot time interacting with equipments and very less time in getting to identify the patient. Due to this, the health care providers might miss a symptom which does not fall into the parameters of the medical record that is electronic (Ifat Hasson-Gidoni 659). Most technological processes are life saving, however, each one has its own risk to the client. For instance, surgical procedures, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may offer benefits but might lead to negative impacts. This has all along been true with all medical procedures because even simple aspirin may be used incorrectly. Therefore technology should usually be assessed for risk against reward (Tan & Ong 235).
As technology advances in medicine so does the cost, this is because of the research and marketing associated with bringing the technology to the market. The creator and the manufacturer’s profits also increase the cost of the technology (Catherine Matthews 1186). Though this can be a blessing for situations which are chronic or newly treatable, the new technology will lead to extra and long term costs. New computerized technology like Electronic Medical Records stores and manages the information of patients. The technology then shares the information with the patient and every healthcare provider. The medical history may comprise test result, billing information, medication and much more. Though its convenience, it also provides the probability for misuse giving rise to loss of patient privacy and personal data (Tan & Ong 236).
Even though technology is said to reduce medical errors, there is uncertainty concerning this. It is not known for certain how much in error rates is the reduction. For instance the error rates related to implementation of the bar code systems and unit dose systems in hospitals is unknown. This uncertainty is because of the limited number of researches, varied definitions as well as methodologies which have been applied in the researches that have been conducted. In addition, fewer institutions are involved in these researches. There has also been uncertainty as to whether technology is eliminating jobs for various professionals including pharmacists (Ifat Hasson-Gidoni 660).
The argument regarding the benefits of the technology seems to be more convincing compared to the other two concerning the detriments and uncertainity. The introduction of new technology in medication has drastically increased the success of the diseases which were previously lethal. A century ago individuals often died from diseases like tuberculosis influenza as well as gastroinstinal disorders. In modern society these diseases no longer pose a considerable mortality threat. I am looking forward for more technological advancements that will enable almost all the challenges in medicine to be taken care of since this will be the way to improve life expectancy.
Catherine Matthews, et al. “Surgical Management Of Apical Pelvic Support Defects: The Impact Of Robotic Technology.” International Urogynecology Journal 23.9 (2012): 1183-1186.
Ifat Hasson-Gidoni, et al. “Examining The Evidence Of The Impact Of Health Information Technology In Primary Care: An Argument For Participatory Research With Health Professionals And Patients.” International Journal Of Medical Informatics 81.10 (2012): 654-661.
Tan, LTH, & Ong, KL, The impact of medical technology on health care today. 2002. Retrieved on November 10, 2012 from <http://www.hkcem.com/html/publications/Journal/2002-4/231-236.pdf.
NATIVE AMERICAN MEDICINE AS A BENEFIT TO TRADITIONAL WESTERN MEDICINE
For decades, there have been several forms of health care choices and systems available to populace across the world. However, majority have been opting for traditional western medicine due to their belief that this form has a modern as well as holistic approach. Initially, many people preferred other alternative forms of medicine especially traditional healing rather than Western medicine. As a resulting, there existed tension between western and traditional medicine, which needed to be addressed and resolved.
In order to fully comprehend what traditional and western medicine was all about before they were successfully integrated to achieve traditional western medicines, this article will analyze their differences, similarities and individual advantages as well as disadvantages with assistance from journal articles and other publications. The article will then discuss in detail Native American medicine, the disadvantages, and advantages as well as why integrating it with traditional western medicine will be beneficial to health systems across the world.
Caroline Kangwa wrote a journal composition in 2011 advocating for further integration of traditional healing and western medicine. In her writing, she believed integrating the two practitioners would be encouraging a continuous high quality nursing process in the health care sector. More so, she believed maintaining good relationships between western medical practitioners and traditional healers would be beneficial to populace visiting health care centers integrating these two forms of medicine.
For a long period, a mutual understanding and trust had been lacking between western medicine and traditional healers. People would avoid visiting hospitals and other health care facilities within their localities, as they were suspicious of western medicine. African nations and communities had been great supporters of traditional medicine. They only resulted to hospitals when their patient was critically ill after traditional medicine men, elders, or healers commonly referred to as witchdoctors failed. Africans believed hospitals were westernized forms of health care service lacking traditional, spiritual, and cultural beliefs. Western and traditional medicines therefore represented two different and diverse forms of healing to Africans. In order to reduce and eliminate the fears, mistrusts and misunderstanding thus allow continuity of health care without disrupting or disrespecting cultural beliefs, the two forms had to be integrated in order to create traditional western medicine.
American and European missionary doctors had to get rid of local’s practices and beliefs they regarded as too unique or belonging to the devil. Colonialism and ethnocentrism however enhanced the challenges hindering maintenance of a relationship between Western and traditional healers. Mistrust, resentment, tension, and misunderstanding were the words applied in defining their relationship. Western medicine healers were regarded as oppressors thus; critically ill patients would be transferred from a hospital to a traditional healer where cultural practices would be performed by traditional healers, elders, and worshippers. It was therefore crucial in fully comprehending the sensitive cultural practices and beliefs in order to integrate traditional and western medicine successfully.
In the past, there were no medicines as traditional healers and worshippers would mainly utilize various plants and herbs at their disposal to help sick and ill locals. For example, from Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean over two thousand indigenous tribes and millions of inhabitants lived within that area. Traditional healers in that vicinity were highly competent and conversant in acquiring different and diverse plant and herbal medicines from nature. These medicines would be used for therapy, disease prevention and/or healing patients. There are few records indicating their form of medicines had adverse side effects on the consumers. Instead, the records indicate that recoveries were quick without chronic or acute side effects like those witnessed from western synthetic pharmaceutical medicine.
The first explorers and settlers in these areas were therefore highly impressed on the wide knowledge and inspiration showcased by traditional healers. Therapeutic traditional herbal treatments included; special diets, usage of enemas, sweat baths, massage, hydrotherapy, application of mud, clay, and charcoal poultices as well as fasting. Just like the current westernized healers, traditional medicine men also practiced mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as well as measures handling asphyxia and hemorrhage. Conversely, preventive practices involved abundant consumption of water especially among patients suffering from ameliorate fever, water bathing on a daily basis, spiritual practices and physical activities such as deep breathing.
Raymond Obomsawin a PHD student in his 2007 writings defined traditional medicine as an intimate familiarity and understanding of natural world with an effective, efficient, and non-disabling system for healing, preventing, and improving health status among people. Traditional medicines were termed as simple, flexible and efficient due to absent toxins and negligibility. He further defined them as forms of healing based on mental, spiritual, social, and ecological health dimensions in order to promote and maintain the well-being of human beings. Achieving well-being and stable healthy status however was not the primary concern of traditional medicines. They sought to achieve and maintain a healthy balance between an individual and the society as well as natural world. Inevitable sacred natural laws would be interconnected thus; vital in determining levels of comfort among patients. Traditional medicines therefore could not function under closed and/or static systems. They were and continue to be highly adaptive in socio-political areas where knowledge based practices, changes and technological evolutions are beneficial.
In order to establish traditional medicine frameworks, plants, landscapes, animals and climatic conditions relative to the effects from a disease and health would be determined. Plants would be utilized in production of foodstuff and medicines. Plants and herbs would therefore act as the primary sources of interchangeable sustainable healthy, well-being and restoring mechanisms. Traditional indigenous healers defined and interpreted an illness and disease based on its relation to social, environmental and natural contexts of the patient. Traditional healers and medicine manufacturers would ignore infections from viruses and bacteria among other invisible infection-causing mechanisms. As a result, some diseases would be claimed as supernatural especially if they were caused by simple, natural, and uncomplicated factors known to cause diseases. Western healers have been widely known to advocate for clean air, water, healthy and balanced nutrition, exercise, positive attitude, mental stability, and withdrawal from toxic substances as these are the major factors in attaining a healthy life.
After political and social structures among indigenous communities began to change and revolutionize hand in hand with technology, settlers gained control of land and its wide resources. Lifestyles previously governed by nature and its laws began to be influenced by economic factors. As a result, traditional practices, structures, and ideologies related to health care were abandoned. In Canada for example, health care systems had to publicly declare all practices they regarded as acceptable among country communities in order to encourage locals in accepting them. Although traditional medicine has not been fully disregarded or ignored in equal measures as traditional healers, elders and witchdoctors, the consequences have been devastating.
Cultural and historical oppression and suppression utilized by traditional healers based on their therapies, health care structures, and practices were lost due to lost livelihoods, homelands, commercial trade, and deleterious foods. Scientific structures established however continued to showcase traditional healers as highly talented and gifted individuals. With appropriate training, westernized healers with a deeper understanding of nature and complex body and mind functions were able to identify, produced, and spread western medicines across the world.
Western healers are mainly influenced by scientific and technological advancement as well as world spiritual perceptions. They seek to heal a disease based on test tube findings under modern technological forms of medical interventions. At the University of Lijubljana in Slovenia, Igor Kononenko sought to differentiate between western and traditional healing as alternative forms of medicine. Based on various main points, he identified the two worldviews as different and diverse. He referred to western medicine as official, allopathic, scientific, and orthodox forms of healing. Conversely, he defined traditional medicine as alternative, complementary, holistic, spiritual, and energetic form of healing. From his point of view, Western medicine is based on materialism by assuming life is acquired by chance unlike traditional spiritual healing that is based on vitalize thus; convincing individuals life possesses a deeper meaning and purpose. Unlike traditional healers who regarded diseases as important as they sought to comprehend an illness and treat it, western healers believe an illness is useless. Western medicines therefore seek to destroy, remove, and repair human tissue rather than transform a patient’s live from inside.
Scientific confirmations conducted in the past sought to testify western medicines are more effective. Scientific medical journals published in latter studies described physicians as prescribers of tablets to patients thus; being a complementary and integrative form of medicine. He however sought to integrate spirituality, humanity, and purpose for life in order to complement traditional and western forms of medicine. He supported his argument using Albert Einstein statement in 1940 which claimed ‘science without faith is lame while religion lacking science is blind’. He described western healers as scientists who recognize and investigate matter, conscience, spirituality, free will and universal intelligence as well as mental, physical, and emotional conditions. Western healers therefore consider human beings as biochemical machines and/or systems.
They refer their healing practices, experiences, skills, and qualifications as a conscious and multilayered process occurring on a biochemical machine or system. As a result, human beings have varying performance measures. Using separability and usability, Marko and Igor sought to experiment how health problems can be solved successfully using Relief algorithms. Western medicines can be defined as a combination of closely protected patents, tested and tightly packed drugs consumed in fixed doses after primary and secondary consultations from trained and qualified health care professionals are published publicly for the public to refer from.
Integrating Western Medicine and Traditional Medicine
A wide range of diseases has been treated using traditional medicine in the past. Contemporary biomedical treatments utilize medicines ranging between herbs and plants across the globe. Research was conducted concerning integrating Western medicine or biomedical treatments and traditionally based medical treatments to achieve traditional western medicine. Currently, researchers are still examining plant chemicals utilized by traditional healers in treating various diseases. From the few completed projects, they have discovered that traditional medicine possess chemical properties that are effective and efficient in treating diseases safely without side effects.
Traditional medicines have been tested on their safety but more importantly, researchers have tested how effective, safe and efficient they can be when integrated with biomedical treatments. World Health Organization (WHO) defined traditional medicine as a total sum of skills, knowledgeable practices, theories, beliefs, and extensive experiences from different cultures. This combination is still applied in achieving and maintaining sustainable health conditions by diagnosing, treating, preventing, improving, and/or treating mental as well as physical illnesses and diseases. Although traditional medicines are a treatment mechanism in the past, introduction of western medicine has rendered them neither ineffective nor inefficient in dealing with illnesses and diseases.
WHO declared seventy-five percent of global populace depend on traditional medicine. Due to changed lifestyles, climatic conditions, environment, technology and increase in disease occurrence while unpredictable illness incidences continue to rise, people have had to deal with such changes by incorporating Western and traditional medicines. Traditional and Western healers have therefore had to adjust their treatment procedures, skills, practices, and knowledge towards these changes. They continue their researches in order to find new forms of medicine as they continue to adjust the current ones so as they can adapt to the evolutions, changes, and transformations. Treating diabetes type 2 for example has been quite a challenge for traditional, western, and traditional western healers due to its continuous changes. A scientific evaluation of traditional medicines utilized by traditional elders and healers by Western medical practitioners revealed a need for western healers to expand their knowledge, skills, and practices to fight, treat, and prevent this illness.
Doctor Pierre Haddad headed a research group referred to as TAAM. Through innovated multidisciplinary approach, the research group combined ethno-botanical knowledge from healers possessing phyto-chemistry, toxicology tests, nutritional strategies, cell-based bioassays, animal models, and clinical research abilities. Although this research is a continuous process, the team has however been able to demonstrate that; multiple plants and herbs have and can continue to be applied in preventing as well as treating different types of diseases including diabetes type 2. Type 2 diabetes however is higher in phenolic antioxidants as they regulate glucose levels in the blood while influencing fat metabolism.
In order to achieve high successes, the research group acknowledges the need to involve communities in their work in order to collaborate in delivering an integrated traditional western medical and treatment work relation with respect and trust. Involved community members include; traditional elders, healers, grand council officials and westernized board of health officials and partners. The research group stated that; understanding beliefs, cultural heritage, needs, wants, desires, and expectations from a community on their health systems would provide a perfect platform where treatment practices can be modified to suit Native American and traditional western healers. They identified the following six ethical aspects as crucial in guiding current and future research projects aiming to integrate Native American with traditional western medical practices.
Traditional medical practices initially lacked respect, proper understanding, and knowledge. As a result, integrating traditional with western medicine to achieve traditional western medicines was marred with lack of respect, trust, research project transparency, protection of either of their cultures, skills, and intellectual properties, reciprocal translation of their knowledge and exclusion of community members. In order to integrate Native American medicine with traditional western medicine, these factors therefore need to be upheld. It is crucial to achieve an integrated medical treatment procedure that is safe, efficient, and effective representing each of the combined communities at every level.
Native American Medicines
Scientific and medical advancements and innovations offer opportunities to improve and enhance Americans health conditions. American populace continues to face alarming and burdening diseases, disabilities, and increased premature death rates. Native American medicines were established to address ethnic disparities, dilemmas, and complex societal expectation in America’s health care systems. The country felt health care systems were under threat from increasing costs, poor quality and other efforts hampering delivery of high quality health care. In 2004, an outreach symposium was conducted based on community health information on Native American activities, projects as well as strategic goals and plans in the health care sector.
Native American projects have always sought to; improve information infrastructures, enhance minority communities medical institutions, develop economic developments plans, employ racially sensitive and culturally appropriate methods, train minority health care givers, practitioners and professionals, build effective and efficient community medical partnerships and acquire maximum and consistent medical resources. Native American medicines therefore seek to impact United States health care systems positively. It however needs government support, proper internet, telecommunication and computer infrastructures, programs, and delivery plans. Native Americans alongside other communities have come together to overcome health care disparities by forming collaborative coalitions.
Native American medicines currently applied to treat common diseases in United States can be compared to traditional medicines. They have been proven to have few side effects and offering a wider range of therapies from traditional western medicine. Canada and United States nations represent the first Native Americans. Before Western medicines were discovered, Native Americans depended just as traditional healers depended on natural plants and herbs from Mother Nature. They combine berries, herbs, magic, tree barks, animal parts, mushrooms, purifying rituals, ceremonies, and spirituality to comprise their treatments practices for body, spirit, and mind. Currently, these practices are still regarded as beneficial and effective. Indians and Chinese possess similar treatment procedures. They value body, mind and spirit stability thus, utilize natural elements that cannot interfere with their natural states in order to heal, prevent, improve and enhance their health conditions.
Just like traditional healers, medicine men and women with full qualifications, skills, and extensive experience in understanding an illness apply Native American medicines. Native American doctors also utilize ritual purifications in order to get rid of harmful toxins from a patient’s body suffering from a wide range of health complications. Traditional medicines were termed as spiritual and holistic. Native American medicines and treatments have also been termed as authentic, holistic, and sometimes tricky. Although they are widely available across America, a patient has to travel long distance in order to visit the Native American healer from their residence.
There are wide ranges of Native American medicines from plants with a profound meaning to the users. Although these medicines have been termed as symbolic, natural and spiritual, investigations continue over their anomalies. Specific plant parts need to be acquired, prepared under unique procedures, a certain dosage acquired and administered to a patient for a certain period. Traditional western medicines rely on having clear concepts shared between a doctor and the patient during drug, medical and/or surgery procedures. From Native American Medical Ethno-botany database, Native American doctors to treat illnesses utilize over one thousand species of plants and herbs from different and diverse families, cultures, and genera. North, North Central, Southwest and Intermountain America as well as Western Canada are the major regions accountable for a wide number of plant and herbal species utilized in creating Native American medicines.
Benefits from Native American Medicine
Although modernization, globalization, technology advancement and innovation encouraging western as well as traditional western medicines has played a major part, a larger part of world populace continue to use traditional and Native American therapeutic procedures and remedies as their primary health care. This is mainly because they are cost effective as much as they are efficient in delivery of health care services. They can treat emotional and physical illnesses without necessarily using western medicines. More so, they are natural thus reduced side effects as well as incidences of drug resistance.
Reasons for Integrating Native American medicines with Traditional Western Medicines
Between 2005 and 2007, Brazil and China health care industries recorded high revenues retrieved from traditional and Native American treatments. This was also observed in the global market. Western medicines are currently facing decreased treatment procedures. This is mainly because it takes several years to get a new drug, research, develop, test, and manufacture it. Western medicines therefore do not maintain the drugs natural state while patients have to purchase them at increased costs due to the amount of work applied in acquiring them. Unlike western medicines, Native American medicines are hardly resistance to a disease or illness. Consumers have attributed this to extensive and wide misuse of western medicines, as they are easily available over the counter. As earlier stated, patients need to travel long distances to retrieve a Native American Medicine. Antibiotics are the most affected western medicines affected. It is therefore costly for researchers to develop new forms of medicines after the existing are rendered drug resistance a problem that is yet to be reported by Native American doctors.
Researchers, scientists, and pharmaceutical corporations globally are in urgent search for new effective and efficient drugs that are not resistant. As a result, majority have had to integrate traditional medicines in their works. Malaria medicines such as Artemisia annua from China is a Native American drug. It has been recorded as the most effective malaria treatment drug discovered in the world. It was a compound discovered in 1980s having been utilized by traditional doctors in the country for a long period. Western researchers in their quest to discover a malaria drug that was not resistance to the disease in 2004 acquired knowledge on its existence. Although it took them several years in advocating for its usage across the world due to their skepticism, Chinese traditional doctors and several years by various groups researching on the drug finally accepted the drug. Currently, it is recommended in treating schistosomiasis and cancer.
The following are some of Native American drugs beneficial to health care systems globally especially when integrated with western medicines. Cromoglycate a Native drug Middle East and Egypt is utilized in treating asthma from 21st century, Etoposide a traditional medicine from China and Japan is currently treating cancer, Anticoagulant from Shui Zhi China in 18th, and 19th century treats salivary glands while Lovastatin acquired from mushrooms in Japan, China, Russia and Eastern Europe is utilized in lowering cholesterol levels.
Traditional medicines and treatments are similar to Native American practices and procedures. For a long period in the past, they were more utilized until western medicines were discovered. Drug resistance, critical side effects, lack of spirituality and high costs hindering people from all income levels in accessing quality health care is now encouraging traditional and Native American treatment procedure. However, it is vital for people to understand that, as much as they are cost effective and natural, western medicines offer health qualities that they cannot. Western treatment practices such as; surgery, MRI, X-rays and scanning among others utilizing modern day technologies are attributed in saving a large number of lives globally. It is advisable to integrate Native American procedures with traditional western treatment practices in order to acquire high quality, effective, efficient, and cost friendly health care services to people in America and globally.
Amerika, Yerlilerinde. Native American Medicine and the Role of the Medicine man, Turkish Neurosurgery Journal, 12(1): 1-8, 2002.
Ann, Marbella et al. Use of Native American Healers among Native American Patients in an Urban Native American Health Center, Family Medicine Journal, 7(2): 182-185, 1998.
Barbara, Sibbald. New Federal Office will Spend Millions to Regulate Herbal Remedies, Vitamins, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 160(9): 1355-1357, 1999.
Caroline, Kangwa. Traditional Healing and Western Medicine: Segregation or Integration, Medical Composition, 2011.
Igor, Kononenko. Western Medicine and Traditional Healing, Slovenia, University of Lijubljana, 2001.
James, Bunker. The Role of Medical Care in Contributing to Health Improvements within Societies, International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(1): 1260-1263, 2001.
Marko, Robnik and Igor, Kononenko. Theoretical Analysis of ReliefF and RReliefF, Machine Learning Journal, 53(1): 23-69, 2003.
National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). Integrating Traditional Medicines into Western Medical Treatment, National Aboriginal Health Organization Fact Sheet, 2012.
O’Toyosi, Akerele. The Best of both Worlds: Bringing Traditional Medicine up to Date, Social Science and Medicine Journal, 24(2): 177- 181, 1987.
Raymond, Obomsawin. Traditional Medicine for Canada’s First Peoples, British Columbia, Stoney Creek Nation Elder, 2007.
Romulo, Alves and Ierece, Rosa. Why Study the Use of Animal Products in Traditional Medicines? Journal of Ethno-biology and Ethno-medicine, 1(5): 1186-1746, 2005.
Steven, King and Thomas, Carlson. Biological Diversity, Indigenous Knowledge, Drug Discovery and Intellectual Property Rights: Creating Reciprocity and Maintaining Relationships, Journal of Ethno-pharmacology, 51(3): 45-57, 1996.
World Health Organization (WHO). National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines, Global Survey, 2005.
Caroline, Kangwa. Traditional Healing and Western Medicine: Segregation or Integration, (Medical Composition, 2011), 1.
Caroline, Kangwa. Traditional Healing and Western Medicine: Segregation or Integration, (Medical Composition, 2011), 3.
Caroline, Kangwa. Traditional Healing and Western Medicine: Segregation or Integration, (Medical Composition, 2011), 1.
James, Bunker. The Role of Medical Care in Contributing to Health Improvements within Societies, (International Journal of Epidemiology, 2001), 1265.
Raymond, Obomsawin. Traditional Medicine for Canada’s First Peoples, (British Columbia, Stoney Creek Nation Elder, 2007), 2.
Raymond, Obomsawin. Traditional Medicine for Canada’s First Peoples, (British Columbia, Stoney Creek Nation Elder, 2007), 3.
World Health Organization (WHO). National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines, (Global Survey, 2005), 2.
Amerika, Yerlilerinde. Native American Medicine and the Role of the Medicine man, (Turkish Neurosurgery Journal, 2002), 3.
Igor, Kononenko. Western Medicine and Traditional Healing, (Slovenia, University of Lijubljana, 2001), 3.
Igor, Kononenko. 4.
Marko, Robnik and Igor, Kononenko. Theoretical Analysis of ReliefF and RReliefF, (Machine Learning Journal, 2003), 41.
Marko, Robnik and Igor, Kononenko, 42.
Ann, Marbella et al. Use of Native American Healers among Native American Patients in an Urban Native American Health Center, (Family Medicine Journal, 1998), 181.
National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). Integrating Traditional Medicines into Western Medical Treatment, (National Aboriginal Health Organization Fact Sheet, 2012), 1.
World Health Organization (WHO). National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines, (Global Survey, 2005), 2.
National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). Integrating Traditional Medicines into Western Medical Treatment, (National Aboriginal Health Organization Fact Sheet, 2012), 2.
Steven, King and Thomas, Carlson. Biological Diversity, Indigenous Knowledge, Drug Discovery and Intellectual Property Rights: Creating Reciprocity and Maintaining Relationships, (Journal of Ethno-pharmacology, 1996), 48.
National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). Integrating Traditional Medicines into Western Medical Treatment, (National Aboriginal Health Organization Fact Sheet, 2012), 2.
O’Toyosi, Akerele. The Best of both Worlds: Bringing Traditional Medicine up to Date, (Social Science and Medicine Journal, , 1987), 178.
Ann, Marbella et al. Use of Native American Healers among Native American Patients in an Urban Native American Health Center, (Family Medicine Journal, 1998), 182.
Amerika, Yerlilerinde. Native American Medicine and the Role of the Medicine man, (Turkish Neurosurgery Journal, 2002), 2.
Romulo, Alves and Ierece, Rosa. Why Study the Use of Animal Products in Traditional Medicines? (Journal of Ethno-biology and Ethno-medicine, 2005), 1192.
O’Toyosi, Akerele. The Best of both Worlds: Bringing Traditional Medicine up to Date, (Social Science and Medicine Journal, 1987), 178.
Raymond, Obomsawin. Traditional Medicine for Canada’s First Peoples, (British Columbia, Stoney Creek Nation Elder, 2007), 8.
Barbara, Sibbald. New Federal Office will Spend Millions to Regulate Herbal Remedies, Vitamins, (Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1999), 1356.
Steven, King and Thomas, Carlson. Biological Diversity, Indigenous Knowledge, Drug Discovery and Intellectual Property Rights: Creating Reciprocity and Maintaining Relationships, (Journal of Ethno-pharmacology, 1996), 46.
Ann, Marbella et al. Use of Native American Healers among Native American Patients in an Urban Native American Health Center, (Family Medicine Journal, 1998), 183.
World Health Organization (WHO). National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines, (Global Survey, 2005), 5.
Traditional healers in modern medicine
Traditional medicine is a term which is normally used to describe different natural medicine, for instance the Africa traditional medicine and the Chinese medicine. It comprises the use of minerals, non-medication practices, animal parts, herbs and spiritual healings. The practices may involve chants to conciliate spirits as in African traditional medicine cases. These traditional healers have been making use of combined herbal remedies to cure diseases for generations. Various traditional medicines are used where modern medicine has not been effective.
However, most people believe that modern medicine is more reliable than traditional medicine. Because of this reason, traditional healers are viewed as primeval witch doctors. For this reason, there have been campaigns to educate traditional healers to become modern health specialists in order to curb the spread of diseases such as AIDS.
Though traditional healers may not have the knowledge to prescribe most modern proven medicines, the importance of engaging them in the fight against diseases such as AIDS cannot be turned down. In most countries in Africa, most people visit traditional healers than modern medical specialists.
Taking an example from the Republic of Zimbabwe, the current statistics shows there are approximately 46,000 traditional healers compared to 1,500 modern medical doctors. This indicates that the number of people a traditional doctor attends to is much higher than the number of people a modern doctor can attend to in Zimbabwe. Therefore, in most parts of Africa, traditional healers are relied upon because they are regarded as the natural source of treatment and health information. In this regard, it is much better for modern doctors to work hand in hand with traditional healers than to undermine the role they play in the medical field.
Traditional healers unlike modern doctors use natural resources like plant stems, seeds, fruit juices, leaves, natural minerals to cure diseases. These ingredients are naturally extracted from the field without undergoing any chemical processing thus they have no side effects to the body of the user. Another set of traditional healers who use healing methods such as rituals divinations and faith healing brings about social oneness in the community unlike modern medicine where treatments are made personal and private. Diseases such as AIDS are prone to spread easily without the knowledge of the rest of the community.
Traditional healers need to be educated on the good and upgraded methods of medications such as using sterilized and clean equipment when administering their medicine to the patients. This would be the perfect method to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS like their counterparts in the modern medical field.
Because a large number in African countries seek medication from traditional healers, it is advisable to incorporate modern medicine and traditional medicine in research and inventions in order to come up with appropriate solutions to prevent and cure diseases. In conclusion, it is recommendable to support traditional healers in their practices because a large number of people especially in African countries strongly believe in traditional headers. It is very hard to change that perception. Therefore, the government and WHO should make use of them in order to add value to modern medicine especially during this crisis of AIDS.
Vaccines are imperative for preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Consequently, populations presume that the infections are not severe. Further, they assume that they have been cushioned from these diseases and therefore, their vulnerability is very low. This confidence makes them to adopt practices and behaviors that put them at risk of infections. In addition, it has led to increased public concern about the adversarial effects of vaccines and consequently, a significant percentage of individuals are refusing or delaying vaccination. Children that are exempted from immunizations suffer detrimental health effects during outbreaks.
Historical evidence shows that the United States assumed immunizations during the early 1800s. In response to the small pox epidemic, many states passed laws requiring compulsory vaccination. Gradually, the laws were expanded to compel populations to be vaccinated against other infections, such as measles. This benefited the society by controlling outbreaks and minimizing backlash. To ensure effectiveness of vaccinations, the states opted to enforce school immunization programs.
However, these differed from state to state and within institutions in terms of reasons for exemptions, the school grades covered, the procedures that authorities employed in introducing new vaccines, and the range of vaccines (Omer, Salmon, Orenstein, deHart & Halse, 2009).
Currently, schools have expanded the exemptions to include factors other than medical reasons. From a geographical view point, these exemptions differ across states. Besides refusals, some parents opt to delay the vaccinations.
Vaccine refusals have negative spillover effects on the local community too. In addition to triggering the outbreak of these infections, the refusals increase incidences of new infections. Research evidence shows that male white children with college education mothers, living with either four or more siblings, and from rich families are more likely to skip vaccinations. Reasons for refusals range from the parents’ negative attitudes towards vaccinations to concerns about the safety of the vaccines, and the misconception that children tend to receive too many vaccinations.
Healthcare providers and clinicians play a critical role of providing the parents with factual and credible information about the importance of vaccinations. They influence parents’ decision making by providing them with explanations regarding the benefits of immunization as well as addressing their concerns about possible risks. In response to vaccine refusal, Omer et al (2009) indicates that some clinicians decide to discontinue their relations with families that refuse vaccines. However, the academy’s Committee on Bioethics strongly advises the clinicians to continue caring for these families and providing them with vital information regarding the importance of vaccination. Moreover, it encourages them to monitor and review the decisions that such parents make at all times. In instances where such decisions are harmful, it challenges clinicians to intervene accordingly. For instance, they can involve law enforcement authorities if parents’ refusal has adverse effects on the health of the children.
Immunization requirements and compliance policies differ amongst states. In order to create a balance between public good and individual rights, Omer et al (2009) suggests that the relevant authorities should institute and further broaden administrative controls. The non-medical exemptions should be counseled on the harmful effects of vaccine refusal. Although school immunization requirements ensure that children complete the program, they do not put into consideration the importance of timeliness. To ensure successful implementation and attainment of established goals and objectives, future policies should bridge these gaps.
Omer, S., Salmon, D., Orenstein, W., deHart, P. & Halsey, N. (2009). Vaccine refusal, mandatory immunization, and risks of vaccine preventable diseases. New England Journal of Medicine, 360, 1981-1988.
ARTICLE SUMMARY 2
Running head: ARTICLE SUMMARY 1
Nowadays, there has been a dramatic rise in cases concerning the use of psychoactive medications, such as Prozac, Ritalin, and Risperdal among children and teens in the society. Even though there is no enough evidence in this case, I still believe that psychoactive medication should only be used for its sole purpose since there exists little evidence that will warrant its use in children. Psychoactive medications are currently designed to treat adults with mental health issues and therefore should not be extended to children and teens.
Firstly, it is ethically inappropriate to use psychotropic medications on children and adolescents since the research of their long-term effect on children is still uncertain (James & George, 2009). Furthermore, there are two opposing sides with varying opinions. One side believes that the utilization of psychotropic medications is capable of unlocking the full potential of children growing up, thus living a healthy and productive life. The opponents of the debate believe that the increased use of the drug represents the medicalization of children’s normal behavior without considering the biological or social cultural event that might manifest in the future. It is effortless to go with the flow and support one of the systems of fixed beliefs without delving into the density of the problem.
However, from a study led by Rubin (2012), it was shown that babies suffering from the autism spectrum are mostly given psychoactive medications to treat symptoms of ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). On the other hand, Respridorone was used to treat irritability, including aggression, temper tantrums, self-injurious behavior, and rapidly changing moods associated with ASD and has been approved by the FDA.
Though there are compelling arguments on this matter, our society has become acculturated to hearsays, fanatic positions, and high-pitched advocacy. In a literal sense, we have ignored what has been approved by scientists and well-funded research in the interest of groups or individuals. Through constructive and scientific analysis, one will be able to understand that there are those who know what they are discussing in this debate while there are those who have no clue. One of the more annoying things that compel further questioning of the authority is the trend where a teenager can end up in hospital and ask a doctor to prescribe medication that might sometimes end up in the hands of their friends.
Despite the effects of Prozac, Ritalin, Risperdal (Zito) and others, the effects of psychoactive medication to a developing bran is still unknown. It is important for parents of an adolescent not to buy into the notion of a quick fix medication. It will still be imprudent not to note that drugs like Tetracycline, stimulants and Aspirin cause adverse effects on children, such as dental discoloration, growth effects and Reye’s syndrome. In response to stimulants, there is yet much evidence that proves its use in treating ADHD has helped in improving functioning of the children. However, a number of literatures support the efficacy of stimulants when it comes to treating ADHD when properly described by a qualified physician. Regardless, more still has to be done in reference to the safety of children’s health other than assuming that they are the first line pharmacological defense in tackling ADHD.
Clearly, I feel that the extent of the risk of this medication to children and adolescents is well known. Though some people feel there is need to unearth its ability in helping children and teens, it is important to mention that it will be prudent to use it under the experimented and certified right conditions. Therefore, I am of the opinion that a qualified doctor should only give prescription to adults, more so after a comprehensive examination.
James, M., & George, S. (2009). Children and Psychotropic Medication: A Cautionary Note. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
Rubin, D. (2012). Conflicting Data on Psychotropic Use by Children: Two Pieces to the Same Puzzle. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 433.
PSYCHOACTIVE MEDICATIONS 2
Running head: PSYCHOACTIVE MEDICATIONS 1
Ethics, Pricing, and the Pharmaceutical Industry
The paper will seek to evaluate the ethics and pricing concerns in the pharmaceutical industry. It is the ethical obligations of the pharmaceutical companies to charge fair prices to the prescriptions drugs. The Medicare Prescription Drug improvement and modernization act of 203 authorizes the national government to provide drugs for all American citizens in the Medicare program. The Medicare program started a discount system was initiated in the years 2004 and 2005. The two main goals of the project were to increase citizen access to medications while controlling the escalation of prescription drug prices (Alain, 1993). According to the studies by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Families USA, they monitored the pharmaceutical industry’s reposes to the Medicare programs. The studies suggest that the possibility that the industry would raise prices for the drugs to the elderly persons in the society. Especially, in the first quarter of 2006, manufacturer prices for close to 190 prescription drugs used by American aged 50 and over years increased by 6.2%. This led to an overall rate of inflation of 3.5% (Curtis et al, 2006).
Likewise, the private insurance plans that participated in the Medicare programs behaved in a similar manner as they increased their prices for close to 20 prescription drugs (Mahan, 2006). In spite of the suggestions by ten studies that it is early to predict future pricing policies, the studies will continue to monitor and evaluate the expense trend of the drugs in the Medicare patient cohort. Considering the shifting public opinion, the state-level policy makers and judicial bodies are offering their relevant opinions relating to nonviolent drug offenders (Richard, 1992). The increased healthcare costs, expansion of correctional budgets, homeland security demands, reducing state revenues and large budget deficits have forced policy makers to rethink their correctional policies. Therefore, the paper will provide appropriate measures to resolve unethical and unacceptable pricing strategies in the pharmaceutical industry.
The pharmaceutical industry values ethical practice as it lead to access to information required by the health care professionals, access to the medicines required by patients, and patients benefits from the medicines prescribed and used. Firstly, the disregard to personal and medical privacy is one of the main unethical healthcare practices. Health care ethics should respect patient privacy and confidentiality. Privacy aspects are relevant in mental health because patients discusses about their personal details (Sidney, 2000). In order to uphold privacy and confidentiality, the medical professionals should share sensitive and personal information with a single person trusted and chosen by the patients. It assists in protecting the records of private information involving the patients. Managed care usually protects the privacy of information to the extent of federal and state law directions. Therefore, the lack of privacy and confidentiality of personal information is unethical practice that may affect the reputation of the patients.
Recently, the use of false advertising has led to unethical professional health care practices. Managed care engages in advertising that deceives many consumers. This leads to ineffective treatment practices offered to the patients. In addition, the use of deceptive language hinders accurate and reliable information to the patients. Pharmaceutical companies may often restrict access to effective treatment. This misleading language in healthcare violates the desired health communication between patients and the health care professionals. Unethical policies and practices in pharmaceutical industry is a major concern to health care (Curtis et al, 2006). Thus, the unethical practices require distributive justice to set optimum prices and ethical practices for pharmaceuticals.
There are various measures directed to solve the unethical concerns in the pharmaceutical industry. Many questions surround the aggressive pricing policies pursued by most large drug companies. This follows the high costs of new ethical drugs and steady rise in prices of many drugs in the market. The government should set negotiation process between drug companies and the government agencies. The lack of reasonable prices agreed upon by the two parties lead to the drugs adapting the American Free market and the oligopolistic nature of the drug industry. In most European governments, the prices levels are determined by bargaining with the pharmaceutical companies (Curtis et al, 2006). The prices determined seek to cover all the costs involved in the making of drugs including the manufacturing and distribution costs. In addition, there are many inequalities in the distribution of the pharmaceutical products.
It is recorded that certain medicines are not accessible and available to many people because of the pharmaceutical pricing scheme. Especially, the elderly persons are force to pay for high costs of prescription drugs since Medicare does not cover the costs of the drugs. In order to control the distribution and pricing of the medicines, free market versus regulation analysis is important. The accuracy and validity of the drug process is determined based on valorous economic factors. In relation to the free market model, the relevant cause of action is to charge whatever price the maker will accept. This implies, if the market will support a price of $7,000 annually for a drug that will be the preferred drug price (Alain, 1993). Pharmaceutical companies who do not follow the market process incur losses. When the managers of the pharmaceutical companies forego economic and financial data, they become political agents with their social goals. This undermines the foundations of resolving complex social issues such as equality in the distribution of the prescription drugs.
Concerns of the free market philosophy provide minimal assistance solving the problem of fair pricing in the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, other solutions need to be developed to solve the pricing dilemma in the pharmaceutical industry. Creation of a framework of government regulations is relevant in solving practical and procedural problems in order to regulate the drug prices. Government regulations through government agency such as the FDA provide exclusive trademarks and patents rights to companies. This helps to regulate the firms that are associated with the distribution and sales of the prescription drugs (Sidney, 2000). At the prevailing government regulations, any inefficient firms would fail to make profits and thus, withdraw from the market. As forms exits, competition is tightened and in the end, only fewer firms will be left in the industry. Indeed, government regulations can assist in controlling the pricing and distribution of the drugs. In comparison with free market assumptions, government regulations are best placed to handle any unethical implications in the drug markets.
In order to solve the ethical concerns the pharmaceutical industry, the managers should integrate the ethical values with their economic success. However, there are many barriers between the managers and the marketplace. The continued focus on market prices and increasing market share ignores the feedback from the customers. The pharmaceutical firms should accomplish the traditional model of the medical health care that promotes morality and economic success (Richard, 1992). When the healthcare focus shifts to economic measures and creation of strong relationships between corporations and their customers it assist in handling the prevailing concerns and create values from appropriate pricing and distribution of the prescription drugs. Mutual benefits are critical in any business relationships and can be achieved through delivering value criterion. This considered important aspects in the problem of creating value in the pharmaceutical industry in order to provide medicines at a fair and reasonable price. Thus, the value creation perspective is an important aspect in long-term success of the pharmaceutical firms.
Market reforms are also relevant in sorting the impacts on health care costs over the long run. The market reforms cannot be initiated without legislation and thus, there should be created relevant legislations that control the market forces. These include the change of tax laws and creation of HIPCs that supports powerful incentives by the federal government. If the government subsidizes such arrangements, it would ensure relevant and appropriate systems that promote the people’s access to health care resources. In contrast, the implications of employment who may not guarantee balanced resolution to the problems (Curtis et al, 2006). The legislations would create balanced grounds to avoid any ambiguity in health care pricing and distribution decision-making.
By the adoption of the relationships and value creation is a significant solution in minimizing the ethical concerns in the pharmaceutical industry. This assist in solving the impeding issues in corporation that seeks to deliver value and repair the critical relationships with the customers. Therefore, the questions building strong relationships are crucial in solving the pertinent problems in the pharmaceutical firms to deal with the unethical concerns. Today, many Americans have no financial protection against the costs of medical care. The lack of finical coverage creates major concerns in the society. This implies financial difficulties to many citizens in America (Curtis et al, 2006). This creates ethical concerns for the hospital to provide primary care to the citizens. The society should not undermine the moral standing of medical and hospital professionals.
The government should develop an incentive framework in order to improve the quality and costs of healthcare. The discussion extends to the creation of a collaborative effort that provides optimal solution in major firms. Both the pharmaceutical industry and the government regulation responsibility help to deal with the pricing of medicines. If the government regulators acted independently, they would not have access to enough information and specialized competitive to make the relevant and appropriate decisions in the industry (Alain, 1993). However, the collaborative efforts ensure that the community is well understood and covered to make effective decisions. Since, it allows companies to repair and control of the pricing systems and avoids any problems set by external price controls.
The relevant recommendations of the ethical analysis of the pharmaceuticals industry ethic concerns it leads to normative recommendations. Firstly, I would recommend the pharmaceutical companies to be responsible for primary virtue of justice. Any party involved in pharmaceutical industry should adopt distributive justice that ensures relevant ethical approaches in the industry. Both public and private actions contain health care costs through incentives in order to improve quality and reduce costs, in which it enlightens long term self interests and public morality (Richard, 1992).
Secondly, health care is an essential commodity and thus, it should be considered as a primary social good. In relations to primary social goods, self-determination is relevant in pharmaceutical ethical considerations. This makes the distribution of the medicines not contingent to one’s abilities and standing in the community. This alternative creates a more comprehensive involvement of government in the process of price regulations that can be inefficient in the long run (Sidney, 2000). Alternatively, I would also recommend that the imperative of justice should be balanced with the key financial objectives. The balancing of justice and key financial objectives helps to create a pricing equation that minimizes the unethical concerns relating to prices and distribution of drugs in the community.
The special interests groups include the drug dealers, patients and the federal government. The special inertest groups have made contributions in influencing the policy approach to governance the distribution and the pricing of the drugs. The federal government creates policy discussions on various levels in order to incorporate substantial factors in the health care industry. Any concerns in ten distribution and pricing of the drugs can be declared on ineffective models that fail to create relevant policy reforms. The national federal agencies also assist in creation on their own laws that leads to the development, coordination, and enforcement of the drug policies.
The paper recognizes the various measures to alleviate the unethical concerns based on various researchers and policy makers. The overall aspects of corporate governance seek to address corporate and clinical issues in order to ensure safe and strategic conduction of the health care services. It provides the framework through which organizations attains relevant objectives and monitors their performance. Based on the assessment of Sarnabes-Oxly implications, corporate governance would set vital aspects to health care professionals. This facilitates full access to forms, tools, and guidelines that develops pharmaceutical companies (Richard, 1992).
Corporate responsibility has powerful social impacts relating to its corporate decisions. The decisions involve social and economic consequences that are intertwined. If companies choose to be responsible social agents, they should cultivate a broader view of their environment and their obligations. Firstly, the pharmaceutical companies should treat the people that affect the decision as important stakeholders in their prices. This links the strategic decision to corporations in order to recognize the legitimacy of the stakeholders including the consumers, employees and the managers (Sidney, 2000).
In summary, all involved should take part in creating relevant measures to resolve unethical concerns in the pharmaceutical industry. The implications of increased healthcare costs, expansion of correctional budgets, homeland security demands, reducing state revenues and large budget deficits have forced policy makers to rethink their correctional policies. Thus, the special inertest groups have made contributions in influencing the policy approach to governance the distribution and the pricing of the drugs. Government regulations through government agency such as the FDA provide exclusive trademarks and patents rights to companies. This helps to regulate the firms that are associated with the distribution and sales of the prescription drugs. Both the pharmaceutical industry and the government regulation responsibility help to deal with the pricing of medicines. If the government regulators acted independently, they would not have access to enough information and specialized competitive to make the relevant and appropriate decisions in the industry. This links the strategic decision to corporations in order to recognize the legitimacy of the stakeholders including the consumers, employees and the managers. In addition, the balancing of justice and key financial objectives that develops relevant pricing equation relating to pricing and distribution of drugs in the community.
Alain, C. E. (1993). Health Care Costs: A moral and economic problem. California Management Review, 35(2), pp.134.
Curtis J. Vanderwaal, Jamie F. Chriqui, Rachel M. Bishop, Duane C. Mc Bride, Douglas Y. L.(2006). State durg policy reform movement: the use of ballot iniatives and legislation to promote diversion to drug treatment. Journal of Drug Issues, Vol 36(3).pp.619.
Richard, A. S. (1992). Ethics, pricing and the pharmaceutical industry. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 11(8), Pp.617
Sidney, T. (2000). The issue of drug costs: looking for a few good facts. Vital Speeches of the Day. Vol 67(3), pp.86.
ETHICS, PRICING, AND THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY 2
Running head: ETHICS, PRICING AND THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY 1
Cultural Symbol the Medicine Wheel in First Nations Culture
By definition, the Medicine Wheel is an ancient Aboriginal symbol that explores on the complex nature of people within their environment (Connolly &MacKenzie, 1998, p. 44). The symbol represents the teachings, beliefs, and way of life of a First Nation that have existed for a long time, possibly thousands of years (Gibson, 2008).
The Medicine Wheel was initially started by the Americans of European ancient at around the end of 1800’s and early 1900’s. This group of people made reference to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel found near Sheridan, in Wyoming as a symbol of harmony and connections. Later, research carried out across the Alberta plains and other parts of Northern America identified a number of stone circles with configurations similar to that of Big Horn Medicine Wheel. Their resemblance to the Big Horn Medicine made these stones also termed as Medicine Wheel. Since then over 70 medicine Wheels, from erecting huge stone structures, have been found and are still used to date. However, their spiritual meaning is only shared among First Nations (Gibson, 2008).
The symbol has multiple uses, which differ from one culture to another and from one century to the other. The Medicine Wheel has been utilized for prayer, medication (healing and health), protection, communication and bringing individuals together, honoring the forces of nature, as burial grounds, as a sacred place, honor to the four directions, astronomy, and tracing the four phases of the moon. Across centuries, each culture and generation added their own purpose and medicine into the four wheels of the symbol (Stec, 2013).
The Medicine Wheel has four pillars, hence a symbol for representing the sacredness of four. These pillars stand for various meanings, concepts, and ideas, which differ among cultures (Isaak,&Marchessault, 2008). Generally, the four pillars of the Wheel stand for the four compass directions: North, East, West, and South. Each of these directions is represented by a distinct color, precisely black, white, red, or yellow. Each direction and color can stand for the four seasons of the year (summer, spring, winter, and autumn), the four stages of life (childhood/birth, youth, adulthood/elderhood, death), the four parts of an individual (mind or intellectual, body or physical, emotional, and spiritual), the four elements of nature (fire or the sun, water, air, and the earth), the four kingdoms (plantae, animalia, fungi, and Protista), the four ceremonial plants (sweet grass, tobacco, cedar, sage), and animals (Bear, Eagle, Buffalo, Wolf and many others)(Lawson, 2005). For instance, the North direction bears white color and stands for winter season and elderly phase of life, East bears red color and stands for spring season and childhood phase of life, South bears yellow color and stands for summer season and youth or adolescent phase of life, and West bears black color and stands for autumn season and adulthood phase of life (Wenger-Nabigon, n.d).
As aforementioned, each pillar of the Wheel is associated with distinct concept, relationship, or idea. Thus, the symbol help cultures in First Nations to understand different aspects of life, which are talked about or presented in sets of four including the parts of the whole person, stages of life, seasons, and elements of nature among other factors. By exploring the four dimensions of the wheel, each person within different cultures can understand where they are positioned on the wheel and where other people may possibly be positioned. Additionally, the wheel helps applicable cultures realize wholeness, identify appropriate medication, adopt effective decision-making processes, and support equality and balance amongst themselves (Connolly &MacKenzie, 1998). However, the meaning, use, and significance of the Medicine Wheel are applicable to indigenous North American cultures and religions. Other cultures view the Wheel as a cultural symbol or an art symbol that bears less religious meaning (Hengen, 2013). Today, the Medicine Wheel is a symbol that signifies peaceful interaction among human beings from different spheres of the world, hence harmonious connections (Bear, 2008).
Bear, O., M., (2008).Sacred Journey of the Medicine Wheel. California, New York: Strategic Book Publishing
Connolly, M.,&MacKenzie, M. (1998).Effective Participatory Practice: Family Group Conferencing in Child Protection. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Gibson, R., (2008). My Body, My Earth: The Practice of Somatic Archeology. Bloomington, India: iUniverse
Hengen, T., (2013).Medicine Wheel Model of Mental Health. Canada, United Kingdom: FriesenPress
Isaak, A., C., &Marchessault, G., (2008). Meaning Health: The Perspective of Aboriginal Adults and Youth in a Northern Manitoba First Nations Community. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 114-122
Lawson, E., J., (2005). Hands-On Social Studies, Grade 6. Winnipeg, Canada: Portage & Main Press
Stec, B., M., L., (2013).Indegenous Medicine Wheel For All People. Florida, United States: First Edition Design Pub.
Wenger-Nabigon, A., ( n.d). The Cree Medicine Wheel as an Organizing Paradigm of Theories of Human Development.Native Social Work Journal, vol. 7, pp. 139-161
CULTURAL SYMBOL THE MEDICINE WHEEL IN FIRST NATIONS CULTURE 2
Running head: CULTURAL SYMBOL THE MEDICINE WHEEL IN FIRST NATIONS CULTURE 1
Australian Pharmacists’ Perception Of Complementary And Alternative Medicines (Cams)
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is defined by Murray and Shepherd to refer to the medical products and practices which do not fall under the contemporary standard care practiced by medical doctors, osteopathy, and health professionals like registered physicians, physical therapists, and nurses. (24) The concept of alternative medicine has been used to refer to the medical interventions that are used instead of the usual standard medical intervention. In another definition by Angell and Kassirer, complementary therapies are best understand as those interventions working with conventional medical treatment while alternative therapies rely on alternative approaches on conventional diagnosis and therapies. (1) In the cases where complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, such an intervention is usually called integrative medicine and this has been considered by many (2, 3, 5, 6) as being a crucial contributor to the medical field in mitigating medical challenges that face people and countries. (4)
According to Chalmers, the exact nature of these CAMs varies widely as it is expansive in its application and is considered to include interventions through the use of herbals, vitamin, homoeopathic, mineral, and nutritional among other supplements. (8) In Coulter’s description, CAM therapies are equally varied as it is extensive including Chinese medicine, naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, osteopathy, reflexology, homoeopathy, aromatherapy, Bach and other flower remedies, hypnotherapy, Alexander technique, massage, ayurvedic medicine, shiatsu, yoga, spiritual healing, anthroposophical medicine, iridology, meditation, kinesiology among others. (9)
These interventions have been in wide application around the world as well as remote cultures of Asia and Far East where they have constituted their traditional medical interventions for centuries deeply entrenched in their culture. (10, 3) In the Western civilized nations, CAM use continues being embraced in a manner that easily looks enigmatic although there still remains lack of clarity in the way the therapies work and whether they are safe or even effective at all. In the words of Eastwood, the main reasons that contribute to the increase in the popularity of the use of these interventions in Australia especially are general societal changes rather than specific reasons internal to medicine.
Gap of the Research
In these introductory remarks, it has been suggested that CAM intervention therapies and medicine continues to get acclaim in many cultures around the world without there being sufficient evidence in support of its applicability and plausibility as alternative medication approaches for people. (11) There exist challenges of adequately defining CAM as regards the extent to which their modalities can be considered as unified paradigm in the medical field especially in Australia. As a social phenomenon, the use of CAM is not well understood let alone well researched on which begs the need for detailed and deliberate research and study of the practices viewed through the eyes of evidence-based healthcare paradigm prism.
(14) Modern times have sufficiently established a sustainable and defendable belief in the contemporary healthcare informed with scientific empirical data to enable its irrefutable understanding of its operation and the safety of its application. With this view, the application and use of CAM interventions with little understanding backed with empirical data supporting the concept of the interventions is at the center of the controversy in these interventions exists. (12, 13)
This paper seeks to shade light through extensive research and study of existent materials to create a better understanding of the CAM intervention and the safety of their application in the Australian culture. This is particularly important since the field of medicine continues to experience explosion in its knowledge base through genomic medicine which opens newer frontiers in medical approaches in healthcare systems and medical care which makes the entry of CAM intervention quite interesting and one worth of deliberate consideration. (15) As it is usually consistent with explosive and rampant expansion programs in any field of academia, there is always a challenge with properly vetting the exact nature and safety of the newer intervention enjoined to the mainstream approach in existence. CAM intervention therefore is such a claim in the mainstream healthcare branch whose claim to be scientifically plausible this far continues to be ravaged with wide debate and uncertainty. (16) This paper therefore seeks to identify the gap of knowledge on this topic in the Northern Territory as an Australian state.
Australian Pharmacists’ Perception of Complementary and Alternative Medicines
There is extensive research in support of the fact that there exists a great challenge in understanding the exact nature of CAM in the Australian culture presenting these measures as having on uniform definition and understanding. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in the US defines CAM as healthcare practices not considered integral part of conventional medicine. (11, p218) In the Australian community, these practices have been grouped as observed by Chalmers in five major domains which are: (8)
Alternative medical systems
Manipulative and Body-Based Methods
All of these subgroups as suggested emanate from a principle that makes them all interdependent on each other in one way or another and this principle is what MacLennan, Wilson and Taylor call the Principle of Vitalism which states that all living things are sustained by a vital force different from and greater than chemical and physical forces. (21, p569) Contemporary studies on this topic show that many therapies emanating from traditional paradigms get easily incorporated in current healthcare practices without instinctively adopting the concept of the principle of vitalism. In this regard, the CAM interventions are understood to constitute both weaker and stronger versions of the principle of vitalism where the stronger version, the vital force is supernatural and transcendental whereas in the weaker version, it assumes a position that Kleijnen, Knipschild and ter Riet call the healing power of nature facilitated by physicians. (18, p319)
This understanding is in direct contrast with materialistic understanding of diseases and healthcare which presents diseases as being a human phenomenon that can be explained entirely by biological materialism as seen in biomedicine and therefore there is no need to invoke forces of vitalism. (18) In this regard, the philosophy of health is quite made distinctive where healthcare itself and the healthcare provider role in it are considered distinct. This is why biomedicine and CAM are considered different and distinct paradigms in healthcare provisions. (17)
Australian Pharmacists have a soft spot for CAM intervention as evidenced with wide application and use of the intervention within the country and the Northern Territory. Government surveys show that over 42% of Australian people have or continue to use CAM treatments at one time or another in their lives. A 200 North Australian Study showed that Australian residents most of whom sampled from the Northern Territory region spent over $2.3 billion on alternative therapies which was a 62% increase since 1993. (20) In another research, it was found that this apparent change which is consistent with findings in the US and the Great Britain is social movement that features the increasing legitimacy of CAM within the healthcare services in the region of its application.
Closer consideration of the prevalence of these practices in the Northern Territory region in Australia shows that there exists slight reservation with this apparent solid evidence shown in the boom in the use of CAM interventions where people only appear to prefer these interventions as home or folk remedies as they commonly call them. (22) What remains left to the whims of change in the society is the social acceptability of the interventions as been ostensibly prevalent and preferable among researchers and medical practitioners involved in standard and mainstream medical interventions. (23) There is no data however, in print to the fact that this admission exists among Australians who use CAM interventions and research shows that up to as high as 57% of CAM users in the country that have been surveyed confess that they do have not told their doctors that they have been using CAM treatments currently or before in their medical intervention history.
Scientific Critique and Perception of CAM treatments
This far the question that lurks in the background is what kind of scientific proof exists in support of these interventions as regards their application and safety of their usage. To this end, research shows that there are a number of authorities both within Australia and oversees that provide incredible insights about CAM treatments in their researches and studies to shade some light on this question. In this view, debate continues to rage on as to whether there should be any therapy that can have grounds to be classified as alternative medicine at all and there are those medical researchers that claim that there can only be two categories in this sense: medicine that has been adequately tested and verified as being scientifically sound and that which has not.
(26) For those who argue like this, there is a widespread feeling that healthcare practices should only be evidence-based in their classification. According to George Lundberg, the former editor of the Journal of the American Association (JAMA), traditional medicine would adopt any treatment intervention that has been rigorously tested and found appropriate for use in its safety and effectiveness regardless of whether it is considered alternative or not.
In the eyes of the founder and operator of Quackwatch, Stephen Barrett, healthcare treatments largely considered alternative should rather be classified as experimental, genuine or questionable. (27) In this perception, Barrett defines genuine as those interventions that have been tested and proven to have scientific evidence backing their usage, working, and application. He defines questionable as those in use without any scientific evidence supporting their safety of usage and application, and experimental as those interventions that are currently unproven by empirical tests but promise a plausible rationale of their safety of application and usage. (28) In his view, Barrett raises concerns with the prevalent thought that just because alternative methods appear to have merit, then an impression that the rest have to be treated with the same respect and acceptance even chances of them being worthless notwithstanding. (29, p346)
On the account of Edzard Ernst who is a practicing professor of complementary medicine, he considers it appropriate to characterize evidence supporting CAM treatments as being weak, negative or non-existent. In his extensive researches he has done on CAM treatments and published in The Economist, Ernst concludes that 95% of the CAM treatments he has studied including acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and reflexology are statistically indistinguishable from placebo treatments in use in the healthcare industry today. (29, p342)
In the view of Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, CAM treatments are those interventions that are not able to be tested, consistently fail tests, or do not elicit interest to encourage need for them to be tested. (30) He maintains that there is nothing like alternative medicine and as far as he is concerned, there only exists medicines that work and those that do not work in which case he surmises that if any medical intervention is tested and found to work effectively, then it cannot be considered alternative but rather becomes medicine right away. (31) This hard stand has also been taken by Wallace Sampson, who doubles up as a medicine professor at University of Stanford and the editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. He says that CAM is a concept that is marred with absurdity since he surmises that the terms alternative’ and complementary’ have been replaced with dubious’, quackery’, and implausible’. To this end, Sampson fears that the concept supporting CAM treatments tolerates contradiction and lacks thorough experiment and reason in its formulation and application. (2)
This perception that seeks to restrict the freedom with which the application and use of CAM treatments should be allowed in the conventional sense of medical interventions especially in Australia and the West in general was probably openly supported in 2009. This was when four Nobel Laureates challenged the apparent lack of critical thinking in CAM discussion as a basis to refute their effectiveness. (3) In the same year, a group of scientists proposed that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) be shut down arguing that vast of the studies being conducted there derived its concepts from unconventional understanding of diseases and psychology and had little success to show for itself despite the large government investment in its initiatives.
(23) These researchers further argue that CAM interventions lying under more plausible intervention fields of diet, yoga, botanical remedies, and relaxation should be studied in other National Institutes of Health (NIH) to compete with conventional research projects. (4)
This reluctance to accept these interventions among other scientific quarters of research in Australia and around the world further widens the variation in thought that affects the extent to which governments support research into the appropriateness and safety of using the interventions. Bausell Barker who is a research methods expert drawing from these trends of dissenting thought in accepting CAM treatments says that it has become politically correct to investigate nonsense where government support only is increasingly becoming refuted as being used to give unfounded legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate in the first place. (11, p230)
The Use of CAM Treatments in Australia
Despite the dissenting thought and doubts cast on the safety and appropriateness of CAM treatments, there is still a high propensity to the use of these treatments among Australian people which is occasioned by the apparent success rates that the interventions has had on people. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the agency that regulates and guides the use and application standards of CAM treatments in Australia where the Australian Regulatory Guidelines for Complementary Medicines (ARGCM) require that pesticides, toxic metals, microbial toxins and contaminations, fumigants, and radionuclides that may be present in herbal substances have to be monitored. (6)
Many people commonly use mainstream medicine to do diagnosis for their ailments but turn on CAM treatments for therapy and health-enhancing therapies. (12) Research shows that CAM treatments are usually used in conjunction with mainstream medical interventions to increase the chances of success and effectiveness a concept referred to as Integrative/Integrated Medicine. (7, 3, 12) A 2009 survey showed that 16% of respondents in Northern Territory in Australia had sought CAM interventions as well as a medical doctor’s intervention. In the same survey, it was found that 97% of the respondents who sought CAM treatment interventions also sought the services of a medical doctor in the past 12 months. Most of the medical doctors do not know that there patients use CAM treatments as only 38% of the patients discussed their CAM usage with their medical doctors. (9, 10)
In 2004, a survey conducted by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) showed that 62% of adults in Australia had used a form of CAM treatment in the past 12 months and 75% across a lifespan. (11) These figures however significantly drop to a mere 36% and 46% when intervention through prayer for healing of health conditions is removed from the survey results. The survey narrowed down on yoga, herbal treatment, meditation, and Atkins diet as some of the CAM treatment interventions surveyed on. (19) Elsewhere around the world, the trends of patients using CAM interventions have reflected a similar trend. For instance, in 2006 a BBC telephone survey done on 1209 adults showed that 20% of the respondents in Britain had used CAM interventions in the past 12 months and this number was tipped to go up in subsequent years. (18)
Fig. 1: Percent of adults who have used CAM Treatments in Australia in 2009
In yet another survey conducted in 2005 sampling a total of 1067 adults aged above 18 years of age from Australian states and territories to establish their CAM use in the previous 12 months found that 68.9% of the respondents had used at least one form of the 17 CAM treatment methods. 44.1% (69.2 million) were found to have visited a CAM practitioner in the past 12 months which was almost identical to the number of respondents who visited medical practitioners in the same period (69.3 million). (12, 18) The same research also found that the annual expenditure on CAM treatments nationally was estimated to be in the tune of 4.13 billion Australian dollars. The commonest characteristics of these CAM users were aged between 18 and 34 years, of female gender, employed, with private health insurance cover, well-educated, and with a higher-than-average income. (12 14, 19)
From the foregoing discussion, analysis and results, it can be appropriately concluded that the use of CAM is not only considerably prevalent among the Australian people, but is also highly preferable as a medical intervention being used to supplement the conventional medical interventions after diagnosis. It is also apparent that CAM use nationally in Australia has increased in recent studies as compared to previous studies which indicate an increase in CAM popularity in the country. (31) This apparent increased preference of these interventions continues to occur even in the wake of continued varied opinion on the safety and effectiveness of CAM treatment interventions. The Australian Pharmacists hold quite divergent views on these interventions and in some instances these views are directly antagonistic creating an impasse in conventional application of healthcare intervention to treat medical conditions. (22)
Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, Edzard Ernst says that almost half of the entire population in Australia among other developed countries uses CAM treatment interventions. (17, pS47) For those pharmacists, researchers, and medical practitioners opposed to the use of CAM treatment interventions, continue to hold that these interventions should be subjected to empirical scientific study to establish their suitability and effectiveness as medicines before they are considered alternatives to medical treatment. (25) In an interview with The Independent, Ernst gave a perceptive explanation why he thought that CAM’s use was gaining popularity among Australian people and the developed world at large and by saying:
Why is it so popular, then? Ernst blames the providers, customers and the doctors whose neglect, he says, has created the opening into which alternative therapists have stepped. “People are told lies. There are 40 million websites and 39.9 million tell lies, sometimes outrageous lies. They mislead cancer patients, who are encouraged not only to pay their last penny but to be treated with something that shortens their lives. “At the same time, people are gullible. It needs gullibility for the industry to succeed. It doesn’t make me popular with the public, but it’s the truth. (9, p103 104)
On the other hand, those who advocate for the use of CAM treatment interventions maintain that these approaches are sufficient, effective, cheap, and without side effects on patients since they are basically from naturally occurring flora and fauna. (26, 24) They also hold that these interventions are appropriate in treating a host of major and minor medical conditions and even have selected publications that prove the effectiveness and safety of a selected number of these interventions. (23, 16, 7)
On this front, these advocators of CAM usage assert that a PubMed search reveals over 370 000 research papers dealing with alternative medicines that have been certified and published in Medline-recognized journals since as far as 1996. (3) Regarding why CAM treatment interventions continue growing in popularity among users, Ernst in his 2010 paper entitled The public’s enthusiasm for complementary and alternative medicine amounts to a critique of mainstream medicine, sums the reasons behind this popularity as follows:
CAM is popular because of the therapeutic relationship of its practitioners and the patients. Providers of CAM tend to build better therapeutic relationships than mainstream healthcare professionals. In turn, this implies that much of the popularity of CAM is a poignant criticism of the failure of mainstream healthcare. We should consider it seriously with a view of improving our service to patients. (9, p107)
Owing to this therefore, the debate on CAM usage and application as a viable option for medical treatment will most certainly stay here for long until a truce is attained when the conventional medical intervention requirement of empirical scientific testing is successfully applied to CAM treatment interventions with positive results. While the debate rages on, what is ostensibly apparent is the fact that CAM use and application is slowly becoming popular and Australian Pharmacists are slowly heeding to these trends, their differences in perception and opinion notwithstanding.
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AUSTRALIAN PHARMACISTS PERCEPTION OF CAM TREATMENTS 1
What made me decide to become a Doctor
The decision to pursue a profession in medicine by becoming a doctor has involved the influence of several experiences and insights in my life. These experiences and insights have caused a personal appreciation and recognition of the value of medicine, broadly, and doctors’ responsibilities and services, specifically, in the wellbeing, fitness, and capacity of individuals and societies.
The experiences have taught me that medicine and doctors have vital responsibilities and roles in the ascertainment of desirable physical and bodily conditions that underlie effective participation and performances in social, cultural, economic, and other activities within societies. One of the intriguing things about medicine, in which I have had a personal interest, has involved observations of associations and connections between inner bodies and the environment or surroundings in human life. I have also wondered about the ability and knowledge in medicine that allows the cure and remedy of conditions in inner human bodies relating to the effects of the human environment. I have found it fascinating how varying environmental factors, the most common and significant of which I think is smoking, can affect the inner body functioning processes in humans and determine the capacity and potential of the individual to perform daily duties and responsibilities, by virtue of personal health
. Medicine’s capability to explain the processes of such effects of human environments on inner body functioning and identify protective and curative strategies to address them is intriguing. It focuses on the knowledge and awareness of the structure, process, and nature of human life and the broad variety of factors that determine its growth and development or deterioration and loss. This potential of medicine offers a strong motivation for my choice of the field in my career. The profession of a doctor provides an opportunity for the discovery and effective experience of this potential in medicine.
In my neighborhood, I have witnessed several cases of health threats in which doctors have had vital roles in cure or management. These have included cases of cancer, various disabilities, and common illnesses such as diabetes, depression problems, and hypertension. The professionals’ involvement in the management and cure of these cases has availed considerable and effective convenience, comfort, hope, and confidence for both individual patients and their families. I have witnessed the patients’ families’ dependence and trust of the doctors as they attend to the patients, a factor that has spurred my respect for the profession.
This experience has contributed to my regard of the profession of medicine, principally a doctor’s profession, as a noble and gracious career, especially as it involves a humble service to society in the assurance of health at personal and society levels. The opportunity to serve and perform in a profession that offers personal esteem and dignity advantages for services in the society, besides competent livelihood and career growth opportunities, is attractive and motivating. It assures the potential of high and durable occupational motivation, a factor that I believe is fundamental for career excellence.
My recognition of the value of medicine in social welfare, through these experiences and insights, has promoted a personal admiration of the profession and its practitioners. In such admiration, I have found motivational and inspirational value that has lasted in my life since an early age. At a personal level, the psychological and emotional impact of this motivation and inspiration has influenced my choice of medicine, specifically becoming a doctor, as the profession of my choice.
Insert surname here 2
Business Ethics in Pharmaceutical Industry
Ethical concerns regarding the pharmaceutical sector have prompted many academic articles, media stories, books and television storylines, and conference presentations. Nevertheless, few individuals would applaud the termination of pharmaceutical manufacturers, whether of generic or branded products, since numerous of their products assist in preventing or forestalling death, restoring lost or diminished functions and improve lives of connection and meaning. Since product manufacture and development occurs in an exceptionally competitive market, many business activities can be morally justified according to business ethics.
The Code of ethics need be based on the standards of sincerity, integrity, and accountability. Not only does it contributes to the constructive image of the sector but it also contributes to rising allegiance of the company´s workers who easily classify themselves with the firm’s philosophy when they recognize that they operate in an ethical atmosphere. Social pressure and changes on keeping ethical standards developed in noticeably declared values in pharmaceutical setting. The demand on commercialization is apparent, conversely, there is community health protection. Promotion of the pharmaceutical sector and the biotechnology sector must consider the multiplicity of ethical issues raised by the marketing and commercialization. Social marketing has thus become one of the significant promotion tools that put the emphasis on keeping the equilibrium between customer’s satisfaction, public interest, and the company’s profit.
Ethics in the area of pharmaceuticals that worry the pharmacist as an individual and the pharmaceutical firm as a business body is going through evolution, where pharmaceutical practices are diverse today than they were previously. The pharmaceutical technology and innovation improvement has wrought the pharmaceutical sector and pharmacists themselves. Consequently, the need of solid sturdy ethics embedded into the pharmacist as a person that will then form a pharmaceutical industry with high ethical principles is essential. Pharmacy and ethics at large must be responsive and approachable to an inevitably changing environment.
Following ethical values signifies that businesses need to develop their own code of conduct as to what activities constitute right and wrong. Pharmaceutical sector will also follow firm protocols, regulations, rules, and guiding principle according to the prescription of the government and other agencies within the industry where they function. The industry does not carry out or be occupied in any action or activity, which would be measured as an iniquitous practice.
What are the ethical issues associated with advertising and marketing of pharmaceutical industry?
What is the impact of pharmaceutical ethical issues on patients?
Are there any ethical issues associated with distribution of products by pharmaceutical industry?
What ethical issues arise from using alternative and complementary drugs?
What approaches can be used to address ethical issues in pharmaceutical industry?
Objectives of the study
To assess current promotion practices in the pharmaceutical sector, examining both consumer and pharmacist-oriented promotion
To presents examples of marketing practices and their impact on consumer and doctor behavior.
To identify negative impacts of these practices which include misleading promotion
To study the various corporate promotional practices in the pharmaceutical industry
Importance of study
Pharmaceutical products have potential to treat illness, save lives, and cure diseases. Patients are the crucial benefactors of the diverse drugs produced and marketed by pharmaceutical firms. Sometimes pharmaceutical businesses, in the name of marketing their product, might go out of the way to persuade doctors, intermediaries in their supply chain along with retailers who will ultimately be in charge of dispensing the products to consumers.
Ethical issues concerning the promotion and marketing of pharmaceutical products has received high attention. The sellers and the buyers are believed to come together in the marketplace with something akin to equal footing, but because this is unfeasible in pharmaceutical industry, patients must depend on a medical doctor for professional guidance. This advice should be untainted by the inducements provided by pharmaceutical firms (Davidson, 2005).
Pharmacists face an ethical dilemma regarding the use of complementary and alternative medicines. As health care professional pharmacist are expected to provide a high level of unbiased, evidence based health care (Applebe et al., 2002), while their business side is expected to make profit. Pharmacist’s professionalism and business roles are in conflict with the sale of alternative medicines.
Pharmaceutical companies are crucial to the health structure; by complementing other forms of healthcare services, they can lessen mortality and morbidity rates and improve quality of life. Thus, access to healthcare and essential medication is increasingly seen as basic human right. Nevertheless, the capacity of pharmaceutical companies to reduce suffering, improve health, and save lives, depends on them being, safe, of good quality, available, affordable, and appropriately used (World Health Organization, 2009).
The pharmaceutical industry is highly susceptible to unethical practices and corruption, because of the high market importance of pharmaceutical drugs (World Health Organization, 2009). Furthermore, the stakeholders concerned are many, different and have diverse objectives. The stakeholders include manufacturers, retailers, wholesaler, sales representatives, prescribers, policy makers, researchers, and regulators (Subedi, 2009). The dilemma arises when the competition is high, and there is more than one firm manufacturing similar product, under dissimilar brand name, for the same market. There are many local pharmaceutical firms manufacturing similar drug and each firm seeks to sell more drugs and maximize proceeds. Instead of providing novel products to the market, these companies tend to manufacture alike drugs as other manufacturers.
Previously, in most nations the advertising and promotion of ethical pharmaceutical products was mainly carried out for physicians and pharmacists. However, from the early 1990s, companies began direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. DTC advertisements were used in some developed nations to inform the public that physicians had a new treatment to help them treat certain diseases. The advertisements did not mention the name of the products, but rather, they asked patients with specific problems or symptoms to see their physician for advice. This sort of DTC advertisement was quite popular in the United States. The question will be is it ethical to influence the public to ask their physician on drug prescribing.
In addition to this, advertising and promotion to physicians, seminars, and symposia goes on as usual. Sales representatives are as active as ever calling on doctors, pharmacists and other health-care professionals. These representatives will give information about their companies’ products, how to use them, the possible side effects, and the different dosage forms available. They also give away samples to physicians and these samples are sometimes used to initiate treatment for a new patient or, in some cases, to provide medication for a patient who cannot afford to buy it. Ethical questions are always being asked about whether it is ethical to give away free samples or to give medicines for free to the customers. Some nation have regulated against giving away free samples for certain categories of prescription drugs.
As pointed out by Ackerman (2010), identity is the value creating potential (Ackerman, 2010). In this way, for Pharmaceutical companies, the product is their identity and the promise they make through their product creates value for them and can be tested through effectiveness of their product. However, the consumers at most time is unaware of the brand and what it promises. They have to trust the professional advice of a health practitioner, be it a doctor or the pharmacist. Pharmaceutical companies use health practitioners to communicate their product message and promise to customers. Brand promise is what you say to your customer and what is to be delivered.
It is my belief that the pharmaceutical should be apprehensive with the issues involved with ethics, not only to differentiate and make preferences between right and wrong but to be transparent, to avoid any grey area’ as some scholars have pointed out that many take advantage of. The grey areas should be removed to assist in ethical decision-making. Looking at the ethical issue on the basis with law can provide a foundation to help improve the quality and standard for the whole pharmaceutical industry.
Pharmaceuticals companies have long maintained influence over the medical field and the medical personnel. As with any other business, it is at times necessary to exert some force in the market to profit from it. The marketing strategy a company chooses and actions it takes to exert its pressure sometimes may raise an ethical debate. The pharmaceutical industry has moved from one being an ethically sound innovative partner in the development of health, to an inherent corporate giant that unethically markets its products to exploit patients and physicians alike to maximize profit. (Cousins, 2009)
Ackerman, L. (2010). The Identity Effect. OD Practitioner, 36-42.
Applebe G. E., Wingfield J., Taylor L. (2002). Practical Exercises in Pharmacy Law and Ethics. Pharmaceutical Press, London.
Cousins, C. (2009). Pharmaceutical Marketing: The Unethical Reform of an Industry. University of Kentucky, Gatton College of Business & Economics. Gatton Student Research Publication.
Davidson, D. K. (2005, April 24). When does a gift to a doctor become a bribe? Marketing News, 29(9).
Subedi, M. (2009). Trade in Health Sector: Unfair Competition in Pharmaceutical products in Nepal. Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 3, 123 – 142.
World Health Organization. (2009). Measuring Transparency in the Public Pharmaceutical Sector. WHO.
Davidson, D. K. (2005, April 24). When does a gift to a doctor become a bribe? Marketing News, 29(9).
BUSINESS ETHICS IN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY 8
Running head: BUSINESS ETHICS IN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY 1