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Should NICE evaluate complementary and alternative medicine?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39122.512211.BE (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:506
  1. Linda Franck, professor1,
  2. Cyril Chantler, chair2,
  3. Michael Dixon, chair3
  1. 1University College London Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH
  2. 2King's Fund, London W1G 0AN
  3. 3NHS Alliance, Retford, Nottingham DN22 6JD
  1. Correspondence to: L Franck l.franck{at}ich.ucl.ac.uk

    Demand for complementary and alternative medicine is high despite limited evidence. Linda Franck and colleagues believe that a thorough review by NICE would benefit the NHS and patients, but David Colquhoun argues that it cannot afford to re-examine evidence that has shown little benefit

    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance is built on the rigorous appraisal of scientific evidence and the evaluation of the cost effectiveness of diagnostics and treatments.12 The Secretary of State for Health refers topics for development of guidance based on national priorities.3 NICE has received international recognition for its topic selection and appraisal processes and “commitment to using the best available evidence for decision making.”4

    Complementary and alternative medicine covers a heterogeneous group of therapies that share a focus on, or integration of, treatment of mind and spirit as well as body.5 The main goals of these treatments are often framed in terms of feeling better (that is, relief of symptoms) or prevention (promotion of …

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