Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

“Integrative Medicine” Has No Place in Universities

By Loretta Marron

With their financial resources under threat, Australia’s universities need to resist the temptation of offering lucrative courses that rebadge complementary therapies as “integrative medicine”.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Universities accept that they face long-term sustainability problems, with vice-chancellors arguing that they need an increase in public investment if they are to maintain their relative positions in the World University Rankings. Without this increase in funding, universities will be forced to make “difficult decisions” on campuses, staffing levels and the courses they offer.

Estimated at $4 billion per annum, the AltMed industry is well-funded in Australia. Chiropractic, osteopathy, naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine associations target debt-ridden universities that do not have medical faculties. These pseudoscience-based courses are run by academics, many with inferior qualifications and vested interests in the promotion of AltMed. While arguing that their courses are based on bioscience, they include unscientific interventions and deliberately avoid undertaking credible research that could challenge their belief systems.

With public opinion turning against them, the AltMed industry is fighting back. Now in league with a small group of medically trained doctors and pharmacists, they are moving into our most prestigious universities to introduce medical and pharmacy students to “integrative medicine”.

Sponsored by the manufacturers of complementary medicines, their lectures and conferences offer uncritical evidence about the risks and...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.