Voluntary Self-Regulation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Many complementary and alternative medicine practitioners practice without the benefit of effective professional organizations, impeding their successful integration into mainstream medical financial and delivery institutions as a result of, among other things, objective credentials. If a group of practitioners is able to organize, three regulatory routes are open to them: full government regulation; statutory self-regulation; or voluntary self-regulation. I argue that, if a group's practices are safe, the best alternative is voluntary self-regulation because of the costs and political hurdles attendant on gaining statutory self-regulation. However, even voluntary self-regulation, in which a group organizes around a code of conduct, is subject to the hurdle of the universal scope-of-practice contained in the medical practices acts, those statutory regimes that confer on medical doctors a monopoly on the practice of medicine. I argue that the monopoly conferred on medical doctors is unconstitutional when measured against the fundamental right to bodily integrity. I also point out that scope-of-practice monopolies inhibit the development of non-MD health workers, increasing the pull-factor for health workers from undeveloped countries, leading to human rights and humanitarian crises in sending countries. Attached to the article are a model statute creating an exemption from the scope-of-practice monopoly for practitioners of safe modalities and encouraging the development of self-regulated communities of practitioners, and a model code of conduct from which such a community can develop their own organizing ethical and clinical practices.
Annex B: A Model Code of Conduct for Homeopathic Communities
(provided by author)