Australian doctors and scientists are urging universities to stop teaching “nonsense” alternative medicine courses like aromatherapy and homoeopathy.
Friends of Science in Medicine say universities have been trashing their reputations by teaching “quackery” and pseudoscience courses.
Half of Australia’s universities offer courses in alternative medicine, including Chinese herbal remedies, chiropractics, homoeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology and aromatherapy.
The group has written to the heads of universities asking them to find evidence to back the science they are teaching, rather than give “undeserved credibility to what in many cases would be better described as quackery”.
Professor John Dwyer, one of the group’s founders, said 19 universities across the country were offering “degrees in pseudoscience.”
“It’s deplorable, but we didn’t realize how much concern there was out there for universities’ reputations until we tapped into it,” Prof Dwyer told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. “We’re saying enough is enough. Taxpayers’ money should not be wasted on funding [these courses] “¦ nor should government health insurance rebates be wasted on this nonsense.”
The group said it wants to “reverse the trend which sees government funded tertiary institutions offering courses in the health care sciences that are not underpinned by convincing scientific evidence.”
Some of the courses listed as “quackery” include energy medicine, tactile healing, homoeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, chiropractic, acupuncture and reflexology.
German and British medical insurance providers are currently in the process of removing alternative therapies from the list of treatments they cover.