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The Next Big CAM Battle is Here and It's Ugly

Posted By Richard Jaffe, Esq., Thursday, March 16, 2017
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017

CAM or integrative medicine doctors have had their problems with the state medical boards. And CAM organizations have had their run-ins with governmental agencies. However, the groups have always survived in large part because they have had a steady income from membership dues and from their annual conferences, where their members learn the latest and greatest from their thought leaders. But the CAM organizations’ income stream is now in jeopardy, and thus so is their existence, based on what looks to be well-planned, systematic effort to put CAM groups out of business, and stop the dissemination information about CAM therapies.

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS A VERY BIG DEAL.

Here is what’s going on

For months, at least two CAM groups have been under review/ investigation by the primary private CME accrediting company, the ACCME (Accreditation Counsel for Continuing Medical Education). Recently, the ACCME has determined that a significant portion of the groups’ prior year’s CME courses does not meet various ACCME standards. ACCME is demanding that everyone involved in these courses be informed that:

“they were presented invalid information….”

and that the groups:

“instruct them [everyone] to avoid making any clinical decisions for testing and/or treatment based on what was presented, and
direct the registrants to accurate and valid sources of information for the problems or systems presented.”

I should point out that this “incorrect” information came from some of the most accomplished, respected and published thought leaders/teachers in the CAM community. These folks have been giving CME courses without incident for decades.

Further, in terms of future CME courses at their conferences, ACCME has informed these groups – and this is the key to understand what this is all about – that:

“recommendations involving clinical medicine must be based on evidence that is accepted within the profession of medicine as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients and all patient care recommendations must conform to evidence emanating from guidelines and data that meet generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.”

In short, ACCME is trying to require these groups to only teach mainstream medicine! This is crazy and a huge deal!

Furthermore, the effect on the members of these organizations who attended the conferences last year and who used these courses to satisfy their state CME requirements is unclear.

I am not familiar with ACCME’s inner workings or guidelines, but it doesn’t seem out of the question that ACCME could contact state boards about these groups’ “noncompliance” and the retroactive withdrawal of CME credits. That could cause the state boards to retroactively hold the doctors non-CME compliant. I’m not saying that this will happen, but only that it’s a possibility. But I am saying that if the idea is to delegitimize CAM and cause problems for its practitioners, notifying the state boards would certainly advance that goal.

A specialty interest group also gets the same treatment

Beyond these two professional groups, a disease based group has recently been informed that its CME status for future conferences has been rescinded by its CME intermediary. The intermediary denies that it received any pressure or orders from ACCME.

Three CAM groups which have previously received ACCME course certification without any undue problems who in the last few months have had their prior CME course approval rescinded and/or their future CME approval withdrawn or placed in serious doubt.
Is this all a coincidence? Not a chance in hell.

My guess is that more of the same has or is going to happen to other CAM groups.

What to do?

At this stage, these groups need information about what’s behind this campaign to deny CME credit and delegitimize CAM teachings.

We need to get the word out to the CAM community.

Why?
Someone out there has to know something or know someone who knows something about how this came about, and who or what group is behind it. (My guess is that ACCME is the vehicle not the originator.)

I think there is a smoking gun out there, and if we find it, we can probably reverse ACCME’s decision quickly, so my suggestion is that all the CAM groups and interested parties get the word out to search for the smoking gun.

But let’s dig in to this and see if there is anything else that can be done. A logical place to start is:

What exactly is the ACCME and what does it do?

I don’t have any special info on ACCME, but here is what it says about itself:

“CME ACCREDITATION OF, BY, AND FOR THE PROFESSION OF MEDICINE.
The ACCME was founded in 1981 in order to create a national accreditation system. It is the successor to the Liaison Committee on Continuing Medical Education and the American Medical Association’s Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education. The ACCME’s purpose is to oversee a voluntary, self-regulatory process for the accreditation of institutions that provide continuing medical education (CME) and develop rigorous standards to ensure that CME activities across the country are independent, free from commercial bias, based on valid content, and effective in meeting physicians’ learning and practice needs. The ACCME accreditation process is of, by, and for the profession of medicine.
The ACCME’s founding and current member organizations are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States.
Throughout its history, the ACCME has been dedicated to maintaining a relevant and responsive accreditation system that supports CME as a strategic asset to US health care quality and safety initiatives.”

Very noble and reassuring, isn’t it?

Basically, it’s a bunch of health care trade associations, organizations in charge of medical education and specialization credentialing. (Ironically, the medical specialty societies are the reason it’s illegal for practitioners to advertise their CAM board certifications.) And last but not least is CAM’s long-time adversary, the Federation of State Medical Boards. So maybe not so reassuring.

Did you know that the ACCME is accountable to the Public? Yea, just ask them and they will tell you so.

Here is what it says about that:

“Accountability to the Public
The ACCME is accountable to the public for setting and maintaining accreditation requirements that are designed to ensure that CME accredited within the ACCME system is based on valid content, is free from commercial influence or bias, and contributes to the quality and safety of health care. As the US health care system continues to evolve, the ACCME will respond by making changes to its requirements or processes that are necessary to assure that CME serves the best interests of the public.

I’m still not clear exactly how it is accountable to the public, and nothing in its web site gives any further elucidation.

I do have a couple ideas of how it might actually be made accountable to the public.

Some basic facts

It’s obviously a matter of individual state law what type of courses a state medical board will accept as acceptable CME. The ACCME might be the primary CME credentialer, but it is not the only one. For example, here is the Texas law regarding CME accreditation: It’s Board Rule 166.2 and it requires:

(1) At least 24 credits every 24 months are to be from formal courses that are:
(A) designated for AMA/PRA Category 1 credit by a CME sponsor accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education or a state medical society recognized by the Committee for Review and Recognition of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education;
(B) approved for prescribed credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians;
(C) designated for AOA Category 1-A credit required for osteopathic physicians by an accredited CME sponsor approved by the American Osteopathic Association;
(D) approved by the Texas Medical Association based on standards established by the AMA for its Physician’s Recognition Award; or
(E) approved by the board for medical ethics and/or professional responsibility courses only.”

Other states have similar types of CME rules. The bottom line is that ACCME is a very important source of state approved CME accreditation, especially for everyone other than the major national and state medical trade groups. But there’s another way of looking at it. Without a state accepting its accreditation, ACCME doesn’t have much of a purpose or job.

What About CAM laws?

Texas, California and some other states recognize the rights of patients to receive CAM therapies. Texas, for example, provides that:

“The purpose of this chapter [Texas Board Rule Chapter 200] is to recognize that physicians should be allowed a reasonable and responsible degree of latitude in the kinds of therapies they offer their patients. The Board also recognizes that patients have a right to seek complementary and alternative therapies.” (Board Rule 200.1)

What are CAM therapies in Texas?

“(1) Complementary and Alternative Medicine–Those health care methods of diagnosis, treatment, or interventions that are not acknowledged to be conventional but that may be offered by some licensed physicians in addition to, or as an alternative to, conventional medicine, and that provide a reasonable potential for therapeutic gain in a patient’s medical condition and that are not reasonably outweighed by the risk of such methods.”

Convention medicine is defined as “Those health care methods of diagnosis, treatment, or interventions that are offered by most licensed physicians as generally accepted methods of routine practice, based upon medical training, experience and review of the peer reviewed scientific literature.”
(California has a similar definition of CAM at B&C code 2234.1)

So, Texas gives practitioners the right to provide non-conventional, not generally accepted therapies to patients, and patients have the right to receive these CAM or non-conventional therapies.

But even though Texas docs can provide CAM or non-standard therapies to Texas patients, ACCME now takes the position that Texas physicians can’t obtain CME credit for learning about these Texas sanctioned treatments. How can the ACCME be acting consistent with Texas law by its insistence that CAM medical groups can only teach:

“recommendations involving clinical medicine must be based on evidence that is accepted within the profession of medicine as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients and all patient care recommendations must conform to evidence emanating from guidelines and data that meet generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.”

My view is that ACCME’s position is inconsistent, if not in violation of the Texas CAM Rule (and the California CAM statute) and probably every other state that has a CAM law.

So, what to do?

Complain to ACCME? Won’t hurt, but it won’t help. It’s doing what it’s doing intentionally, and some external pressure has to be brought forth.

Complain to the boards? Maybe, but it would take a lot of complaints.

In all the big CAM states like Texas and California, I know there are legislators who are pro CAM. My suggestion would be to identify who they are (not hard in Texas). I think the boards in a few of these states need to hear from some legislators about how ACCME is undercutting board rules (in Texas) or the CAM statutes (like in California).

These legislators should copy ACCME on their concerns expressed to the boards. If one of them is on a legislative health committee, even better. Better still would be for a couple states to start an investigation on ACCME’s motives. Maybe even an invitation to appear at a specially called hearing. Legislators can hold hearings for all kinds of reasons. So can federal legislators. I think with all the politically connected CAM docs out there, mulitipled by their politically connected patients, well I think there’s a heap of trouble that could be stirred up for ACCME.

It doesn’t have to happen in every state, or even many states, just a couple of the big ones. The story is going to get out, and questions are going to be raised. The widespread dissemination of ACCME’s action might even turn-up that smoking gun I mentioned earlier. And once the nefarious motive and scope of the conspiracy publicly surfaces, I think ACCME will be forced to rescind its actions. So, we need to shine some light on these jokers.

This could all happen pretty quickly if there’s a big enough outreach to the CAM community.

Something to think about anyway.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.
rickjaffeesquire@gmail.com

 

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ACTION ALERT: Your supplements pulled from shelves

Posted By Alliance for Natural Health, Thursday, December 29, 2016

Senator Claire McCaskill is pressuring the FDA to complete unnecessary and dangerous anti-supplement policies before the new administration takes office in the New Year. Unless you take action now and support our emergency campaign, the FDA could eliminate tens of thousands of supplements from the market [1].

ANH-USA is the largest and most successful grassroots consumer advocacy organization fighting for natural health. We’ve protected lifesaving supplements for over 20 years. But we are dependent on our members to support our work as a non-profit and we need your help­. We must reach our goal to fight the FDA!

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$39,227 of $75,000

An anonymous donor has recognized the importance of this threat and has generously offered to match every dollar we can raise before December 31st to double your impact. Make your voices heard on Capital Hill during this pivotal time and please donate today!

We can’t let the FDA complete these anti-supplement policy guides before the inauguration! 
Please make your 100% tax-deductible gift before December 31!

fight-donate4.png

It's because of you, our supporters, that we've successfully stood up to the FDA’s blatant attacks on supplements over the years. We offer our profound thanks for your commitment to the fight for natural health, in the past and in the fights yet to come!

In health and wellness,

Emily Porter dig signature

Emily Porter
Alliance for Natural Health - Membership Director 

[1] http://www.anh-usa.org/microsite-subpage/the-fdas-ndi-rules-threaten-thousands-of-supplements/

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Certify in Chelation Therapy - Save 20% if purchased by 12/31/2016

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2016
PURCHASE
NOW & SAVE
20%
STEP 1: Basic Chelation Webinar Series
The BASIC CHELATION WEBINAR SERIES is the pre-requisite required to continue training with the Practicum and Certification. This series is 10 hours of training from experts including Tony Lamas, MD, Dorothy Merritt, MD, David Quig, PhD, Walter Crinnion, ND, and Jeffrey Morrison, MD. 
Offer Expires 12/31/2016. Use code CAPWEB to receive 20% off. Discount taken at check out. 
CERTIFY IN CHELATION THERAPY
with ACAM'S Exclusive & Nationally Recognized Chelation Course
APRIL 22 - 23, 2017 | Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott 
Whether you're new to detoxification education or are a seasoned practitioner, the American College for Advancement in Medicine's rigorous training will enhance your practice's treatment options and improve health outcomes. One step cannot be completed without the other - this is a sequential course to provide the most in depth chelation training available to date.
 
As the recognized leader in heavy metal detoxification/chelation therapy education, ACAM works diligently to ensure our curriculum is robust, relevant and of the highest caliber. Our Chelation  Advanced Providers (CAP) Course & Certification covers a broad spectrum of detoxification topics from biochemistry to billing. Our faculty ensure scientific rigor, complete understanding and safe, practical application of therapy to maximize health worldwide.

WHO WILL BENEFIT?   
MD, DO, ND, NP, and any integrative practitioner allowed by their state to practice chelation will benefit from this comprehensive training led by ACAM's expert faculty.
 
WHAT ARE THE THREE STEPS?   
1. Basic Chelation Webinar Series $485/$585*
2. Workshop/Practicum + 
3. Chelation Exam/Certification
$1495/$1795* 
*member pricing varies from nonmember 
WHEN IS CAP TRAINING AVAILABLE?   
Basic Chelation Webinar Series (step 1): Available online now - take at your own pace
Spring Course (steps 2 & 3):
April 22-23, 2017 at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott
Fall Course (steps 2 & 3): September 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico - More information TBA

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ACAM2016 Conference Recordings Now Available

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2016

LEARN IMPORTANT UPDATES and APPROACHES for ADVANCED PREVENTION

Since 1973 ACAM has been the leading educator for Integrative Healthcare Professionals. Today, with the purchase of our 2016 conference recordings, we invite you learn important updates and gain new techniques when listening to our renowned faculty as they address the escalating problem of chronic conditions facing today's patients. 

The 2016 conference focused on three key areas for advanced integrative approaches including:
Cancer Care Prevention, Brain Fitness & Dementia Prevention, and Prevention/Reversal of Heart Disease & Hypertension.  
 
 PURCHASE NOW

2016 ACAM Annual Meeting's Expert Speakers 

Topic: ADVANCED PREVENTION OF CANCER

Chemosensitivity and Other 
Tests for Cancer: What's New?


Prevention & Screening
of Prostate Cancer


Integrative Strategies for 
Breast Cancer Prevention


Galectin-3:
A Master Modulator of Risk


Topic: PREVENTION & REVERSAL OF HEART DISEASE & HYPERTENSION

Healing the Heart with Vibrational Medicine

Women and Heart Disease

Vitamin K2 Bone and Heart Health

Ultra-Personalized Nutrition
for Preventing Heart
Disease & Diabetes


Advanced Integrative
Dental Strategies for
Abundant Health
Topic: ADVANCED BRAIN FITNESS AND PREVENTION OF DEMENTIA

Metabolomics & Biomarkers for Prevention

Ketogenic Diet & Deuterium Depleted Water for Prevention and Treatment


Hydration and Brain Health

Disease, Prevention, & Neuroplasticity: A Mindful Way to Change Your Brain


CASE STUDIES


Cancer Prevention
featuring:
Ahvie Herskowitz, MD;
Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS;
Lyn Patrick, MD; and
Robert Thompson, MD



Cardiovascular Disease
featuring:
Dennis Goodman, MD; Stephen Sinatra, MD;
Allen Green, MD; and
Howard Hindin, DDS 
 

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ACAM2017 Exhibitor Registration Now Open

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2016
ACAM.org  |  About ACAM  |  Prospectus  |  Register Now  |  Hotel  |  FAQs  |  Contact Us
REGISTER NOW
AND SAVE
5%
EXHIBIT AT ACAM2017 IN PUERTO RICO
There are an estimated 14,000 integrative medicine practitioners in Puerto Rico and hundreds more in the surrounding islands. Let's become their go-to resources! REGISTER NOW FOR EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!
Offer Expires March 1, 2017 - Registration fee only. 
Registration opens December 1st at www.acam.org/2017Exhibitor
IN THE HEART OF IT ALL, YET WORLDS APART...
Find inspiration in every direction at The Condado Plaza Hilton. As the only hotel in San Juan with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon, we invite you to discover this magical island from a truly unique vantage point. LEARN MORE
DID YOU KNOW?

Puerto Rico has an estimated 14,000 integrative professionals
ACAM provides amazing reciprocal opportunities for their Preferred Partners 
The Virgin Islands are home to hundreds of additional practitioners who consider Puerto Rico "next door".
AAPMD successfully joining the ACAM Learning Floor in 2016 encouraged more crossover opportunities!
ACAM, AAPMD & YOU
ACAM and AAPMD will bring the cutting edge education and renowned faculty; you bring the best resources: together 
we'll unite for collaborative healthcare while expanding into new markets!

In 2016, ACAM and AAPMD joined forces in presenting their meeting, creating a powerful partnership where integrative practitioners, of both medical and dental genres, networked and discussed new healthcare treatment options using collaboration between the disciplines.

In 2017 this collaboration continues and we invite you to exhibit September 14-16, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the joint meetings of ACAM and AAPMD. Each group brings experts in the fields of integrative medicine and dentistry who wish to tackle today's most complex multi-caused health issues - and they need your assistance and resources. PRINT PROSPECTUS

We don't just talk about collaboration - we are living it! 





WE'RE DEDICATED TO YOU: LET'S GROW TOGETHER
Provided only to our annual meeting exhibitors - our Preferred Partners - this search engine functions much like our Physician+Link search except it caters to you! See it now at www.acam.org/SearchPP 

ACAM members can easily search the Preferred Partner search to find companies that specialize in exactly what their looking for. If you sell to the public you'll enjoy added exposure - users will be able to search for 
supplement providers, publicly sold equipment & more.

Exhibit in Puerto Rico and you'll be placed on the Preferred Partner site the minute we receive your contract and remain until July of the next year! Preferred Partners discounted rates in ACAM's newsletters, blog space and more! The ACAM.org homepage gets over 700 visits per day, with our Physician+Link member searching receiving over 1000 visits per day. Get bookmarked as a Preferred Partner and get in on the traffic! 

TEST OUT THE PREFERRED PARTNER SEARCH ENGINE 
PRELIMINARY EXHIBIT SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13:

Pre-conference workshops (Support packages available)


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14:
- Pre-conference workshops (Support packages available) 
- Exhibitor move in: 10:30 AM - 4:30PM
- Early registration opens for attendees: 2:00PM
- Opening CME lectures: 4:00PM - 6:45PM
- Opening
networking break on Learning Floor: 5PM - 5:15PM
- Joint Welcome Reception
on Learning Floor: 6:45PM - 8:45PM

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15:
- Breakfast with exhibitors on Learning Floor: 7AM - 8AM
- Replenishment/networking on Learning Floor: 9:30AM - 10:15AM
- Replenishment/networking on Learning Floor: 3:45PM - 4:30PM

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16:
- Breakfast with exhibitors on Learning Floor: 7AM - 8AM
- Replenishment/networking on Learning Floor: 9:30AM -10:15AM
- Replenishment/networking on Learning Floor: 3:30PM - 4:15PM
  Exhibitor move out after break
- Joint Closing banquet event:
(optional)  6:30PM - 10:30PM

IMPORTANT DATES TO MARK ON YOUR CALENDAR!










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Proposed Membership Changes - 2nd Notice

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2016

 
VOTE ON PROPOSED MEMBERSHIP CHANGES
At the ACAM Board of Directors and Board Advisors meeting in Tucson, Directors reviewed proposed changes to ACAM's membership categories. Approved by the Board, the new membership categories now come to the members for vote of acceptance.
 

PROPOSED MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES

This proposal was made to change the membership categories to meet today's marketplace.The primary goal is to enhance services ACAM provides to members at a level which meets  individual needs. This includes providing opportunities which are personalized, enhancing educational resources, presenting cutting edge techniques with training, and increasing integrative resources. With these important changes, ACAM may continue adding value which matters to members while keeping the ACAM community collaborative and vibrant. 


GENERAL MEMBER(voting rights)
  • MD, DO, ND, DDS, NMD*, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, Emeritus, & other similar
  • All one category - no US/International division
  • Dues tied to when member gained license
PREMIER MEMBER(voting rights)
  • MD, DO, ND, DDS, NMD*, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, Emeritus, & other similar
  • Added benefits from General Membership
ASSOCIATE MEMBER
  • PhD, DOM, ACAOM certified LAc, PharmD, RN, PAC, Psychologist, & other similar
INTEGRATIVE PROFESSIONAL MEMBER
  • Dietitian, Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, Nutritional Medical Doctor, Certified LMT, Pharmacist, & other similar
SCHOLAR MEMBER
  • Medical students in an accredited program, intern, resident, or fellow
CORPORATE MEMBER(1 vote)
  • Allows for 3 additional memberships with Physician+Link listings from same practice
  • Voting member must be MD, DO, ND, DDS, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, NDM, or Emeritus
EXPRESS MEMBER
  • Any General, Associate, Integrative Professional credential type
  • Online services only
 
VIEW PROPOSED BENEFITS
of each membership type

 VOTE NOW
You will be asked to provide your name and contact information so that we may verify votes - please provide at least your first and last name. Your vote is important!


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Proposed Membership Changes - 1st Notice

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 21, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2016

 
VOTE ON PROPOSED MEMBERSHIP CHANGES
At the ACAM Board of Directors and Board Advisors meeting in Tucson, Directors reviewed proposed changes to ACAM's membership categories. Approved by the Board, the new membership categories now come to the members for vote of acceptance.
 

PROPOSED MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES

This proposal was made to change the membership categories to meet today's marketplace.The primary goal is to enhance services ACAM provides to members at a level which meets  individual needs. This includes providing opportunities which are personalized, enhancing educational resources, presenting cutting edge techniques with training, and increasing integrative resources. With these important changes, ACAM may continue adding value which matters to members while keeping the ACAM community collaborative and vibrant. 


GENERAL MEMBER(voting rights)
  • MD, DO, ND, DDS, NMD*, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, Emeritus, & other similar
  • All one category - no US/International division
  • Dues tied to when member gained license
PREMIER MEMBER(voting rights)
  • MD, DO, ND, DDS, NMD*, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, Emeritus, & other similar
  • Added benefits from General Membership
ASSOCIATE MEMBER
  • PhD, DOM, ACAOM certified LAc, PharmD, RN, PAC, Psychologist, & other similar
INTEGRATIVE PROFESSIONAL MEMBER
  • Dietitian, Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, Nutritional Medical Doctor, Certified LMT, Pharmacist, & other similar
SCHOLAR MEMBER
  • Medical students in an accredited program, intern, resident, or fellow
CORPORATE MEMBER(1 vote)
  • Allows for 3 additional memberships with Physician+Link listings from same practice
  • Voting member must be MD, DO, ND, DDS, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, NDM, or Emeritus
EXPRESS MEMBER
  • Any General, Associate, Integrative Professional credential type
  • Online services only
 
VIEW PROPOSED BENEFITS
of each membership type

 VOTE NOW
You will be asked to provide your name and contact information so that we may verify votes - please provide at least your first and last name. Your vote is important!
FOR REFERENCE: CURRENT MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES

 
FULL MEMBERS(voting rights)
  • MD, DO, ND, DDS, NP, DC, PA, ARNP, Emeritus
  • US and International categories
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
  • RN, PAC, Psychologist

AFFILIATE MEMBERS
  • PhD, DOM, LAc, PharmD
  • US and International categories
ADJUNCT MEMBERS
  • Retired, disabled, honorary
PHYSICIAN IN TRAINING
  • Students in an accredited program
INSTITUTIONAL
  • Academic Departments, Institutes, etc.
CORPORATE MEMBER

 The descriptions of each category is defined by the Board of Directors and expanded upon in the Policies and Procedures manual located, along with the bylaws, under ABOUT/Overview & Mission page on www.acam.org


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SHARE - DISTRIBUTE - SAVE: We need your help to prevent the death of natural medicine!

Posted By Liz Pullman, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its newly revised policy on nutritional supplements. It's effectively a death knell for the products you and your practice depend on to stay healthy naturally. Check out the attached flier and visit www.SaveSupplements.com for more information!

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Integrative Campaign Challenges FDA on Compounding Pharmacy

Posted By John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News and Reports, Monday, August 8, 2016
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is engaged in a regulatory process that will restrict the ability of integrative doctors to FDAindividualize their natural medicine prescriptions via the services of compounding pharmacies. The Integrative Medicine Consortium, (IMC) – with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) in a lead role – recently had success in saving access to one compounding agent. Yet the handwriting is on the wall. The AANP, working with the IMC and others, has announced a multi-year campaign to directly petition the FDA to maintain access to these agents.

Initial Steps

Pharmacy compounding is defined as “the art and science of preparing personalized medications for patients.” Medications are compounded based on a practitioner’s prescription “in which individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient.” According to the AANP, the development typically involves prescription “nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic remedies (that) are compounded to meet unique patient needs.” Large pharmaceutical manufacturers typically “do not have the skill nor interest to make small batches of these specialized products.” The AANP notes that “these compounded medications have also been used safely for decades.” Examples are thyroid and bioidentical hormones and various personalized mixes used in injections and chelation.

magazine coverThe FDA’s active antagonism began with an event in in 2012. Gross negligence at a compounding pharmacy, New England Compounding Center, led to a meningitis outbreak that was associated with 64 deaths and a great deal of additional morbidity. Two executives are currently facing murder charges and 12 others are charged in a 131-count indictment. The FDA’s effort since has been to shut down or severely curtail the industry.

Driving the campaign among integrative practitioners to make the case for general safety and to save access to compounding agents is Scottsdale, Arizona-based Michael Cronin, ND (pictured, left). Cronin is the current chair of IMC, past president of the AANP, former director of integrative medicine for American Whole Health, and founder of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. He began promoting participation in FDA processes as chair of the AANP’s Compounded Medications Work Group. The stimulus was a proposed FDA guidance “that would greatly restrict the ability of physicians to administer compounded medications – including injectable and IV solutions – to patients in the office.” The AANP’s extensive documentation to the FDA defending the need for in-office use of these drugs fell on deaf ears.

One Agent at a Time

In late 2015, the FDA took an additional step to slam many doors. According to this article from the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), an IMC affiliate, “the FDA released a list of nominations to its ‘Demonstrably Difficult to Compound’ (DDC) list … of drugs that cannot safely be compounded because of their complexity.” These are mainly the same agents that the AANP states “have been used safely for decades.”

The recent lone victory came at a June 2016 hearing before an FDA advisory panel where the AANP’s Paul Anderson, ND (pictured) andersonprovided expert testimony. Anderson’s medical group in Seattle includes the neuroscientist and multiple NIH-funded researcher Leanna Standish, PhD, ND, LAc. Following Anderson’s testimony, the AANP sent a note to its members announcing that on an 8-3 vote they had “scored a victory on June 23 with a successful defense of [the chelating agent] DMPS.” However, the notice went on, “many compounds – including MSM, curcumin, boswellia, germanium, and acetyl-l-carnitine – are being put on the FDA’s ‘do not compound’ list and the fate of many more remains undecided.” (Aloe vera is yet another agent determined to be unsafe.) The AANP then invited members to a July 25 webinar in which they offered further insight and reported on the planned campaign.

Despite the DMPS victory, Anderson painted a dire picture for webinar participants of likely chances for legal access to multiple other compounding agents. He noted that the FDA’s advisory committee only has one compounding pharmacist, a non-voting member. He added: “If you think the deck is stacked, this is just one element.” He added: “What the process is not – it is not a fair fight, not logical, not in service to patient care. It is not reasonable from the point of view of integrative medicine.” Reflecting on the poor ability of the science to shift the thinking of the advisory team, he added: “Data is not the issue. [The panel] is not reasonable.”

Hope: Petition(s) and Legal Campaign

Bottom line, as Anderson put it: “The FDA does not understand the value or the need for safely compounded medications. They view them as a public health threat.”

dumoffThe webinar presented a series of next steps based on the experience that AANP and IMC have gained through their engagement with the FDA. Longtime integrative health attorney Alan Dumoff (pictured, left) noted that the present work is building up the public record with scientific support for IMC/AANP views. Dumoff shared that over 30 separate organizations have been in touch with Congress to urge changes. Compounding pharmacies have also been active. An industry organization has organized a letter writing campaign to members of Congress that has gathered 61 signatures. (The Alliance for Natural Health has separately reported that a group of small compounders filed a suit against large suppliers for “unlawful insurance claim denials.”) Yet, the FDA has “ignored appeals” from Congress.

Dumoff and the AANP’s director of government affairs, Mike Jawer, argued that the time is right to petition the FDA – and also to potentially petition the Office of Management and Budget. In conjunction, a Freedom of Information Act request may be made. Cronin shared that the AANP has “pulled the trigger” on an aggressive fundraising campaign by providing an initial $10,000. An additional $4500 was raised from individuals on the call. Much more will be needed – up to an estimated $100,000 depending on the fate of the petition and the need for filing a lawsuit in Federal court. AANP is setting up a PayPal account to make it easy for integrative physicians to contribute. “This is about,” said Cronin, “owning our medicine.”

Comment: For most of us, the ins-and-outs of regulation around compounding medications were captured well by a blunt statement of Cronin. “This is complicated. It’s not a twitter feed.” One level of such complication, is cultural bias. Deaths associated with poor practice by a single compounding pharmacy in 2012 – horrible as they were – provoked this draconian move to narrow patient access to compounded medications. Imagine if the agency responded with as much vehemence to every procedure or practice that leads to the estimated 250,000 deaths associated with other medical errors. Good for IMC and the AANP to take this on. If interested in getting involved or supporting the cause, contact the AANP’s director of government affairs, mike.jawer@naturopathic.org.

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Bad GMO Labeling Bill Fast-Tracked

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 1, 2016

On Wednesday, June 29th, members of Congress used a procedural trick to fast-track the new GMO labeling bill, meaning that this gift to Big Food and the biotech industry could be voted on as early as next week.

We must kill this bill. It allows industry to decide how to label its products, and you can bet that most companies will choose the option that requires consumers to scan a code or call a number to find out what's in their food. Companies know that few people will want to do this and even fewer will be able to.

Worse, there do not seem to be any penalties for a company that doesn't label its food. So for those who choose to simply ignore this law, there are very few consequences—unless the state separately imposes fines for mislabeling.

This bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing: it pays lip service to mandatory labeling but is designed to block Vermont's GMO labeling law and keep consumers in the dark about what's in their food.

Click the link below to tell your senators and the White House to vote NO on S. 764!

 

CLICK HERE to TAKE ACTION

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