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1 March 2002 News Update


Australia's peak doctors group has adopted a new policy on alternative medicine, reflecting its growing use in the community.

The Australian Medical Association says it recognises that evidence-based aspects of complementary or alternative medicine is part of the repertoire of patient care.

They might have a role in mainstream medical practice, the AMA said in a statement outlining its position.

"For the best possible health outcomes, it is important that doctors and patients are fully informed on the health claims of these medicines and alert to any possible side effects when used with prescribed medications," AMA president Kerryn Phelps said.

Dr Phelps said patients needed to discuss all medicines they were using - traditional and alternative - when they visited their GP, to assist in the advice they were given for their condition.

"In the interests of best practice patient care, it is vital that all complementary medicines - like any medicines - are backed by solid evidence as to their safety, quality and efficacy," she said.

"It is important that doctors are supplied with detailed evidence-based information on complementary medicines in the same way they are informed about mainstream medicines and therapies."

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