Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lose Weight--Naturally!

I'd like to plug an entertaining (and short, this time) entry by Pharmacy Girl.

In Arizona, naturopathic doctors can legally prescribe any legend drug or controlled substance (except IV medications, chemo drugs, and antipsychotics). The only prescriptions I see from naturopaths are for phentermine and metformin. Usually for the same patient.

This is why licensing naturopaths doesn't help. No, I don't have statistics that this is true, just one pharmacist's observations. I would like to get detailed statistics. And sure, you could argue that without licensing they would be doing something less savory than handing out amphetamines to any yuppie who wants to lose ten pounds before swimsuit season. But you give them legal power to prescribe medications and this is what they do.

This isn't even me saying that naturopaths are irresponsible or incompetent at treating illnesses. There is always the possibility that there are some naturopaths that actually know their anatomy, physiology, and pharmacognosy. What annoys me about this is that they are hypocrites. Aren't proponents of so-called natural medicine always advocating things like diet and exercise instead of drugs? You know, letting the body work itself out "naturally" as opposed to dumping in synthetic compounds that speed up the central nervous system? Wouldn't a real naturopath prefer you get on a treadmill to raise your heart rate than take speed? Hell, prescribe bitter orange or guarana extract. Those, at least, are derived from plants--even if they are just sources of caffeine or ephedra.

There are a lot of physicians with questionable motives and practices out there, too. They aren't blameless by any means. Look at the plastic surgeons who put up phony "board certified" credentials and operate on patients in their offices. But if becoming a naturopath is quantitatively easier in terms of time and money investment, and you can get your naturopathic license and rake in the cash by seeing patients for five minutes and throwing phentermine at them, isn't that a bad system? You simply can't expect me to believe that getting a degree from Bastyr takes the same amount of work and time as going to Johns Hopkins. Why should we give people a short-cut to opening crooked practices?

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