CAM (Complementary and alternative medicine, now more commonly known as integrative medine) has always been polarizing in the medical community, and has consistently come under attack by conventional medicine advocates. In the time since I became active, it was the quackbusters, then the sceptics who evolved into the bloggers who attack all things CAM. Heretofore, they have have had a relatively small impact on the CAM community.
However, there might be a new threat developing which could have a much more serious impact on the CAM community.
I’ve only heard about a few specific cases, so it’s far too early to say it’s a trend, plan or a concerted effort. Here is what I’ve heard:
Amazon has recently stopped marketing a homeopathic line because of the products’ claims, which, according to Amazon, make them unapproved new drugs and hence illegal to market on Amazon. This may or may not have something to do with the FDA draft guidance document on homeopathic products published in late 2017. To my way of thinking, the draft states that essentially all homeopathic products are illegal new drugs, but that the FDA would only actively pursue those products which posed a substantial risk to consumers based on its published criteria. (Depending on who you ask, this is either a new poistion by the FDA, or the same position which the FDA always had on homeopathic remedies.)
Here is the draft guidance document:
The company is contesting Amazon’s determination. We’ll have to see how this shakes out.
Periodically, Google updates its search algorithms. It’s most recent update was on August 1, 2018. As part of the update, it does a medic update which among other things updates the algoithms for searches for health problems and clinics offering treatment for medical conditions.
Here is an article published a week after the August, 1st update, describing the update process. The article contains comments of some folks who appeared to be initially adversely affected.
There are at least 3 CAM clinics whose organic searches have dropped precipitiously, and heretofore successful adwords have stopped producing eyeballs.
Is this an intentional effort to stiffle CAM therapies, or is it just an unintended consequence from a global medical update?
It’s to early to tell. There are not enough data points and there’s no smoking gun (yet). But it’s worth keeping an eye on the situation and see how many CAM places and products are adversely impacted.
Is the Amazon thing connected to the Google thing? Again, way too early to tell. But again, it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.