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The Medical College reproaches the progress of alternative practices in the public network

At the Chilean Medical College, they are concerned about the way complementary medicines are being incorporated into the public care network, as they aim to ensure that this is done in a regulated manner, that therapies are provided by certified providers and that they are used when there is evidence of their benefit to people’s health.

“Today, unfortunately, not given these conditions and our authorities have unfinished business here,” says the chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Studies of the entity, Roberto Estay, who addressed the topic with a PATTERN using a written questionnaire.

How do you evaluate that the Ministry of Health integrates in its offer therapies other than general knowledge medicine, some of which lack evidence about its effects on the health of the population?

We believe that this is a complex phenomenon. There is a significant demand for this type of health benefits, which is due to a variety of reasons, including the need for many people to receive more comprehensive benefits, not just symptomatic or causal. In this way, the authority seeks to address the needs raised by users. There are also complementary medicines that do have scientific evidence for their use and in them their offer seems positive to us.

And when is there no such evidence?

There are also other benefits that, although there is no evidence of a direct therapeutic effect, could support the conventional treatment process of patients, such as in cancer, where the support of complementary medicines, as accompanying evidence-based therapy, is highly demanded.

On the other hand, there are people who offer these therapies in fields where the evidence is unclear, without minimal training support, which is often lends itself to profit from people’s health problems, under an unproven promise of better medicine; in these cases, clearly integration into the supply of providers is a mistake.

Official data indicate that most of the complementary therapies that are being delivered in the health system lack regulation or recognition by Minsal.

We are against providing services outside a ministerial regulatory framework. If the ministry is to integrate benefits into the Health Network, this must be regulated in such a way as to provide safety to people, in the appropriate indications.

Is it reasonable to open the space for health care to therapists who do not have certified competencies, for example, who are not part of the Registry of the Superintendency of Health?

No doubt, there must be a validation process for anyone seeking to offer services in an area as delicate as health. Given the uncertainty of not having a consolidated institutionality in the training in these therapies, it seems to us that people who are not at least health professionals following a process of official validation of their qualifications should not be integrated as providers to the public network.

As for the public money involved in the financing of these therapies and in a context in which economic resources have always been scarce to ensure the health of the population, is it reasonable to allocate financial and human resources to them?

In a context of great need with limited resources, it is certainly necessary to have mechanisms to evaluate that the benefits we Finance give us the greatest cost-benefit. That is why the complementary medicine benefits to be incorporated must go through an evaluation process, which incorporates both evidence and supportive experiences and the attitudes of users towards them, in order to comparatively be able to make the best decisions about which therapies we are going to finance.

We believe that complementary medicines can have a space in the public network, to the extent that it is properly regulated, delivered by certified providers, and indicated in areas where there is evidence of the benefit of their use

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