MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The Austrian ‘Initiative für Wissenschaftliche Medizin‘ (Initiative for Scientific Medicine) did a great job by summarizing the non-scientific training events dedicated to pseudomedicine organized, supported or promoted by the ‘Österreichische Akademie der Ärzte‘ (Austrian Academy of Physicians), a partner of the Austrian Medical Association. They sorted them by date in descending order, listing the DFP points (points required for postgraduate education) awarded and the link to each specific event. The content of the programme of such events, if available, is also often “interesting”. The pseudomedicine methods are provided with links to psiram.com, where these methods are described in more detail.

So, restricting ourselves to the period of 20 years (2003-2023) and merely looking at a selection of all possible so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), we find in this treasure trove of quackery the following:

  • Anthroposophic medicine – 218 events
  • Homeopathy – 1 708 events
  • Orthomolecular medicine – 645 events
  • Neural therapy – 864 events
  • TCM diagnostics – 1214 events

In total, thousands SCAM events were organized, supported or promoted by the Academy, and I am not aware of any national physicians’ organization that has done anywhere near as much for quackery.

On their website, the Austrian Academy of Physicians state that they were founded by the Austrian Medical Association as a non-profit organisation with the aim of promoting and further developing medical education in Austria… The aim is to lead the way in medical education issues in order to achieve continuous improvement in the medical profession. For the Academy, continuing medical education is an essential component of medical quality improvement…

This may sound alright but, in my view, it raises several questions, e,g,:

  • Does the Academy believe that continuous improvement in the medical profession can be achieved by promoting, organizing or conducting such a huge amount of courses in quackery?
  • Do they not know that this is the exact opposite of medical quality improvement?
  • Are they aware of their ethical responsibility?
  • Do they know that the promotion of quackery puts patients at risk?
  • Have they heard of evidence-based education?

It is easy to criticize but less obvious to improve. In case the people responsible for postgraduate education at the Academy want to discuss these issues with me, I would therefore be delighted to do so, for instance, via a series of evidence-based lectures on SCAM.

 

 

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