I was recently reminded that health care is a total spectrum of services, and as a pharmacist I provide a narrow but assuredly important range of expertise – as do other professions. No one aspect of patient care is less or more important than another. As the infamous Max Ehrmann said “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” We must not assume that everyone follows the same paradigms or that all patients living in Canada place value on the same measures of quality of life. Canadians brag about tolerance – perhaps that tolerance needs to extend into the healthcare system as well.
I have taken a financial and professional leap of faith in my community to BE collaborative with alternative health practitioners. Because…patients deserve choices in how they manage their personal health journey. The corporately funded pharmaceuticals will always be available as a choice, but natural medicines and alternative treatments need to be on the map as well. Just because it’s not Big Pharma sponsored, it doesn’t mean that there is no evidence.
We have copious research on the appropriate use of natural products: Natural Medicines Database and Herbs & Natural Supplements by L. Braun et. al.; both providing guidance and EVIDENCE for therapeutic use of natural products. As a Doctor of Pharmacy, I was trained to view evidence critically and thoroughly for both our science-based pharmaceuticals and plant-based remedies. Also as a Doctor of Pharmacy, my emphasis is on patient-centered care which may require looking at alternative treatments for select patients. In today’s environment of medical cannabis – which has very little science-based evidence – practitioners are now faced with a new/old approach to prescribing: FIRST CAUSE NO HARM! When good evidence is lacking – we are still on the line for the harms – which BTW pharmaceuticals have caused much! Today, patients are well educated and VERY aware of this harm; and are demanding better – careful – care.
Own your health…need I say more?