Limits of Funding for "Alternative Therapies"
WHEREAS the Green Party of Canada has adopted a policy committing to “Provide funds to expand provincial health insurance to cover proven alternative therapies that are less expensive and invasive”; this policy proposal is intended to refine, qualify, and specify limitations to supports and funding for alternative health therapies;
WHEREAS the Canadian healthcare system is an essential feature of Canadian society, it keeps our communities strong and it serves the most fundamental role in our social safety net. Canadians consistently value healthcare as a top priority;
WHEREAS to be strong, effective and sustainable, the Canadian healthcare system must be based on science-based medicine, clinically proven treatments,therapies, and healthcare solutions that are economically efficient as well as driven by innovative research and the best knowledge currently available;
WHEREAS the federal government is responsible to set national targets, benchmarks, and incentives for health system performance across all provinces, providing financial incentives through health system transfer payments which reward achievement of national objectives.
WHEREAS the Green Party rightly embraces science when it comes to global warming, ecology, endangered species, and should therefore demonstrate a consistent commitment to science and evidence in matters of health;
WHEREAS alternative therapies, by definition, do not fit this standard, since once a therapy is proven it is no longer alternative, therefore all new funding projects must be targeted exclusively to therapies, treatments, and medicines proven to be effective and efficient using research based on established protocols;
BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC adopt a policy that recognizes evidence based and proven therapeutic practices as the gold standard for funding, that for funding purposes, only programs with a demonstrable benefit be supported through national health care dollars.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that proven is understood to mean proven based on scientific evidence, principles, and methods. Only those therapies that meet the gold standard of evidence based on high quality, double-blinded clinical trials, should be promoted to Canadians, who deserve no less. Also, when treatments are proven not to work, there should be a mechanism to have them removed from the list of approved therapies.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that less invasive procedures are always preferred, such as those which provide alternatives to surgeries or other clinically invasive methods while achieving substantially equivalent clinical outcomes or meeting clinically determined goals. Cost benefit ratios must take into account the efficacy of the treatments. But expense and efficacy of all treatments are to be gauged not only on cost but on beneficial outcomes based on the gold standard previously highlighted.
Canadian health care dollars are precious and should not be squandered on therapies that do not meet the highest standards of efficacy and effectiveness. The only mechanism with which to determine whether or not a therapy or treatment is valuable is to test it with multiple, randomized, large, double-blinded clinical trials. The results of these trials must be peer-reviewed in top, high impact papers and be widely accepted by science-based professional organizations such as the Canadian College of Physicians and Surgeons. If dollars are allocated based on popularity or the lobbying of groups such as homeopaths or naturopaths, we will be rejecting science and wasting our health care dollars. The Green Party rightly embraces science when it comes to global warming, ecology, endangered species and should therefore demonstrate a consistent commitment to science and evidence in matters of health.