On Monday, April 17, competing versions of the future of naturopathy in Colorado will duke it out in the state's Senate chambers. In one version of a bill, naturopaths are simply allowed to continue to practice in Colorado. In the other, they will be able to pump patients full of ineffective and potentially dangerous substances via IV. The health and safety of naturopathic patients hangs in the balance.
Naturopaths are worried that the version vastly expanding their scope of practice won't pass in the Senate, prompting the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) to send out an SOS asking people to contact their legislators with this canned testimony:
"Naturopathic doctors are well trained on the use of hormone therapy and its dangers. I would like greater choice in my health care provider and the option of using natural hormone therapy if I would ever need it. Intravenous, nutritional therapy has many health benefits, including helping those with a compromised digestive system and those with chronic and acute infections. A recent article showed that IV Vitamin C performed better than IV antibiotics in treating sepsis, a life threatening illness, and another showed its potential benefits in treating cancer alongside chemotherapy. NDs teach the use of IV Nutritional therapy and are well trained on its efficacy and risks. Since few MDs and DOs offer this therapy in Colorado, it would be a significant public health benefit for NDs to be able to provide it."
It would be hard to compose a better indictment of expanded naturopathic practice than the CAND's own effort here. We'll return to their outlandish claims in a moment, but first, a bit of history
In February, the Senate passed
In drafting its report, DORA
After passing in the Senate, SB 106 moved to the House, where naturopaths successfully lobbied to radically amend the bill. It morphed from the drafters' original intent -- to implement DORA's recommendations -- into a giant practice expansion bill. The bastardized bill would allow naturopaths to prescribe hormones (if they collaborate on their use with a physician), and IV vitamins, minerals, chelating agents and amino acids. The House version stripped the bill of the requirement that naturopaths use "R.N.D." and bumped the next sunset review to 2022.
The collaboration agreements are a sham. It is no more than a piece of paper filed with DORA. The naturopath isn't required to consult or alter treatment plans according the advice of the physician; the physician has no authority over the naturopath and can suffer no repercussions when the naturopath screws up. There were 16 of these agreements filed with DORA at the time the Sunset Review was published. (These are required to treat children under the age of two.) Three naturopaths have an agreement with the same physician, who is not even in clinical practice, but rather "research."
The Senate, to its credit, refused to go along with this practice expansion. The bill went to the Conference Committee to try to iron out the differences between the two legislative chambers. They did not, leaving a majority and minority position for the Senate to vote on: The majority position basically being the House version of SB 106 and the minority version more closely following the bill as passed in the Senate. As a "compromise," the House added a whopping seven hours of required training in IV nutrients. (By way of comparison, California requires 25 hours of instruction for IV administration certification, and even that's inadequate.) The vote takes place on Monday.
With that background in mind, let's break down the CAND's plea and see how it aptly demonstrates why naturopaths shouldn't be allowed to prescribe hormones (even with physician oversight) or shoot patients up with IV vitamins, minerals and other concoctions.
Naturopaths love hormones.
And note the reference to "natural" hormones. Naturopaths promote
I have to assume that the CAND would cite the best evidence it's got to support giving naturopaths the right to pump patients full of vitamins, minerals and such, but their best isn't good enough. They are correct that there were several recent articles purportedly showing that IV Vitamin C performed better than IV antibiotics in treating sepsis. Unfortunately, these articles
The "potential" for Vitamin C in treating cancer is
"This is clearly not just an outlier, the failure of an individual, or an unavoidable fluke. This is a failure of the naturopathic profession. This episode exposes what is clear from any review of naturopathic practice – they base their treatments on a pathetically low standard of evidence. They do not make meaningful risk vs benefit analyses."
That's why, as the CAND points out, "few MDs and DOs offer this therapy in Colorado." They don't offer the kind of IV infusions and "natural" hormones naturopaths routinely prescribe because there isn't sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy to offer them, so they don't meet a physician's standard of care.
Resources for opposing naturopathic practice expansion in Colorado: