The medical fraternity is under attack by medical fraudsters.So says Dr Neil Singh, head of the Health Services Unit at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.He was speaking at the launch of the third annual Health and Wellness Expo, organised by U The Caribbean Health Digest, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain.Singh said fraudsters exploit the gap in health and wellness which exists in our healthcare system, which deals primarily with treating physical illnesses.
In an interview yesterday, Singh said these fraudsters included self-proclaimed healers, certain weight-loss specialists and traders of counterfeit drugs."There are many pseudo-healthcare professionals who claim to do many things. There are fraudulent medicines being sold in our market and fraudulent practitioners who claim they can cure cancers and diabetes," Singh said.He said in other countries people undergo five years of training before practising complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).However, in Trinidad there are many practioneers of CAM who have only completed a three-month crash course abroad. CAM, according to WebMD, is an area of medicine related to herbal treatments, massage therapies and magnetic therapies.Besides implementing proper regulations, Singh said, the threat can be reduced by promoting healthier lifestyles.
He advised that citizens should be vigilant about the drugs and consult a doctor before taking any alternative treatments. Health Minister Fuad Khan said he was concerned with these individuals who claim they can cure cancer and other diseases."The ministry is concerned with those treating (members of) the population with cervical or breast cancer and making false advertisements. We indicated to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) to take action," he said.Khan said he was changing the "laws" to work on the issue.