I am writing this post because I was surprised that a pharmaceutical representative from a major local pharma company came to visit me yesterday. For the regular doctor, pharma rep visits are part of their days. In fact they are usually given an allocated time to give their less than a minute spiel to the doctors, so that they will not interfere with consultation time with patients. But for us Integrative Medicine (or some Alternative Medicine) practitioners, these visits are rare. Because in general, we do not endorse brands unless we really believe in a company’s products. I would regularly recommend mutivitamins and mineral supplements, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Ascorbic Acid and other supplements to our patients, (on some occasion will mention a brand I worked with and have used before) and I would just write the prescriptions and point them to the direction of the nearest Healthy Options store (I do not have any financial interest in that company FYI) because I have perused their shelves and have tried their products. If the patients are already using a good product, something that works for them, then we just continue it, and complement it with our therapies.
Back to the pharma rep and her products that were designed to be utilized by Integrative Medicine doctors like myself. In their promotional item it was mentioned that their line of medicines or supplements was named after the “fast growing field of medicine: Integrative Medicine”. An excerpt from the same material: “The field of integrative health and medicine reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person and makes use of all approved therapeutic approaches. ”
I believe that the move on their part is timely. And highlight on locally manufactured, value for money and quality supplements is important in this scenario of a market that is saturated with pricey although costly imported supplements.
The part about Integrative Medicine being fast growing is surprising news for me though. In my world, with hundreds of doctor acquaintances and friends, I do not see many who are looking into this field to venture into. Nevertheless, I am seeing (and reading) a lot of progress in the field and interest, in a global perspective. Integrative Medicine is novel, and interesting, and a lot of people are clamoring for change from the Westernized, disease-centered approach to health. As one doctor/blogger Dr Briana Rueda wrote: “I anticipate a near future when integrative medicine is no longer labeled “alternative” or “complementary” but rather is the standard of care for preventative medicine and treatment of chronic disease.” (Read her blog in http://www.drbrianarueda.com)
Most of our patients want to be rid of their maintenance medications as a reason for seeking consult and a lot with heart disease that do not want surgical intervention. Majority are sitting in our chairs, with therapies dripping into them, with hope that their treatments will bring them renewed energy and health, and not just maintain their current states. We believe that empowering patients and partnering with them in making informed decisions regarding their health are keys in making them take more active health promoting lifestyle changes and habits.
As these flowers show, the future seems indeed, rosier. Fom my heart, I would like Integrative Medicine approaches to be a worthy-to- mention option for traditional doctors so that patients are not backed into a corner, a corner of hopelessness and despair, especially if they are lacking in resources. The science behind the therapies are out there – in books, in reputable internet sites, in journals and scientific papers and only need person in authority and positions (especially doctors) to look closely with an open mind. The anecdotal reports abound, some even awe inspiring, bordering on miraculous when told, and they are real persons that may be your neighbors and friends, if you ask the right questions. But they are interesting individuals, young and old, across different professions and social strata coming into Integrative Medicine clinics on a regular basis as part of their lifestyle and health maintenance. When some doctors (I know one personally) would wish for their patients not to see them soon because that means a condition came up or a sickness has started again, we would, on the other hand, say happily to a patient, “See you again!” when they leave.
This practice is surprising me everyday, a decade after it has sowed its root in my mind and heart. We in the Integrative Medicine field are not without critics, but friendly news are more common nowadays. And the brighter colors of hope for more people to look towards our direction are emerging. Cheers!
by. Dr. Glorybelle Molano
Lead Physician, The Longevity Center