Consumer Protection

Creates temporary governor's task force on alternative medicine
to examine current scientific research to determine the benefits
and harmful effects, if any, and the efficacy or ineffectiveness,
as the case may be, of the various forms of alternative medicine.
Findings and recommendations to the governor and legislature by

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           1235
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that alternative medicine
 2 has made inroads in the way Americans perceive health care in the
 3 past decade.  In 1996, The National Library of Medicine and the
 4 MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Term Working Group, Office of
 5 Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, classified
 6 alternative medicine as an unrelated group of non-orthodox
 7 therapeutic practices, often with explanatory systems that do not
 8 follow conventional biomedical explanations.  The National
 9 Library of Medicine's previous classification termed alternative
10 medicine as non-orthodox therapeutic systems which have no
11 satisfactory scientific explanation for their effectiveness.
12 Others define it as medical interventions not taught at United
13 States medical schools or not available at United States
14 hospitals.  Alternative therapies commonly include:  folk
15 medicine, herbal medicine, diet fads, homeopathy, faith healing,
16 new age healing, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, massage,
17 aroma therapy, and music therapy.  These therapies are often
18 resorted to by individuals who have HIV, arthritis, cancer, back
19 pain, and other medical conditions.

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                                     S.B. NO.           1235

 1      The Journal of the American Medical Association recently
 2 reported that the number of individuals in the country who tried
 3 one or more alternative therapies in the previous year increased
 4 from 33.8 per cent in 1990 to 42.1 per cent in 1997.  Americans
 5 make more visits to nontraditional physicians, including 
 6 naturopaths who claim expertise in herbal and other natural
 7 therapies, than to their family doctors, spending almost as much
 8 out of pocket (unreimbursed by health insurance) on alternative
 9 medicine to the tune of $27,000,000,000, as on all unreimbursed
10 physician services of $29,000,000,000.  However, the field of
11 alternative medicine remains fluid and its record is uneven.
12 Some alternative therapies have become more accepted than others.
13 For example, acupuncture is now commonly accepted as an effective
14 therapy for certain conditions, regardless of disagreement or
15 skepticism over how and why it works.  In November, 1997, a panel
16 of the National Institutes of Health found that acupuncture is
17 effective in treating painful disorder of the muscle and skeletal
18 systems, such as fibromyalgia and tennis elbow -- even more
19 effective, in some cases, than conventional therapies.  The panel
20 judged acupuncture to be a reasonable option for the relief of
21 postoperative pain and low back pain and gave a qualified
22 endorsement for acupuncture as a supplement to standard remedies
23 for drug addiction, carpal-tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and

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                                     S.B. NO.           1235

 1 asthma.  A Boston University researcher reported that the cost
 2 savings from just faster stroke rehabilitation and effective
 3 carpal-tunnel syndrome treatment could cut the nation's annual
 4 medical bill by $11,000,000,000.  In addition, acupuncture has
 5 virtually no side effects.
 6      However, not all alternative therapies have achieved the
 7 same level of traditional acceptance.  For example, although
 8 herbal healing has also taken hold, it is still unclear whether
 9 certain herbal remedies are truly therapeutic and what their
10 potential dangerous side effects are.  Yet, Americans spent more
11 than $12,000,000,000 on natural supplements in 1997, nearly
12 double the amount spent in 1994 on things like St. John's wort,
13 ginseng, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, aloe, valerian, kava, and dong
14 quai.  In the currently little-regulated field of herbal
15 remedies, stricter regulation is sure to come as mainstream
16 pharmaceutical companies such as Warner-Lambert, American Home
17 Products, and SmithKline Beecham begin to do serious research and
18 marketing.
19      The purpose of this Act is to stimulate the growth of
20 alternative medicine in Hawaii in a responsible way by subjecting
21 the field to collaborative examination, research, and discussion
22 in the community through a governor's task force on alternative
23 medicine.

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                                     S.B. NO.           1235

 1      SECTION 2.  (a)  There shall be created a temporary two-year
 2 governor's task force on alternative medicine composed of members
 3 appointed by the governor representing the following:
 4      (1)  Department of health;
 5      (2)  Department of human services;
 6      (3)  Department of business, economic development, and
 7           tourism;
 8      (4)  Department of commerce and consumer affairs;
 9      (5)  Healthcare Association of Hawaii;
10      (6)  Hawaii chapter of the American Medical Association;
11      (7)  Chiropractors;
12      (8)  Practitioners of homeopathy;
13      (9)  Practitioners of acupuncture;
14     (10)  Practitioners of native Hawaiian medicine; and
15     (11)  Practitioners of other forms of alternative medicine.
16 The task force shall be chaired by a representative from the
17 department of health.
18      (b)  The task force shall examine the current scientific
19 research on alternative medicine to determine the benefits and
20 harmful effects, if any, and the efficacy or ineffectiveness, as
21 the case may be, of the various forms of alternative medicine,
22 and shall examine ways to stimulate growth of alternative
23 medicine.  The task force shall recommend to the governor and the

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                                     S.B. NO.           1235

 1 legislature whether certain forms of alternative medicine should
 2 be regulated by law or given formal recognition as a form of
 3 medicine, including any necessary proposed legislation.
 4      (c)  The task force shall submit an interim report to the
 5 legislature no later than March 31, 2000 and shall report its
 6 findings and recommendations to the governor and the legislature
 7 no later than November 30, 2000.  The task force shall terminate
 8 on the adjournment, sine die, of the regular session of 2001.
 9      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
11                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________