Complementary Medicines in Contemporary Society
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Note: Students may only enrol in this subject (TAS-XBR9120) if they are admitted to the Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainable Living. All other students should enrol in TAS-XBR120.
Upon successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Explain what complementary medicines are and discuss changes in their use over the last 30 years, with a particular focus on Australia
- Identify and analyse the role of different types of evidence in influencing decision making by Australian consumers about their use of complementary medicines
- Assess the role of ethics and the law in regulating the availability, safety and advertising of complementary medicines in Australia and more broadly
- Growth, commodification and 'big business'
- Environmental impact of growth and big business
- Sustainability and complementary medicines
- Relationship between complementary medicines and orthodox medicine
- Legal regulation of complementary medicine products and practitioners
- Protection of consumers
- The role of ethics in regulating complementary medicine products and practice
You cannot enrol in this subject if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:
No special requirements
In Australia and other Western countries, the majority of the population use herbal medicines, nutritional or dietary supplement (collectively referred to as complementary medicines) at some stage of their lives, typically alongside conventional medical treatments. In these countries, most people use complementary medicines to enhance health and support the performance of everyday tasks, while some use them to treat or manage a condition or deficiency. Many complementary medicines are sophisticated commodities derived from natural products which have long traditional use as far simpler preparations. From a global perspective, traditional and complementary medicines are the primary source of health care for more than 70% of the world’s population. Despite this widespread and long-standing use, we have a limited understanding of the effectiveness and safety for many commonly used complementary medicines.
Often complementary medicines are used together with prescription and over-the counter medicines, in many cases without the knowledge of health professionals. While complementary medicines are generally considered safe for most people, like other medicines they are associated with allergies, side-effects and interactions with other medicines.
Pulling together the disciplines of sociology, law and complementary medicine this unit is designed for students who want to develop their knowledge in order to understand, debate and critically analyse the use and place of complementary medicines in the modern health care system. Drawing on a range of online teaching methods, learning modules will focus on topics such as understanding the use of complementary medicines in Australia and around the world, the question of evidence and the role of ethics and the law in regulating the availability, safety and advertising of complementary medicines. Students will address issues of locating reliable information on complementary medicines and will develop an understanding of the environmental issues that arise from the increased popularity of these medicines.
- Quiz (20%)
- Reflective exercise (40%)
- Critical analysis (40%)