Report Calls for End to Federal Funding for Study of Alternative Medicine

November 22, 2011

In 1992, Congress allocated $2 million for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Alternative Medicine. Seven years later, in 1999, the Office of Alternative Medicine evolved into a fully independent NIH center called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Since 2000, NCCAM has been awarded $2 billion for research, and currently has an annual budget of $134 million.

Yet nearly twenty years of study have shown that most alternative medicine “cures” work no better than placebos, and that NCCAM should be defunded or abolished, according to the authors of an upcoming report in the magazine Skeptical Inquirer. In Culling Non-Science From Scarce Medical Resources, Eugenie V. Mielczarek and Brian Engler examine all NCCAM research between 2000 and 2011, and find no discoveries that justify spending taxpayer dollars to maintain its existence.

A downloadable preview version of Culling Non-Science From Scarce Medical Resources is available here.

The full report will appear in the January/February issue of Skeptical Inquirer, which is published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, an affiliate of the Center for Inquiry.

Culling Non-Science From Scarce Medical Resources was authored by Eugenie V. Mielczarek, emeritus professor of physics at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Her 40 years of research is in the area of materials science and biological physics. The report was co-authored by Brian Engler, a retired U. S. Navy Commander. His fields of study include operations research and business administration.

The report builds on a 2009 paper that Mielczarek lead authored for the Center for Inquiry, A Fracture in our Health Care: Paying for Non-Evidence Based Medicine. You can read more about that report here.