THE SENATE                           S.C.R. NO.            218
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                    SENATE  CONCURRENT
                        RESOLUTION
  REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO CONDUCT A THOROUGH
    INVESTIGATION OF THE CURRENT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON
    ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE 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.
 

 1        WHEREAS, alternative medicine has made inroads in the way
 2   Americans have perceived health care in the past decade; and
 3   
 4        WHEREAS, in 1996, the National Library of Medicine and the
 5   MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Term Working Group, Office of
 6   Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, classified
 7   alternative medicine as an unrelated group of non-orthodox
 8   therapeutic practices, often with explanatory systems that do
 9   not follow conventional biomedical explanations; and
10   
11        WHEREAS, others define alternative medicine as medical
12   interventions not taught at United States medical schools or
13   not available at United States hospitals; and
14   
15        WHEREAS, alternative therapies commonly include:  folk
16   medicine, herbal medicine, diet fads, homeopathy, faith
17   healing, new age healing, chiropractic, acupuncture,
18   naturopathy, massage, aroma therapy, and music therapy; and
19   
20        WHEREAS, these therapies are often resorted to by
21   individuals who have HIV, arthritis, cancer, back pain, and
22   other medical conditions; and
23   
24        WHEREAS, the Journal of the American Medical Association
25   recently reported that the number of individuals in the country
26   who tried one or more alternative therapies in the previous
27   year increased from 33.8 per cent in 1990 to 42.1 per cent in
28   1997 and Americans make more visits to nontraditional
29   physicians, including naturopaths who claim expertise in herbal
30   and other natural therapies, than to their family doctors,
31   spending almost as much out of pocket (unreimbursed by health
32   insurance) on alternative medicine to the tune of
33   $27,000,000,000, as on all unreimbursed physician services of
34   $29,000,000,000; and
35   

 
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 1        WHEREAS, one now commonly-accepted form of alternative
 2   medicine is acupuncture and is an effective therapy for certain
 3   conditions, regardless of disagreement or skepticism over how
 4   and why it works; and
 5   
 6        WHEREAS, in November, 1997, a panel of the National
 7   Institutes of Health found that acupuncture is effective in
 8   treating painful disorders of the muscle and skeletal systems,
 9   such as fibromyalgia and tennis elbow -- even more effective,
10   in some cases, than conventional therapies, and judged
11   acupuncture to be a reasonable option for the relief of
12   postoperative pain and low back pain, and gave a qualified
13   endorsement for acupuncture as a supplement to standard
14   remedies for drug addiction, carpal-tunnel syndrome,
15   osteoarthritis, and asthma; and
16   
17        WHEREAS, a Boston University researcher reported that the
18   cost savings from faster stroke rehabilitation and effective
19   carpal-tunnel syndrome treatment alone could cut the nation's
20   annual medical bill by $11,000,000,000.  In addition,
21   acupuncture has virtually no side effects; and
22   
23        WHEREAS, furthermore, herbal healing has also taken hold
24   as Americans spent more than $12,000,000,000 on natural
25   supplements in 1997, nearly double the amount spent in 1994 on
26   things like St. John's wort, ginseng, echinacea, ginkgo biloba,
27   aloe, valerian, kava, and dong quai; and
28   
29        WHEREAS, in light of the effectiveness of certain types of
30   alternative therapies, particularly as a supplement to
31   traditional Western medicine, it is in the interest of the
32   people of Hawaii to encourage full access to alternative forms
33   of medicine; now, therefore,
34   
35        BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twentieth Legislature
36   of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 1999, the House of
37   Representatives concurring, that the Department of Health is
38   requested to conduct a thorough investigation of the current
39   scientific research on alternative medicine to determine the
40   benefits and harmful effects, if any, and the efficacy or
41   ineffectiveness, as the case may be, of the various forms of
42   alternative medicine, and examine ways to stimulate the
43   increased use of alternative medicine in Hawaii, if
44   appropriate; and
45   

 
 
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 1        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health is
 2   requested to recommend to the Governor and the Legislature
 3   whether certain forms of alternative medicine should be
 4   regulated by law or given formal recognition as a form of
 5   medicine, including any necessary proposed legislation; and
 6   
 7        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health is
 8   requested to report to the Legislature its findings and
 9   recommendations no later than twenty days prior to the
10   convening of the Regular Session of 2000; and
11   
12        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this
13   Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Health.
14 
15 
16 
17                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________