Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MOH's ruling on aesthetic treatments

The Health Ministry on Monday 24 March 08 sent a circular to all doctors, explaining its stand on aesthetic treatments and why there is a need to 'safeguard medical standards'.
It said media reports last week on the ministry banning doctors from doing 11 aesthetic procedures might have 'presented an inaccurate picture'.
There has been some confusion on the ground, especially among doctors who offer treatments the ministry had likened to 'snake oil', as they are not backed by science.
Some doctors had been asked by the ministry to show proof that such treatment works. If they are not able to do so, they should cease offering them. Others offering similar treatments had not heard from the ministry.
Monday's circular by Professor K Satku, director of medical services, gave three reasons for the ministry's stand on safeguarding medical standards' on these treatments:
Not enough evidence to prove the safety and effectiveness of some treatments.
Reports of side effects such as scarring and infections.
Some of the medicines used have not been approved by the Health Sciences Authority - the body that regulates all drug use - for such use.
Reiterating what the ministry told The Straits Times last week, Prof Satku reminded doctors that the code of ethics clearly states that 'a doctor shall not offer to patients management plans or remedies that are not generally accepted by the profession, except in the context of a formal and approved clinical trial'.
On Sunday, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed plans to tighten regulations on who can provide higher risk aesthetic treatments, what training they need and where such treatments should be carried out.
Guidelines on less risky procedures that have 'dubious' benefits will be left to the professional bodies, he said.

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