Issues in complementary and alternative medicine
Issues in complementary and alternative medicine

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Issues in complementary and alternative medicine

3.4.4 Law imposes more stringent requirements than ethics

All health care practitioners, including those in CAM, must work within the laws of the country where they practise. Although the law does not always reflect what is considered ethical – indeed, ethical duties may be thought of as higher than legal duties – in most jurisdictions it ensures that practitioners are subject, at the very least, to minimal requirements vis-à-vis respect for users' dignity, user information, confidentiality, and maintaining professional boundaries.

However, the state has a crucial role in governing decisions about a range of ethical issues, such as what is permissible for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and human embryology research. These matters are not decided solely by the medical establishment. Often, when there is very strong public opinion, the government introduces legislation to control health care practices (for example, prohibiting trade in human organs, or commercial surrogacy arrangements).


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