Legal issues regarding unlicensed health care practices and nutritional supplements

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has increasingly become a popular option for many Americans. A 2007 study showed that a majority of Americans used at least one form of CAM during that year. In response, many states opted to license practices that had previously been unlicensed, such as acupuncture, massage therapy and naturopathy. In addition, some states passed legislation to regulate and discipline unlicensed CAM practitioners. Minnesota spearheaded these efforts in 1999 by passing a law that set guidelines and standards for unlicensed health care practitioners, while protecting the public's right to choose to use CAM. California, Rhode Island, Louisiana, New Mexico and Puerto Rico all followed with similar legislation. The federal government's attempts at regulation of CAM have been varied. In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act (DSHEA) as a result of intense lobbying by health food manufacturers and the public. While it limited the claims manufacturers could make on labels, the law also severely curtailed the FDA's ability to regulate nutritional and dietary supplements. Partially due to the adverse effects of DSHEA, President Bush signed the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (DSNDCPA) into law on Dec. 22, 2006.

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Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline

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