I saw another potentially perturbing article on the BBC website today regarding alternative remedies and NHS funding.
I'm in the U.S., so this doesn't affect me directly, but I am concerned about it. I am a supporter of evidence-based medicine for its scientific rigor, BUT, and this is a big BUT - I am concerned that potential remedies will never get the opportunity to even be tested if there is no interest in funding their trial, and if private pharmaceutical funding becomes the only source of research. I don't know how things are in Europe and elsewhere, but I get the sense that public funding for research is fast dwindling in the U.S.
On the American side of the pond, there have been a recent slate of articles indicating that access to vitamins and nutritional supplements be curtailed, because most people who take them are already healthy and "don't need them", etc. I am not sure that I believe this, either. I've seen a lot of convincing animal studies coupled with some human case reports and case series studies indexed on PubMed showing promise for treatments mitigating the course of a disease or injury. Unfortunately, a lot of these substances won't make it to a full clinical trial because they are an older, unprofitable drug or a nutritional supplement.
For individuals with conditions for which there is no good, reliably effective "evidence-based" treatment, I would hate to see all "alternative" avenues cut off, which could happen through a variety of mechanisms - pulling all nonpresription access to vitamins, and for presciption medications, limiting insurance coverage for any "off label" applications. This will greatly limit options for both practicing physicians and their patients.
In a more perfect scientific, evidence-based world, we would see promising treatments move quickly to full clinical trials based on the potential for efficacy and safety, rather than the race to make the biggest profit by cornering the market share. And I'm afraid it's the latter that drives the source for what studies will be considered evidence-based.