Laois Fine Gael councillor backs ‘natural’ therapies for cancer treatment

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois Fine Gael councillor backs ‘natural’ therapies for cancer treatment

A Laois councillor wants to stop the Government's plan to ban the advertising of holistic therapies like reiki and acupuncture as treatments for cancer.

Cllr Aisling Moran has asked Laois County Council to write to Minister for Health Simon Harris to amend the proposed Treatment of Cancer (Advertisements) Bill 2018 which is set to exclude any non medical treatments from advertising as cancer treatments.

“What this bill is trying to achieve in the main is correct. There are plenty of people out there that take advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable.

“We’ve all heard of the guy who claims they can cure a cancer in weeks by praying it away. Advising sick people not to have the surgery, eat this shrub and I can cure you,” she said at the December meeting of Laois County Council.

“In some cases medical drugs are the only proven cure. But some natural medicines work alongside them and can help stop nausea, maybe help ease the pain. Our citizens have the right to choose what form of treatment they would like to use alongside conventional medicine. This allows registered doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists but no acupuncture, reiki or holistic treatments. Leaning towards conventional medicine seems a step backward,” she said.

Cllr Moran suggested that the change in law will facilitate pharmaceutical companies to get all income from sales of cannabis if it is legalised.

“I also find it interesting that the introduction of this bill coincides with the rise in use of medicinal cannabis in Ireland, and the possible legalisation of this Natural product. If this Bill is passed it means the only group that will be able to produce or sell this product will be the pharmaceutical industry,” Cllr Moran said.

She tabled her motion to the meeting. Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley seconded.

“This is relevant given the bill is before the Dáil by Kate O’Connell. The concern I want to flag is that this bill has the potential to squeeze out medical herbalists with masters and degrees who are registered,” she said.

However, Cllr Aidan Mullins had a concern.

“I accept that pharma industries are driving medications and people are left on them for life. My only concern, I’m not qualified to oppose this, but my reading of the bill is this is advertising related to treatment of cancer. To prevent claims of being able to cure or treat cancer. There are others preying on people,” he said.

Cllr Moran pointed out that the bill will also recommend applications for other serious illnesses.

“They are stopping natural products being used anywhere on any illness,” she claimed.