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Alternative Medicine

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Excerpt from Alternative Medicine: Hearing Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, First Session, Special Hearing

The subcommittee met at 10:20 a.m., in room SD-192, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Tom Harkin (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Harkin, Reid, and Gorton.

Also Present: Senators Mikulski and Pell.

Nondepartmental Witnesses

Statements of David M. Eisenberg, M.D., associate in medicine, Boston's Beth Israel Hospital and Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Opening Remarks of Senator Harkin

Senator Harkin. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies will come to order.

First of all, I want to apologize to all of you here. We had back-to-back votes on the Senate floor; very contentious, very difficult votes. It consumed a lot of our time and that is why we are late starting. I am sure you all know these votes are on the budget. So I apologize, and I apologize to Senator Mikulski for being a little late getting here.

The hearing this morning will focus on the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, which is funded through this appropriations subcommittee.

In October 1991, this subcommittee provided $2 million to establish the Office of Alternative Medicine for two main reasons: first, to take a serious look into the potential of alternative medical practices; and second, to break down the bias in medical research against review of worthy treatments not in the mainstream of conventional medicine. And since then, another $2 million has been provided to this end. Today, we want to examine the progress the office is making and look at how effective it has been in meeting its congressional mandate.

I guarantee what you are about to hear this morning may be completely different from everything else you have ever heard about health care. But the fact that one in three Americans has reported using one form of alternative medicine or another makes this subject worth investigating.

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