Naturopaths and prescription drugs

In December 2008, the BC government announced its intention to in­crease the scopes of practice of nat­uropaths and some other health pro­fessions. In 2009, it legislated the inclusion of prescribing privileges of prescription drugs by naturopaths.

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun reported about half of the 369 practising naturopaths in BC have been certified to prescribe since September 2010. The naturopath’s course involves considerable self-study over 2 to 3 months, a couple of weekends of intensive training with UBC pharmacy faculty members, and examinations that take another weekend. The pass rate was 86%, with additional 7% on second try.[1]

It is most difficult to comprehend that with such short training the BC government allows BC naturopaths to prescribe from homeopathic medications with supposedly no harmful side effects (because of their minute dilutions with the active ingredients not measurable theoretically) to prescription drugs, with million- or billionfold higher concentrations and with potentially serious side effects. 

The use of prescription drugs is totally contradictory to the fundamental concept of the practice of naturopathy and homeopathy—until the BC government joins them together!
—H.C. George Wong, MD


1. Dedyna K. Licence to prescribe still rankles B.C.’s MDs. Vancouver Sun, 7 March 2011;D3.

H.C. George Wong, MD, FRCPC. Naturopaths and prescription drugs. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 6, July, August, 2011, Page(s) 263 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply