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[PASSED] Traditional Medicine

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General Assembly Resolution At Vote

Traditional Medicine

A resolution to modify universal standards of healthcare.

Category: Health

Area of Effect: Research

Proposed by: bears_armed_mission__0.jpgBears Armed Mission

The World Assembly,

Aware that nations generally have laws against advertising or distributing substances and other therapies for medicinal use unless those substances or therapies have been tested extensively for both effectiveness and safety;

Noting that many nations also have patent systems which do not allow the establishment of monopolies over the production or distribution of products, in cases where prior public use of such products has demonstrably existed;

Realizing that this combination of laws is likely to deter pharmaceutical businesses from testing substances for which medicinal properties have traditionally been claimed, and thus to hinder the legal distribution of those potential remedies for various medical problems;

Believing that this problem needs to be solved, for the public good.


1). Declares that the use of untested substances as medications potentially poses an extreme hazard to member nations’ populations, not only due to possible harmful side-effects but also because some people might rely on them to the exclusion of more reliable modern alternatives.

2). Defines the term ‘Traditional Medicine’, for the purpose of this resolution, as meaning any medication or other therapeutic technique that is used because of popular belief rather than scientific proof for its effectiveness, and whose use is sufficiently customary that it could not be patented in legal systems whose laws do not allow granting patents for products with provable prior use.

3). Strongly urges member nations’ governments:
(a) To arrange proper testing for all substances used in traditional medicine within their jurisdictions, except where the collection of those substances would harm endangered species or violate the bodily autonomy of sapient beings, and to publicize the results;
(b) To arrange proper testing, likewise, for all other therapies used in traditional medicine within their jurisdictions;
(c) To ban the manufacture and distribution, of any traditional medication for which testing has not confirmed reasonable safety and predictability of dosage;
(d) To ban the practice of any other traditional medical technique for which testing has not confirmed reasonable safety;
(e) To ban likewise any traditional medication or other traditional medical theory that has been proven reasonably safe but whose effectiveness has not been proven, if a better alternative is available, unless it will be used only alongside that alternative (and can safely be thus used) — rather than in lieu of that alternative — for the possibility of a helpful placebo effect;
(f) To ensure that the collection of material from organisms of any species for use in medicinal products does not endanger any species, for example by requiring that the material be taken only from farmed organisms rather than from wild ones;
(g) To ensure that any sentient life-forms farmed for this purpose are kept, and the materials collected from them, humanely;
(h) To promote research into synthesis of the active ingredients from those traditional medicines that research has proven effective and reasonably safe, so that versions of those medicines can be produced which will not have to rely on natural sources and for which dosages can probably be set more accurately than in the traditional forms.

4). Requires member nations’ governments:
(a) To ban the manufacture and distribution of any traditional medications that could not be tested under the limits set by clause 3.a. of this resolution;
(b) To ban the practice of any other traditional medical techniques that could not be tested under the limits set by clause 3.b. of this resolution;
(c) To share all information that they have about the safety or effectiveness of traditional medicines with both their own nations' inhabitants and the World Assembly Scientific Programme (WASP).

5). Establishes a ‘Traditional Medicines Evaluation Agency’ within the WASP, and instructs this body to:
(a) Compile and study the relevant data supplied to WASP by member nations;
(b) Arrange proper testing of any substances and techniques used in traditional medicine within member nations for which such data is currently lacking, except as limited by clause 3.a. of this resolution;
(c) Distribute this data to member nations’ governments.

Well, this is quite a lengthy proposal we've got here. At first look it might seem quite restrictive but a significant portion of that is defused by its language. But all in proper order:

The preamble clarifies that the target are medications and practices that are unattractive for commercial applications due to having prior art, thus disallowing patenting them. 1) and 2) further define this and express the proposal's motivation.

3) is quite extensive but it is important to notice that the verb used here is 'urged', i.e. none of these are completely binding regulations but recommendations for actions, best practices if you will. It basically says 'it would be nice if you'd do these things but you are not 100% required to do so'. the content is mostly common sense, i.e. medication/medical practices should be shown to be safe and effective and sourced in resonable ways etc.

4) contains the meat of the proposal. It bans manufacture and distribution of traditional medications as well as practive of techniques that have not been tested yet according to 3) a + b. Note that self-medication is fine under 4)a, it mainly aims for commerce. Also once tests have been conducted, 4) a +b don't apply anymore, regardless of outcome (although 3 still urges you to put limitations on unsafe or ineffective practices and treatments)

The main thrust of the proposal is therefore to test everything and subsequently disseminate the acquired information to the (international) public, with 4)c and 5) establishing a sub-agency within WASP to help with the distribution of all this medical information, thus minimizing and spreading the effort and expenses of testing (no need to spend a buck on testing anything if one of those future tech nations can do it more easily for you, heh).

I personally quite like the proposal (3) h was even added after a suggestion of mine) and its requirements are significantly less severe than might seem at first glance. Still I can see some people objecting to it. I'll cautiously recommend to vote for it.

discussion thread

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