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Asian Bioethics Review

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 157–163 | Cite as

When Giants Meet—a Discourse on Contemporary and Alternative Therapy Use from an Ethical Perspective

  • Cindy Shiqi ZhuEmail author
  • Wee Lee ChanEmail author
Student Voices

Abstract

In Singapore’s multicultural society, a sizable proportion of the population subscribes to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). In this article, we discuss the impact this has on medical practice in the context of the four principles of medical ethics. To uphold the principle of autonomy, we propose a non-judgmental approach towards patients who use CAM. Nevertheless, in order to promote health (beneficence) and prevent harm (non-maleficence), the safety profiles of CAM must be studied through systematic research. In addition, the principle of justice is one concerned with the fair distribution of scarce healthcare resources, while granting equal access to healthcare regardless of beliefs. Understanding CAM from an ethical perspective allows for the provision of safe, holistic, and culturally relevant care.

Keywords

Complementary and alternative medicine Traditional medicine Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Ethical perspective Ethics Medical ethics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Dr. Thiru Thirumoorthy, Dr. Crystal Lim, and Dr. Anantham Devanand for fruitful discussions and constructive feedback throughout the writing of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© National University of Singapore and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Duke-NUS Medical SchoolSingaporeSingapore

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