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Natural Medicine?

Pete Springer/OPB

A new law in Oregon will allow naturopathic physicians to prescribe a wider range of drugs to their patients. Up until now, naturopaths have only been able to prescribe naturally derived medicines, which includes some heavy narcotics. Naturopaths will first have to petition the Board of Naturopathic Examiners’ Formulary Council in order to expand the list of drugs they are allowed to prescribe.

Medical doctors have expressed concerns about the new law. Their opposition has been characterized as a “turf battle.” Naturopaths have said they hope wider prescription authority will expand their ability to serve patients as their primary care physician.

David Wall of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon argues that naturopathic physicians are more likely than medical doctors to make prescribing errors because of gaps in their training. Psychiatrists raised a similar argument against legislation that would permit Oregon’s psychologists to prescribe medication. That bill has been put on hold to allow a task force to come up with a compromise.

Do you see a naturopath? Will this new legislation change the way you receive medical care?


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