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Alternative Medicine

Wherever did Paul Smaglik get the idea that the boost in the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) budget to $20 million was "unexpected" (P. Smaglik, "Office of Alternative Medicine Gets Unexpected Boost," The Scientist, Nov. 10, 1997, page 7)? In my opinion it was coldly calculated. No one, not even Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), would have expected Congress to give OAM institute status and a budget of $200 million. But by demanding just that and forcing the Congress

Saul Green

Wherever did Paul Smaglik get the idea that the boost in the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) budget to $20 million was "unexpected" (P. Smaglik, "Office of Alternative Medicine Gets Unexpected Boost," The Scientist, Nov. 10, 1997, page 7)? In my opinion it was coldly calculated. No one, not even Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), would have expected Congress to give OAM institute status and a budget of $200 million. But by demanding just that and forcing the Congress to turn down his request, Harkin put his buddies on the congressional conference committee in the position of having to mollify him with an agreeable alternative. That turned out to be an increase of OAM's annual budget to $20 million rather than a reduction to $7.5 million.

James Gordon's explanation in the article that research couldn't be done by OAM because it was institutionally shackled...

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