Blackmores Donates Research Funds to Sydney University
Blackmores, one of Australias most recognisable vitamin brands, has donated $1.3 million to the University of Sydney to fund research into the effectiveness of natural treatments such as acupuncture, herbs and meditation.
To be known as the Maurice Blackmore Chair in Integrative Medicine, the research is expected to run for five years with the aim to educate student doctors about natural medicines and how they interact with conventional treatments.
While not a lot of money initially, this can be viewed as a win for medicine (both orthodox and natural) and health care in this country.
Not only does this promote understanding between the two forms of medicine, it goes part of the way in reducing potential interactions between pharmaceuticals, herbs, vitamins and minerals.
What is clear is that the use of natural medicines is on the rise in Australia, with two thirds of us utilising some form of natural medicine per year. Additionally Australians spend more than $3.5 billion each year on natural medicines and related therapies. The natural medicine industry is worth $3.5 billion and is expected to grow to $4.6 billion in 2017-18.
The dean of the Sydney University Medical School, Bruce Robinson, said doctors could no longer dismiss complementary medicines and noted:
“I think it’s important we at least have our graduates leave with a basic understanding of what some of these alternative preparations might do and how they might interact with the other medicines they prescribe.”
Marcus Blackmore stated that “The beautiful thing is the university and Blackmores Institute have a shared vision about healthier, happier Australians. It’s a very patient-oriented approach to what we’re trying to do.”
It was the University of Sydney who approached Blackmores (not the other way around) about the partnership and said the donation came without any strings attached.
“We are the ones who make all the decisions about who’s appointed to the chair and what research we undertake,” Professor Robinson said. The agreement with Blackmores is one of being at an “arm’s length”.
They will instead collaborate with international partners in Canada, China and Asia and proposed schools in the USA and UK”.
The research will not test Blackmores products with the aim of proving the products efficacy and Blackmores itself has no say into how the studies are conducted.
By money being invested into research, particularly into the orthodox side of medicine, a more complete understanding between the two forms of health care can be established. This allows a comprehensive treatment plan to be established allowing an optimal health outcome for the individual.
After all, should this not be the primary aim of our health care system – a healthy population?