There are both benefits and risks associated with the use of TM/CAM, as highlighted by a number of recent reports. Therefore it is important to ensure that appropriate information is made available to consumers to enable them to maximize the benefits of TM/CAM while minimizing the risks.
A number of elements should be taken into account when developing consumer information. For example, TM/CAM therapies are often linked to the culture from which they have originated, and their use out of the original context can be a source of misunderstanding and/or improper use. In addition, each country has a different health care system and different pattern of utilization of TM/CAM by consumers. Therefore consumer information on TM/CAM needs to be tailored to specific country needs.
This document provides important reference information that can be used by consumers and is intended to help guide them in their choice and use of TM/CAM therapies or products. The aim is to help protect consumers and reduce the risks involved in improper use of TM/CAM. Finally, as emphasized throughout this document, it is important that a number of key stakeholders work in collaboration with governments to develop much needed consumer information on TM/CAM and ensure that it is easily accessible.