Suggestion: Develop and begin implementation of an effective plan to legalize the profession of chiropractic.
Following Taiwan’s adoption of a Patent Linkage system to help protect pharmaceuticals against infringement, the issue of legalizing the status of chiropractic doctors in Taiwan now has the dubious distinction of being the longest-standing unresolved issue in the Taiwan White Paper, stretching back well over a decade.
During that time, some fruitful discussions have been held with the relevant government agencies, chiefly the National Development Council and Ministry of Health and Welfare. But it was never possible to overcome the resistance from the medical community in order to devise a practical solution. The foreign-trained, foreign-licensed chiropractic doctors practicing in Taiwan have had to continue to exist in a state of limbo, staying so low-profile that they may not even operate websites.
The nebulous status is more than a mere inconvenience. It leaves the chiropractic doctors vulnerable to harassment by ill-wishers who complain to local health authorities that chiropractors are practicing medicine without a license. Although such charges are likely to be dismissed upon review, chiropractors are left in state of constant uncertainty and insecurity.
Initially there seemed to be a possibility that 2020 could bring progress toward a significant breakthrough. Then came the eruption of the severe COVID-19 pandemic, which understandably means that government officials involved with healthcare must give all their attention to the current crisis, leaving the chiropractic issue on the back-back burner for now.
As soon as public health conditions permit, however, the chiropractic doctor members of AmCham Taipei hope and expect that this long-overdue issue can be raised again and finally brought to a conclusion. The arguments in favor of granting a legal status to chiropractic in Taiwan have been set out in detail in past White Papers. In essence, the situation comes down to the following:
Chiropractic is a recognized and widely respected form of healthcare throughout most of the world, offering relief to patients suffering from low-back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other neuromusculoskeletal ailments. In the U.S. alone there are more than 70,000 licensed chiropractors.
The World Health Organization, whose World Health Assembly Taiwan aspires to join as an observer, has long acknowledged chiropractic as a type of alternative medicine.
Chiropractic treatment involves neither surgery nor medication, and so represents a highly cost-effective approach that could relieve some of the burden on Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program as the population rapidly ages.
But despite all that, Taiwan remains one of very few countries in the world to have failed to accord recognized legal status to chiropractic. Is the rest of the world out of step or is Taiwan? More than 100 other jurisdictions have found ways to incorporate chiropractic into their overall healthcare system. Why has Taiwan continued to be an exception?