Focus View
Rethink ozone therapy ban
FocusM team | 12 May 2017 00:30
THE decision to ban ozone therapy is a typical knee-jerk reaction from the authorities.
The Health Ministry said the therapy did not give any health benefits but could instead endanger the lives of patients. However, it did not say if any patient had died or been taken ill after undergoing the therapy. 

Recently, there were reports that beauty salons manned by unqualified personnel were among businesses offering the therapy. If that is true, haul up the culprits.

The ministry claims that patients risk severe medical complications, including death, as their blood is run through the machine. But from what we know, there have been few public complaints about ozone therapy. Many seek the treatment willingly and are satisfied with the results. 

It’s strange that the issue has not been addressed earlier. In 2011, the Ozone Medical Practitioners Association (OMPA) submitted a manual of standard operating procedures (SOP) to the authorities. 

Since nothing was heard from them, it was business as usual for these practitioners. This sudden ban will cause hardship and financial loss to those who have invested heavily in the business. An ozone therapy machine costs at least RM100,000.

Many qualified doctors ventured into providing this treatment. Is it fair to penalise the majority just because some are illegally practising ozone therapy with unqualified personnel? If a few petrol stations sell tainted fuel, is it fair to penalise all the service stations?

It is good that the ministry has agreed to conduct an in-depth study on ozone therapy following an outcry from the OMPA. The study should have been done years ago. At least, it could have averted the present controversy. 

The authorities must be business-friendly. The delay by officials in reviewing the OMPA’s SOP meant many doctors have invested in ozone therapy machines. And now they are told to close shop without any conclusive evidence that the treatment is harmful.

Ozone therapy has been around for a long time, so there was ample time and opportunity for the ministry to study its implications. The sudden decision to ban the treatment will not only cause doctors to suffer loss but also make thousands jobless. This whole episode should have been better handled.