SMA's letter to the Straits Times Forum page, in response to ST articles on Aesthetic Medicine since 19 March 2008

Dear Sir

I refer to the spate of articles on aesthetic medicine published in The Straits
Times since 19 March 2008.

The SMA welcomes the clarification made by the Minister for Health on 23
March 2008 on the position of the government on this matter, in particular, the
emphasis on self -regulation of aesthetic practices by professional bodies. We
are also heartened by the circular issued by the Director of Medical Services
to all medical practitioners on 24 March 2008 which spelt out the principles of
safeguarding medical standards in Singapore as well as the press release
"MOH clarifies position on aesthetic medicine" dated the same day.

The vast majority of doctors in Singapore, including those that provide
aesthetic practices, are ethical professionals who earn an honest day's living
by caring for their patients. Even if some of the mentioned aesthetic practices
are not grounded on the most robust body of scientific evidence, the use of
the term "snake oil" is insensitive to many in the medical profession. Repeated
use of this term by The Straits Times, notwithstanding it was, as we
understand it, uttered on a single occasion by a person of authority, is hurtful
to doctors and regrettable. It does little to raising the standards of discussion
on this difficult issue of regulating aesthetic practices.

Doctors understand that with great powers and trust vested in them by the
public, come greater responsibility and accountability. Likewise, we hope that
the local media will exercise better discretion going forward so that the
readers are better served with more constructive reporting. 

Yours sincerely


Honorary Secretary
48th SMA Council

cc: Mr Han Fook Kwang Editor, The Straits Times (Fax: 67320131)