Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

National MP Maureen Pugh says she does believe in drugs, after coming under fire for 'holistic approach'

Dr Siouxsie Wiles has written an open letter to Maureen Pugh saying 'alternative medicine' was medicine that was proven not to work.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles has written an open letter to Maureen Pugh saying 'alternative medicine' was medicine that was proven not to work.

National's newest MP says she does believe in the use of pharmaceuticals after attracting criticism for advocating a more holistic approach to health spending.

Maureen Pugh became an MP four months ago after former Trade Minister Tim Groser left to become New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States.

The West Coast-based List MP received criticism after revealing that her children, now adults, had never been on antibiotics, and saying she believed nature delivered what people needed.

"I think there's a real opportunity for us to save the country millions of dollars in pharmaceuticals by treating the whole person and the environment they live in, which is all about healthy eating," she told the Stuff.co.nz website, adding that she had favoured chiropractic care for her children.

Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles subsequently wrote an open letter to Ms Pugh, published on The Spinoff website, in which she said "alternative medicine" was medicine that had been proven not to work.

Dr Wiles, head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland, also wrote that there was no evidence to support the belief by some chiropractors that their work could cure ailments such as earache.

National Party-aligned blogger David Farrar also criticised Ms Pugh's comments on his website, Kiwiblog.

This evening, Ms Pugh posted on Facebook to say she did support the use of pharmaceuticals such as Panadol and anaesthetic.

She said all her children were fully vaccinated.

"In the past, I have spoken about funding programmes for health professionals other than doctors but I believe this should be done alongside mainstream general practice. It should also involve degree qualified health practitioners," Ms Pugh wrote.

"I also believe in the health benefits of people living healthier lifestyles through better nutrition, being more physically active and being smoke-free.

"Before entering Parliament, I had extensive experience serving on a primary health organisation and school board. As part of this work, I advocated for greater funding of GP practices and saw for myself the important role GPs play in caring for the community."

- NZ Herald

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