The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the increased statutory regulation of traditional and complementary medicine practitioners and practices, currently implemented in about half of nations surveyed. According to recent WHO data, however, the absence of policy guidelines in this area represents a significant barrier to implementation of such professional regulations. This commentary reviews several key challenges that distinguish the statutory regulation of traditional medicine practitioners and practices from biomedical professional regulation, providing a foundation for the development of policy making parameters in this area. Foremost are the ongoing impacts of the European colonial encounter, which reinforce biomedicine’s disproportionate political dominance across the globe.
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