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Georgetown Law Library

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Guide

This guide suggests research strategies and useful print and electronic resources on this emerging health care field.

Contents

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Legislation

Secondary sources, such as treatises and journal articles, are usually the best place to start gathering citations to relevant legislation.
 

  1. Current Legislation related to CAM
     
    1. Where else to find Federal Legislation:
      • Laws and Regulations (Food and Drug Administration) provides full text of laws and regulations enforced by the FDA, last updated November 7, 2002.
         
      • Industry Regulation (Council for Responsible Nutrition) provides summaries and analyses of legislation and regulations that would have an impact on the dietary supplement industry.
         
      • The Legislative Action Center (American Chiropractic Association) is a great resource for new legislation with an impact on chiropractic practices.
         
      • Westlaw
         
      • Lexis
         
      • United States Code (USC), United States Code Annotated (USCA), United States Code Service (USCS)
         
    2. Where else to find State Legislation and Regulations on CAM:
      The licensing and regulatory power of biomedicine practitioners (e.g. physicians, dentists, and pharmacists), specialists who practice under physicians' supervisions, and providers of complementary and alternative health care lie within the state legislatures. The legal boundaries of CAM are still in flux. Some states are further ahead in regulating different CAM modalities than the others. There is also no one place that collects all such legislation from all states in an organized and comparative manner. Also individual groups of CAM practitioners will have a vested interest to publicize and advocate any new legislation. The following is a selection of resources:
      • Westlaw: SURVEYS database provides 50 state surveys on over 40 health care topics (none specifically on CAM yet). Sources: National Survey of State LawsMultijurisdictional Survey, and West Surveys. Currency varies.
      • National Conference for State Legislatures (NCSL)
        The Web site provides links to all state legislatures, personnel, and committees. NCSL also compiles bills introduced in all 50 states and District of Columbia on some specific topics such as State Medical Malpractice. By doing a "find" or browsing through the table, you will find that in California the Assembly has passed and has sent to the Senate Bill AB592: "Medical professional not subject to discipline for specified aspects of unprofessional conduct solely on basis that treatment or advice rendered to patient is alternative or emerging medical care."
         
      • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine State Laws and Regulations [KF2913 .A25 Z954 2005]
         
      • Chances are you will have to go to individual state codes for statutes and legislatures for bills currently under consideration. Some helpful Web sites:
        • NCSL has a "State Legislatures Internet Links" database which "contains information gleaned from the home pages and Web sites of the fifty state legislatures, the District of Columbia and the Territories. You can select to view specific web site content materials (such as bills, press rooms, statutes) from all states, on state or a selected list of states."
           
        • The Law Library maintains a list of state research guides to help you do state legal research.
           
        • Searching state databases on Westlaw and/or Lexis
           
        • Using print state codes. Consult state research guides for help.
    3. Guidelines:
       
  2. Legislative History


    If you are working on legislative history research of a federal law:
    • The first thing to do is to check if there is a compilation of legislative history on your legislation by doing a keyword search '"legislation name" and legislation history' on GULLiver (our online catalog)
       
    • If your legislation was passed after 1980, retrieve a list of legislative history (for very recent laws, you can link to full-text documents as well) from ProQuest Congressional
       
    • Congress.gov is a Library of Congress database for bills and legislative history documents. It is free and easy to use and it covers bills and legislative history and bill status info from 101st Congress (1989) onwards.
       
    • Once you have retrieved a list of legislative history documents, you can locate them. The Legislative History Research Guide will help you do that.

    If you are working on legislative history research of a state law:

    • The first thing to do is to check if there is a compilation of legislative history on your legislation by doing a keyword search "legislation name" and "legislation history" on GULLiver (our online catalog)
       
    • Westlaw's Legislative Histories databases (state code-LH) are great sources for state legislative history.
       
    • Legislative history for state legislation is generally not as widely accessible as that for federal legislation, consult the state research guides to learn more about how to do legislative history research on your state. Don't hesitate to contact a reference librarian for assistance.

       
  3. Pending Legislation
     
    • "News" section of Web sites of advocacy groups and professional associations, e.g.,
    • Westlaw and Lexis: Both Westlaw and Lexis have federal and state legislation and bills databases.
       
    • Congress.gov is a Library of Congress database for bills and legislative history documents. It is free and easy to use and it covers bills and legislative history and bill status info from 101st Congress (1989) onwards.