The World Has Become Slightly Less Quacky

imageMarch 1st sees the Advertising Standards Authority take on complaints about misleading claims on websites.

This means that if your local friendly quack is telling people that they can cure gouty toes and windy bowels with the power of a magic knitting needle then you can write to the ASA who may ask them to stop if they cannot substantiate their claims.

I have a feeling that it is going to be a busy time for the ASA. Perhaps too busy.

Anyway, the Nightingale Collaboration is an organisation I am proud to have some association with has launched today to help people make sense of the various ways that misleading claims can be countered.

I shall let them speak for themselves,

Launch of the Nightingale Collaboration

We will be revealing our plans for the future over the next few months, but today we are announcing a project that everyone can take part in.

Today, the 1st March, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) changed its rules so that members of the public can make complaints about misleading marketing communications on websites.

Until now, the misleading, outrageous and sometimes dangerous claims made on many healthcare websites have been off-limits, but now you can do something about them by submitting your own complaint.

We think it will help the ASA if our supporters focus complaints on one area of healthcare each month, as this will mean they can focus their research and adjudication process. Hopefully, this will enable the ASA to deal with complaints more quickly and effectively.

Hence, at the start of each month we will be announcing a new area of healthcare where we would like you to look for misleading claims on the web, make an ASA complaint and help eradicate misleading claims.

Today, as part of our first project, we want all those concerned about the public being misled to submit complaints against homeopathy websites that make misleading claims, and who therefore offer ineffective treatments, put patients at risk and take considerable amounts of money in exchange for sugar pills.

Our step-by-step guide will make it easy for anyone to submit an ASA complaint. So why not make a difference today by making an ASA complaint against a homeopathy website thereby helping to protect the public?

Join in and bookmark their site. This should be a great resource.

15 Comments on The World Has Become Slightly Less Quacky

  1. Now if we could just get this provision in the USA! We’re awash in thousands of web sites with implausible and deceptive claims for pseudo-medical products.

  2. This is worrying:

    NHS safety incidents up 4pc
    By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent
    Last Updated: 4:11PM GMT 02/03/2011
    NHS patients suffered almost 38,000 safety incidents that led to “moderate or severe harm” during a six-month period last year, official figures show.

    Between April 1 and September 30 there were 547,879 incidents in total, according to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), an NHS body, up four per cent on the previous six months.

    Of those, 33,310 (6.1 per cent) resulted in moderate harm, while 4,358 (0.8 per cent) resulted in death or severe harm.

    Just over two-thirds (69 per cent) resulted in no harm, while 129,968 (24 per cent) resulted in “low” harm.

    Slips, trips and falls accounted for 29 per cent of incidents; medication errors 11 per cent and treatment mistakes 10 per cent.

    • I suggest you take this information onto a blog that discusses slips and falls in the NHS and how outrageous it is. We are talking about misleading claims by quacks here.

  3. Sorry if I upset anyone, just thought it would be interesting. I now see it was off the topic but there is no still no need to be so rude and insulting.

  4. That’s OK and sorry for the terse response.

    I guess the reason people get angry about this sort of off topic posting as it is a common tactic for quacks to engage in ‘whataboutery’ – or ‘don’t talk about that, talk about this.’ – Basically, anything to avoid discussing the shortcomings of their own beliefs and actions.

  5. Funny thing is – what are you old school docs afraid of? Might your medical school investment not have given you all the answers about how to cure people? Hospitals are a great way to get sick and die when you weren’t even going to get sick and die! Take a look at people who die after surgery that don’t even fall under statistics and you might realize that there is a better way. It’s up to you though. I don’t mind what you choose to believe.

    Emerging medicine is the way and it’s soon going to be one of the only ways. Using first aid doctors for severe issues like gunshot wounds or things people have gotten because they don’t take care of themselves – most diseases fall into this category – may still be the norm. Soon, though prevention in medicine will be the norm too. As will holistic approaches. Now this stuff you speak of – fake docs or quacks – sure – keep them off the streets but I doubt that your exaggeration of knitting needles for gout even exists. let’s stick to the truth in false advertising that you complain of. Your exaggeration warrants a complaint as much as any quack claiming something false.

    • newmedicine, I like s bit of empty rhetorical puffery as much as the next monkey, but let’s put it to the test to see whether what you say is anything more than juvenile mind-wank.

      This question has been asked of homeopathy specifically, but valid for all


      I predict you will be another hit-and-run poster who lacks the cojones to stick around for a proper discussion. So I’ll cut to the chase and say, “Bye, bye”

    • The term “emerging medicine” is a good try, but for maximum points it should have been combined with the usual alt-med appeal to antiquity.

    • For bonus points you can answer the following questions;

      Why is it “holistic”‘ to believe that all disease is treatable by massaging a little map of the body on the feet?

      Why is it “holistic”‘ to believe that all disease is treatable by cracking the back to alleviate a subluxation that is not demonstrable by and diagnostic test?

      Why is it “holistic”‘ to believe that all disease is treatable by little sugar pills bearing one of a small number of different paper labels?

      I’m talking into the vacuum, I expect.

  6. I wish I could agree with the title of this article. The quackyness has momentarily moved across the pond to 2600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington DC

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  1. ASA swamped with complaints re: Homeopathy. « Anomalous Distraction

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