When the Regulator Believes in Fairies, Who Protects the Public?

22nd January, 2011 37

It would appear to be a common mistake in the regulation of alternative medicine to assume that those trained in the subject, and who practice it, can be considered experts in the subject. And that those experts can help formulate good regulatory practices. The nature of expertise has plagued philosophers since the time of Plato, whose Socratic dialogues explored how you could tell a doctor from a quack. Plato struggled [read more…]

The MHRA and the Labeling of Homeopathic Products

15th January, 2010 19

Further documents have been published after the House of Commons held its enquiry into the evidence base for government policy on homeopathy. There are some real treats in there, but I am most concerned about new evidence from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (the MHRA) on how they test the public’s understanding of the labeling of homeopathic products. The new document was submitted to the enquiry after Professor [read more…]

Meddling Princes, Medical Regulation and Licenses to Kill

10th December, 2009 6

The Eighteenth Century in England was the Golden Age of Quackery, with London being a world capital for mountebanks, charlatans and other practitioners of irregular medicine. Consumers in Georgian England had access to an unparalleled selection of medical entrepreneurship from regular doctors, lay quacks, foreigners with exotic elixirs, and even preachers such as John Wesley (as we saw a few weeks ago). So popular were these various tonics and treatments [read more…]

Can We Trust Homeopaths to Accredit Their Own Training?

30th November, 2009 17

In a recent submission to the House of Commons Evidence Committee on Homeopathy, the Society of Homeopaths proudly assert that, The Society has long been committed to the highest standards for homeopathy, having run a voluntary regulatory system for the last 30 years and a course recognition process for the last 15 years. Further, it was the first homeopathy organisation to institute a Code of Ethics & Practice. Members must [read more…]

UNCRC Demands Equal Access to Quackery for Children

30th October, 2009 11

Last week, a comment piece in the Guardian asked, “Should there be freedom to mislead?”. It is an interesting question. Should the State intervene and try to regulate scientific truth? In a free society, should people not be free to hold untrue beliefs? In the context of pseudomedical beliefs, what role should regulation play in preventing untruthful claims to be made about treatments and how far should the state go [read more…]

Homeopath Struck Off. Shock!

13th August, 2009 13

Appearing on the Society of Homeopath’s web site is a report that a member has been struck off their register. This is the first instance that I am aware of where the self-regulating body has taken the step of removing someone from their register regarding matters of their practice. (Yes, SoH has removed people before and you can see a report on the same page, but this looks as if [read more…]

Homeopaths: Do You Really Want Statutory Regulation?

29th July, 2009 11

This is an open letter to all homeopaths in the UK. It has been a bit of a surprise to me to learn that the Society of Homeopaths is wanting to lobby the Health Professions Council to include homeopathy within its regulation remit. As such, you will receive protected title (only registered homeopaths will be able to call themselves that) and be held against a code of standards and ethics. [read more…]

Fraud In Chinese Medicine

7th April, 2009 27

Chinese Herbal Medicine could be seen as the acceptable side of alternative medicine. It does not suffer from the utter implausibility of homeopathy, nor does it appear to rely on supernatural mechanisms such as with Reiki. Indeed, herbal medicine appears to be nothing but a primitive form of pharmacology with the practitioner diagnosing disease and then prescribing the right chemicals: the Chinese method is through herbs; the ‘western’ method through [read more…]

Fun with the Code of Ethics

22nd May, 2008 6

The Society of Homeopaths have recently had their 30th Anniversary Annual General Meeting and Conference at Leicester University. Lots of pop and cake were undoubtedly consumed. Various guest speakers were there talking nonsense and various ‘breakout’ sessions allowed homeopaths to share their delusional experience with each other. One session will be on “Perils and pitfalls in practice” given by Patricia Moroney the current Professional Conduct Officer. She says, There will [read more…]

How Life Healthcare Coped with the Terror of an ASA Investigation.

14th May, 2008 32

The Advertising Standards Authority is one of the few regulatory bodies in the UK regularly prepared to tackle the untruthful and unsubstantiated claims made routinely in the alternative health industry. It is also one of the weakest regulatory bodies in the UK. Nothing could highlight that more than how Life Healthcare (trading under the url http://www.reverseageing.com/) dealt with an investigation. Life Healthcare had made an advertising leaflet for a product [read more…]

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