Thursday, 30 July 2009

Chiropractors reap the internet whirlwind

The ever-excellent Ben Goldacre has an article in the Guardian on the response from the internet (and scientific bloggers in particular) to the on-going case in which the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) is suing the writer Simon Singh for suggested that some of the treatments of serious illnesses such as colic are "bogus". The word "bogus" is the key here as the infamous Mr Justice Eady (he of libel-tourism and many other dubious rulings fame) has ruled that the use of the word bogus implies deliberate dishonesty by the BCA and not, as Simon Singh claims, just that treatments are not based on any sensible evidence and therefore...well...bogus.

Anyway I digress (there is very good round up of the case so far here), the internet backlash has started as someone found out that there was an ASA ruling on this very subject that said such claims breached "truthfulness". Certain bloggers have then used this precedent to complain to local trading standards around the country and to the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) who regulate the trade about every local chiropractor who has a website containing these dodgy claims.

One amusing result of this is a panicky email (which can read in full here) from one chiropratice association, McTimoney, advising all their members to take down there websites ASAP and also to remove the use the the word "Doctor" from any literature or business cards unless it's made clear that they are not medical professionals as otherwise they may be liable to prosecution!

Ha ha! Right back at you! I just hope that Simon Singh goes on to win his court case and doesn't face massive costs.

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