Sceptics are making complaints

Nature News Complaints converge on chiropractors – June 15, 2009

At least two bloggers have taken credit for independently making hundreds of formal complaints against British chiropractors for false advertising. British chiropractors have drawn extra attention in the wake of a libel case brought by the British Chiropractic Association against science writer Simon Singh (The Great Beyond, 10 June 2009), and a related campaign to keep libel laws out of science.

The head of the Leicester branch of Skeptics in the Pub explained on his blog Adventures in Nonsense on Saturday how he automated a search for false claims on chiropractic websites, and filed complaints with local Trading Standards offices and with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). The activist has forced numerous companies to change the public claims they made about health remedies through similar steps in the past.

He told Nature that Saturday’s post came in response to a blog post on Zeno’s Blog, a blog about false medical claims, which announced an independent letter-writing campaign last week.

A self-identified ex-member of the GCC questions whether the council will take action on so many complaints at once, since members under investigation are exempt from paying the membership dues which fund the GCC’s activities, and because a committee member is targeted by the complaint.

The author of Zeno’s Blog told Nature: "I don’t necessarily expect it to be a smooth process, but, as a statutory body, I fully expect the GCC to follow through on all valid complaints."

The author of Adventures in Nonsense said that he had already written the to GCC to ask how they would handle this and other potential conflicts and was awaiting a response. He added that while he has long had an interest in false claims made by many different businesses, the Simon Singh case had "focused [skeptics’] energy on chiropractic."


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