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Monday, 2 September 2019

ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY. A public company masquerading as an 'authority, working for its advertisers, and so attacking natural medicine

When you write a blog that contains positive and accurate information about homeopathy, and health generally, you can expect to be attacked by homeopathy denialists. It's part of the territory! You can see in these two previous blogs what they have to say for themselves, and the quality of their arguments.

Some of my detractors use my confrontation with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to attack me, so it might be useful to outline what happened - not to defend myself, that's unnecessary, but to demonstrate how homeopathy deniers work in order to support the conventional medical establishment, and to undermine homeopathy, and other natural therapies.
  1.  One skeptic made a complaint about my homeopathy website. The complaint concerned my comments about the homeopathic treatment of arthritis, complaining that what I had written was not justified, and was not supported by medical science.
  2. I was not the only one to be attacked in this way. Many other homeopaths became the subject of a single complainant, making a similarly facile complaint. It was clearly an organised and co-ordinated attack on homeopathy by militant skeptics who support the pharmaceutical industry.
  3. Other natural therapies were also targeted, not least Chiropractors, another medical therapy particularly hated by skeptics.
  4. I looked carefully at the wording on my webpage, and the various pieces of medical research that supported the treatment of arthritis with homeopathy were there. There is considerable scientific evidence for the medical treatment of arthritis which can be found here.
  5. I decided that the complaint was unjustified, and asked my registration organisation, the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths, to support me. This was readily agreed, not least because by this time there were already several other homeopaths facing similar complaints, and it was clear that this was an organised 'anti-homeopathy' campaign. After some discussion I agreed that the complaint against me should be used as a 'test' case.
  6. It soon became clear that ASA were not open to reasonable or rational discussion. They did not agree that the evidence I had provided was evidence. They had been told by medical experts that there was no such evidence for homeopathy. These experts were, of course, conventional medical 'experts'! Conventional medicine routinely states that 'there is no evidence to support homeopathy', it is one of their mantras. And it became clear that it was a mantra that ASA had been persuaded to adopt, rigidly.
  7. Nor would ASA accept that I had treated many patients who had suffered with arthritis, with great success. Some of these patients would have willingly told ASA this, but they insisted that cured patients were also not considered to be proper 'evidence'!
  8. Meetings were arranged between ASA and the two main homeopathic registration bodies, the ARH, and the Society of Homeopaths. They found that ASA were absoultely immovable. They had been told that there was no evidence to support homeopathic treatment, so all claims for its effectiveness had to be removed from all adverts.
  9. This is something that the homeopathic community would not, could not, and will not accept, not least because making sick people better is what homeopaths do for a living, every day of the week.
  10. ASA is a private company, which earns money from its advertisers. The biggest advertisers are the pharmaceutical industry, and related industries, so no doubt the dominant source of ASA's income.
  11. So the homeopathic community had to make a decision. We either had to insist that we were going to continue advertising, honestly and accurately, about the value and benefitis of homeopathic treatment. Or we had to cave in to ASA's myopic and inaccurate view of homeopathy.
  12. The ARH decided that it was not going to cave in, although we would check to our own satisfaction that adverts conformed with our well established advertising guidelines. Facing up to ASA was to be a personal decision by each individual homeopath, but any homeopath who decided to stand firm against them would be fully supported in doing so.
  13. There was no way that I was not going to agree to what ASA required, which was basically to agree that homeopathy did not work. I likened the situation to a Ford dealer being told by ASA that they were unable to advertise their cars unless a Toyota dealer agreed with the advert! It was clearly nonsense - unacceptable nonsense.
  14. So ASA made a formal adjudication again me, something that I proudly acknowledge. Even now, whenever I attend a homeopathic conference, homeopaths will congratulate me on my stance, so I still wear ASA's adjudication as a badge of pride!
  15. What difference did the adjudication make? None whatsoever, as far as I could judge. Many of my patients knew about it, and they recognised the adjudication for what it was - the machinations of a pharmaceutical industry in which they had no trust or confidence it. So I know that the 'authority' of ASA has been damaged, far more than my reputation!
  16. Moreover, I hold ASA in complete and utter contempt for allowing themselves to becomes the creature of the dishonest and corrupt pharmaceutical industry.