Silencing Critics: Legal Chill

November 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm (Legal Chill) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A company called Rodial have threatened a doctor with a lawsuit after she raised doubts about a “boob job cream”. While Rodial’s lawyers letter states that Rodial would have provided information on “clinical assessment and product ingredients” on request, they failed to do so when contacted by Ben Goldacre. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Homeopathy Works – So Show Us The Money…”

February 18, 2009 at 5:48 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Homeopathy, Media) (, , , , , )

A quick post just to point to this comedy gold here on Pulse: “As our news story elsewhere on the site shows, an NHS trial has backed homeopathy”; and “treatments could even save the health service money, it found, after 81% of patients receiving the treatments on referral from their GP reported improvements in their physical health, and 79% in their mental health”. Brilliant. A customer satisfaction survey proves homeopathy works. It gets better:

“So on behalf of the Government come in Professor Edzard Ernst, one of the leading professors of complementary medicine – and a man with a professor’s name if ever there was one – who last year offered a £10,000 cash prize to anyone who can prove homeopathy actually works”

There’s a brilliant comment on the website from Prof David Colquhoun of Improbable Science. He begins: “This is one of the worst pieces of journalism I have ever read. The Daily Mail does better.” Go read the whole comment – it’s ace.

EDIT 09/06/2009

I’d just like to point out that Homeopathy Awareness Week is coming soon and there is a post here that may be of interest: Homeopathy Awareness Week. This year Homeopathy Awareness Week (14th to 24th June) will focus on hay fever. EDIT 13/06/2009: AP Gaylard has taken a look at the evidence relating to homeopathy for hayfever. Homeopathy Awareness Week and hay fever sorts the wheat from the chaff and tells us where the evidence leads:

Would I trust in homeopathy for hay fever?  Not on this evidence.  On the whole, I would say that there is enough trial data to say that the incredible dilutions peddled by many homeopaths don’t work, and why should they?  Perhaps some of the less dilute interventions might – but more work is needed.

So what does this make Homeopathic Awareness Week?  In my opinion, nothing more than a sales drive.

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AltMed Responses To Criticism – from Holford to Barnett

February 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Here, I have some examples of the, fairly limited, debate between sceptics and proponents of Alternative Medicine – and a couple of examples of how scientists generally respond to criticism. The most recent example of a supporter of Alternative Medicine (anti-vaccinationism, with a smidge of homeopathy) responding to criticism is Jeni Barnett. She referred on her blog to incandescently stupid comments she made about MMR during a radio broadcast on LBC, and the fuss that followed the broadcast. The comments section soon included critics explaining why Jeni was so dangerously wrong. Jeni’s response to the criticism? To remove the blog post and the comments. Thankfully, it’s been preserved and is available at The Quackometer website. Further discussion at Holford Watch. LBC’s response to the original criticisms? Legal chill tactics – a pretty disgusting way to tackle legitimate criticism. Other examples of legal chill (and other threats) come from nutritionists, chiropractors, homeopaths, herbalists, and an American Christian organisation. Read the rest of this entry »

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British Chiropractic Association: Afraid of Criticism

August 18, 2008 at 11:44 am (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic, Legal Chill, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

 Well I’m late to the party, but I’ve never been one to turn down an opportunity to highlight the cowardice of Alternative Medicine practitioners so frightened of legitimate criticism that they will run to the law to silence dissent – so here’s a bit more on Chiropractic legal threats. Sadly, Simon Singh is being sued. Holford Watch have a post up with links to coverage of the affair and some background to it (see also links to Frank Frizelle saga below), Dr* T has something on this: another back cracking quack attack and Gimpy has posted the full article and a separate commentary on the situation. Jack of Kent makes reference to the Derbyshire Rule and the right to freedom of expression in his commentary. Basically, Simon Singh wrote a piece for the Guardian that was critical of Chiropractic and the British Chiropractic Association have issued a writ through the High Court. This follows recent legal letters in New Zealand sent to Professor Frank Frizelle and the NZJM (also naming Professor David Colquhoun and Mr Andrew Gilbey). The Holford Watch piece on Frank Frizelle includes a fairly comprehensive list of legal threats from Alt Med types that should cover the ones I referred to in Legal Chill and Other Threats. I will also point to a couple of bits linked to from the NZJM response to Chiropractors, the brief piece Frank Frizelle wrote in 2005 titled Lawyers and Letters and a couple of webpages on publication ethics at icmje.org: Uniform Requirements and Sponsorship, Authorship and Accountability. As Frank Frizelle said to the Chiropractors’ Association in New Zealand, so I say to the British Chiropractors’ Association: Show us your evidence, not your legal muscle.

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More Legal Chill – from Spine Cracking Chiropractors

August 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm (Alternative Medicine, Chiropractic, Legal Chill, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Cool: badscience.net, holfordwatch.info and dcscience.net are all covering the latest woo legal chill. DC’s recent post Doctor Who? was an article he’d had published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Chiropractors naughtily using the appellation “Doctor”, there is a PDF of the NZMJ response here: classy, and I’ll quote one of my (and Holford Watch’s) favourite bits: “let’s hear your evidence not your legal muscle”. Something quite a few practitioners of Alternative Medicine should perhaps think about – legal chill and other threats.

This really is a tactic they deliberately use isn’t it? They can’t debate the evidence, so they bluster and threaten. Kudos to Professor Frizelle for an excellent response to yet more Altie bluster.

EDIT: more links – bone doctors, Norburyness, weak-minded, ignorant and superstitious.

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