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Furious backlash from Simon Singh libel case puts chiropractors on rope

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As the British Chiropractic Association's battle with Simon Singh continues to work its way through the legal system, chiropractors are counting the financial costs of a major backlash resulting from a libel action that has left the Lord Chief Justice "baffled". What was originally a dispute between the BCA and one science writer over free speech has become a brutally effective campaign to reform an entire industry.

A staggering one in four chiropractors in Britain are now under investigation for allegedly making misleading claims in advertisements, according to figures from the General Chiropractic Council.

The council, which is responsible for regulating the profession and has 2,400 chiropractors on its books, informs me that it has had to recruit six new members of staff to deal with a fifteenfold increase in complaints against its members – from 40 a year to 600. While it declined to comment directly on the costs inflicted by the reaction to the BCA's actions, it is clear that a six-figure sum will be involved for the extra staffing costs alone, to which will have to be added the considerable costs of any misconduct hearings.

The complaints all stem from a regulatory quirk exposed by blogger Alan Henness, who noticed that the council's rules demand that chiropractors do not make claims that conflict with past rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority. The advertising watchdog had previously criticised a number of chiropractors for making claims that their procedures can treat a variety of conditions, ranging from learning difficulties to arthritis.
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TAGGED: LAW, MEDICINE, SCIENCE


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