The GCC’s circular argument ..

Posted on March 2, 2010


Following yesterdays email from the GCC and its latest guidance on advertising issued to its members, I contacted them again asking why they have not taken a more proactive approach to policing the claims made by some chiropractors who continue to advertise that chiropractic spinal manipulation is beneficial in the treatment of conditions such as colic and asthma.

Here’s what they had to say:

Thank you for your comments.  The report that we have drawn to the attention of the profession contains clear statements as to what strength of research supports public claims, and what doesn’t.

It seemed to me that although the GCC have made the results of its evidence review public and informed its members, they are happy to let the individual chiropractors interpret the finding for themselves, rather than issue some clear regulatory advice.

Of course statements like ‘not effective‘ have a clear meaning (IT DOESN’T WORK), however terms such as ‘inconclusive’ (for Otitis, Enuresis etc) are left open to interpretation.

They then continued by saying:

I hope you will appreciate that the Council must be careful not to prejudice the consideration by the statutory Investigating Committee of a significant number of current complaints about the content of chiropractors’ websites.

They’re worried about prejudicing the outcome of investigations into existing complaints, yet they seem to forget that the majority of these complaints are about conditions such as infantile colic & asthma.  Conditions that their own report clearly states are not helped by chiropractic manipulations.   So to avoid any impact on these investigations, they take no direct action to remove the remaining claims for these conditions, leaving these claims open to a new round of complaints!

The GCC seem to be stuck in a circular argument:

Of course there is an easy way for the GCC to get out of this loop ….. Come down off the fence and enforce the results of your own evidence review!

One part of my email that they failed to answer  was for their advice on what would be the best course of action to take for those chiropractic sites that fail to make any changes (after an appropriate period of time to make changes).  I asked them if the best course of action would be:

a: Contact the chiropractor directly.

b: Submit a complaint to the GCC and let them deal with it.

c: Submit a complaint to Trading Standards.

To be honest I’m not at all surprised that they didn’t give an answer, in fact I’d have been amazed if they had.

But that doesn’t get away from the fact that there are still chiropractors out there making claims and the GCC are pretty much leaving it up to their member to decide to remove or leave those claims in place.  I have a list of a few sites still making those claims and also a few old Trading Standards complaints that should be worth revisiting.  I think I’ll start by contacting the chiropractors directly, point out the conclusions of the review and ask them to remove the claims.

Then we’ll just take if from there …………… If nothing else their responses should be amusing!

Posted in: Chiropractic