British ASA Skeptics “Defame” Swiss Government Experts in Attempt to Squelch Homeopathy

The Swiss Health Technology Assessment (HTA) was founded in 1999 for the scientific evaluation of medical technologies on the basis of their effectiveness, appropriateness, and efficiency, as well as social and ethical aspects and implications. All government agencies, all University Institutes, several University Hospitals dealing with Technology Assessment and the Swiss Medical Association are members and give input on any therapy being considered. A number of years ago, the Swiss used precise scientific information and this input to come to the conclusion that homeopathy should be integrated into the Swiss National Health system and paid for under the Swiss government medical system. They generated an authoritative report that was remarkable in its rigorous thoroughness and scientific comprehensiveness.

The British Advertising Authority, (ASA) which is a private a company, in a process of evaluating advertising by homeopathic practitioners rejected this HTA report outright. The professors of medicine who wrote the Swiss government report on homeopathy have complained that the authors of the British Advertising Authority report either did not bother to read their report or “bizarrely” stated falsehoods about it. The professors claim they have been “defamed” and that the report is false and the report as well as subsequent handling of complaints by the ASA was thoroughly unprofessional and misleading.

The Swiss professors of medicine wrote to the British ASA:

“In conclusion, we state that your writing does not even begin to approach a professional standard. We take great exception to your untenable allegation that we researched this important subject with the superficiality that you suggest, an implication that we consider defamatory. You accuse us of basing our conclusions largely on a reworking of one deeply flawed paper, the Shang study. Yet this is the one paper on which you appear to have based your own conclusions, which are flatly contradicted by swathes of contrary evidence of which you revealingly make no mention. We find this bizarre.

It is customary that authors whose work is misrepresented should have the right of a reply to be published in the same location as the attack was published. We therefore demand that you please place our reply on your website, with equal prominence to your own text.”…

“Aside from a legal incumbency to present facts truthfully and to correct errors made, I hope we can agree as a question of basic morality that members of the public should not be subjected to false or misleading communications – including yours.”

The ASA representatives brushed off the complaints in a perfunctory manner and have refused to publish any of the positive Swiss government conclusions on homeopathy written by unbiased Swiss scientific experts.

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