Science, Science and Tech

Dangers of Pseudoscience

Scientific experts are spearheading a campaign to persuade several major retailers to remove the alternative health magazine What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You from their shelves after a series of articles were published promoting non evidence based treatments for diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

pseudoscience

The publication, which began as a newsletter in 1989, was launched last year as a monthly magazine urging readers to “take control of your own health”, however several doctors and scientists have claimed the title contains misleading and potentially dangerous health advice. In particular, the headline ‘Mega-cure for the incurables: Vitamin C fights it all, from measles to AIDS’ has attracted criticism. Lisa Power, Policy Director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The claims made by this magazine about vitamin C are quackery. You can eat as many oranges as you like, but – if you have HIV – nothing will manage the virus other than your prescribed medication. We are shocked that major retailers continue to stock a magazine that carries such dangerous advice, and would urge them to have a serious rethink.”

In addition to these articles, the magazine is also under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a series of adverts within the magazine were seen to breach the agencys CAP code with regards to inaccurate and misleading claims. The Nightingale Collaboration, which aims to challenge misleading claims in healthcare advertising, submitted complaints regarding 26 adverts from the September and October 2012 issues alone.

Editor Lynne McTaggart has insisted her magazine aims only to give consumers ‘’the other side of the story’’. In an email sent out to subscribers, What Doctors Don’t Tell You attacked The Times newspaper for their coverage of the story, denied making any claims of cures, and condemned the mainstream media and scientific organizations for attempting ‘’censorship of information’’. In a Facebook response to Tom Whipple, the journalist responsible for the Times article, the magazine accused its critics of aligning with pharmaceutical companies in an attempt to ‘’kill a publication critical of that industry’’.

Tesco customer services have responded to complaints by refusing to comment on the contents of the magazine. However, Waitrose have now withdrawn the title from sale due to “customer feedback”.

22/10/2013

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