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Scientists fear that libel ruling will inhibit debate

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 26 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2127
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1BMJ

    Leading academics, journalists, science writers, libel lawyers, and MPs have spoken out in support of the science broadcaster and writer Simon Singh—against whom the British Chiropractic Association has launched a libel action—at a public meeting hosted by the Index on Censorship on Monday 18 May.

    Writing in the Guardian on 19 April 2008 during chiropractic awareness week, Dr Singh made various claims about the treatments offered by chiropractors. The claims also appeared in a book he coauthored with Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial.

    In his article (which the Guardian has removed from its website) Dr Singh said that the British Chiropractic Association “claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.”

    The association, which represents between about 1300 …

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