Chiropractors treatment claims misleading - report


There are calls this morning for chiropractors who make misleading claims about what they can treat to be barred from practising.

And data collected by the Society for Science-Based Healthcare (SSBH) suggests this could be more than half of all chiropractors practising in New Zealand.

According to a letter published in today's New Zealand Medical Journal, more than half of Kiwi chiropractors with websites make claims they can treat ailments such as allergies, ADHD, asthma, digestive problems, autism spectrum disorders, bed wetting, colic and ear infections.

There is no scientific evidence chiropractic treatment has any effect on any of these conditions, according to the SSBH, which has had a number of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority upheld in the past.

"Although the rules are in place to protect patients from these misleading claims, our findings make it clear that they have not been adequately enforced," says Mark Hanna, SSBH chair.

"Everyone has a right to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Making misleading claims about what chiropractic manipulation can treat undermines that right."

The data was presented in a letter published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today.

Earlier this month, chiropractors in Australia were told by their equivalent board that such claims, particularly in regards to treating children, were "unacceptable".

It also warned members not to attempt chiropractic treatment on unborn children or discourage patients from getting vaccinations.

The SSBH wants the New Zealand Chiropractic Board (NZCB) to issue a similar statement, and punish transgressions "with sanctions, up to and including deregistration, for chiropractors who ignore the board's directions".

But the NZCB says it has already done this. After consultation with its members last year, the NZCB adopted and published its current advertising policy in December.

"The board has provisions in place to continue to monitor adherence to the policy and will follow up on breaches," says NZCB chair Kristin Grace.

"If a complaint is received, the board will review the complaint and if necessary, investigate further."