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January 2020 (Vol. 11 Issue 4)

CAM groups face challenge to their charitable status
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

CAM groups face challenge to their charitable status image

Complementary and alternative health groups are facing a legal challenge to their charitable status following a campaign by Simon Singh and his own charity, the Good Thinking Society.

The UK's Charity Commission is running a consultation period—which closes on May 19th—and practitioners and their patients are invited to leave their comments.

Essentially, the commission is looking for any evidence from medical trials—and ideally published in leading medical journals—that can show the effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

To maintain a charitable status, an organisation must show that it is of benefit to the public, and so an alternative health charity, for instance, should demonstrate that the therapy in some way lessens symptoms.

Testimonials or anecdotal evidence of effectiveness are not enough to counter a legal challenge, the commission says.

Singh's own charity instructed lawyers to ask the commission to revoke the charitable status of groups that advocate homeopathy, but the brief has since been widened to include all alternative and complementary therapies.

Singh's lawyers threatened the commission with a judicial review if it didn't run a consultation.

To leave your comments with the commission, and especially links to evidence of CAM's effectiveness, go to:

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