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Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Issue 105, Spring/Summer 2017

The results of a HealthWatch survey of medical students about their experience of CAM in the curriculum have now been published in Focus on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, December 2013:

Ho, D., Chan, K., Bewley, S. and Bender, D. A. (2013), Evidence-based medicine and complementary and alternative medicine teaching in UK medical courses: a national survey of the student experience. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 18: 176–181. doi: 10.1111/fct.12059, available at

The pre-peer-reviewed version of this paper is available by clicking here.

There is an accompanying editorial:

Bender, D. A. (2013), What should medical students learn about complementary and alternative medicine?. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 18: 169–170. doi: 10.1111/fct.12056, available at

The pre-peer-reviewed version of this editorial is available by clicking here.

Leslie B Rose (1), Paul Posadzki (2) and Edzard Ernst (2).

1. Pharmavision Consulting Ltd, 11 Montague Road, West Harnham, Salisbury SP2 8NJ
2. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Veysey Building, Salmon Pool Lane, Exeter, EX2 4SG, UK Medico-Legal Journal 80:1 13-18 2012


The lay media, and especially the Internet, contain many misleading claims for health products which have previously been inadequately regulated by consumer law. This was an experimental interventional survey within a consumer health-care setting. Three health products were chosen on the basis of being widely available on the UK market and having no available evidence of effectiveness. Twelve volunteers submitted 39 complaints to Consumer Direct (UK portal for the regulator Trading Standards) regarding false health claims, and 36 complaints were followed up for a maximum of 4.8 months. The mean time from submission of complaints to Consumer Direct to acknowledgement by the relevant Trading Standards office was 13 days. There were no responses from Trading Standards for 22% of complaints. At the end of the study one supplier had amended their website following Trading Standards advice, but did not stop all health claims. Another stopped advertising their product on the Internet and the third continued the health claims unchanged. EU directive 2005/29/EC is largely ineffective in preventing misleading health claims for consumer products in the UK.

© Medico-Legal Society

The full text of this paper is available at

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