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ANH Responds to media slamming alternative medicine

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From our UK-based affiliate, Alliance for Natural Health

A leading Harley Street physician, also President of the British Society for Ecological Medicine and Medical Director of the Alliance for Natural Health, claims that Professor Ernst, the UK’s first professor of complementary medicine, is unscientific in his approach.
Dr Damien Downing, responding to a flood of media last week in advance of a new book by Professor Ernst, which slams the vast majority of complementary medicine modalities, said, “Professor Ernst must know how bad, how unscientific, is much of the literature on which he relies. After all he wrote some of it. He should speak out against the deliberate bias in many studies – but that might not boost sales of his new book.”
Last week, Professor Edzard Ernst, the UK’s first professor of Complementary Medicine, received widespread publicity for his forthcoming book ‘Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial’. The book is co-authored with Simon Singh, described as a ‘leading scientist and documentary maker.’ The Daily Mail wrote on 8 April, “They have produced a definitive – if controversial – guide to what works, and what doesn’t. It makes indispensable, if sometimes alarming, reading.”

In the same week, Professor Ernst published a Guest Editorial in the mainstream medical journal, BMJ Clinical Evidence. In it, Ernst says that ‘patients are being continuously and seriously misled by both sides of the debate on complementary medicine’. In his editorial, he claims that skeptics often ignore the evidence for complementary medicine and despite thousands of clinical trials and hundreds of systematic reviews, mainstream journals rarely publish positive findings, giving the impression that little serious research is being done in this field, or that the findings show complementary medicine to be useless or even dangerous. Ernst concludes that patients are the real losers in this controversy.

The Alliance for Natural Health has released today an article by Dr. Downing on its website, at, which exposes some of the poor science relied upon by Professor Ernst.
Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive and Scientific Director of the Alliance for Natural Health, said, “Evidence-based medicine was always meant to include clinical experience and the patient’s view; Ernst has no current experience of either. He bases his arguments entirely on the so-called scientific literature, which he says himself is biased.”

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