Sense About Science or censorship

Just been reading about the Advertising Standards Authority,which is funded by major advertisers including pharma. The ASA began policing the web and finding against websites of alternative practitioners and treatment ads. This has led to many shutting down. The ASA only acts after it receives a complaint.

This takes us to a pharma funded charity called Sense in Science run by a Simon Singh ,which provided seed capital for a pressure group called the Nightingale Collaboration ,with the sole aim of complaining about adverts from alternative practitioners. It created software called " shooting Fish in a Barrel" which enables its followers to automatically register a complaint about any alternative website to the ASA.

Such has been the pressure from these orbs. That have no legal powers that alternative therapists have created their own advertising certification service.

The mag where I read all this also fell foul of the ASA by saying doctors were the third major cause of death after heart disease and cancer .When challenged the mag provided the evidence : a major study published in the Jounal of the American Medical Association. In 2000. The ASA had to accept that but found the mag in breach of another code that bars any statement that perturbed the sacred trust between patients and doctors!

On that basis a lot on this site would fall foul if in the form of an advert!

Of course there are plenty of charlatans and snake oil sellers out there on the web but this shows how pharma is keen to knock all on the head good with the bad.

18 Replies

  • I have been reading What Doctors Don't Tell You ( since it started around 20 years ago. is that where you read the article?

    WDDTY is well worth subscribing to. They are absolutely scrupulous about only quoting proper scientific research, and their information is always proved right. Needless to say the pharmaceutical industry is doing all they can to get rid of them, including putting heavy pressure on retailers not to stock the paper version of the magazine.

    Also lovely radio programme (spoilt by pushy adverts and trailers but still worth listening to) about resistance to scientific breakthrough, including in medicine.

  • You are right,picked it up in Sainsburys as it was headlining B12 . Article on a Dr Chandy who has had good results treating depression and other illnesses with B12 injections and has now been banned by the orthodox from giving any B12 treatment!

    Not seen mentioned on this site is his support group on

  • Should have added that the mag I am reading does not always quote the research references which reduces its value.


    I think it is 4 billion spent by Big Pharma on TV advertising in the States annually. Also the several billion pay out in recent lawsuits pales into insignificance when you see the drug in question netted 40 million or was it billion ? Need to watch it again ! :-)

  • This is a good article on the ASA :

  • Very good.

  • I wasn't aware that the ASA was funded by advertisers. Are you sure that's true? I always thought it was a government agency. If it is true then that takes a lot of trust away from them, in my book. Also thanks for the name of What Doctors Don't Tell You. I'd never heard of that - going to look it up.


    The above link confirms what Zoe Harcombe wrote on the subject of the ASA and its funding.

  • The link doesn't seem to be working but I looked it up on Wikipedia and lo and behold - how right you are. Well hell's bell's is all I can say. Aren't they clever and crafty - looking like they are ever so impartial and formal? At the risk of sounding like I'm dragging out Godwin's Law, this is a bit like asking the Nazis to monitor Hitler's final solution! Thank you for taking the scales from my eyes.

    I have also just bought a trial subscription to What Doctor's Don't Tell You. I am just praying it won't be an alternative health zealots' frenzy, full of unscientific theories.

  • I've considered taking out a subscription to it as well, but my supplements and testing take all my available funds. :(

  • A hypo slip there ! No free subscription either. It's not cheap .

    Best looked at on the shelf before deciding to buy.

  • Thanks for the heads up - I fixed it. :) It took several readings for me to realise what I'd typed. :D

  • Easy done I find and predictive text is a nightmare.

  • Hi Treepie, they're doing 3 issues for a £1 currently, which is what I've signed up for. It's a direct debit arrangement, which is a nuisance, having to cancel it, but this is definitely a subject close to my heart so I'm making the effort this time. It'll be up to them to prove that they are worth the full subscription fee. Like Humanbean says, too many demands on our money, so we'll see how it goes. It's not cheap, being sick!

  • They rely on inertia leading to non cancellation- been guilty of inertia myself ,and with brain fog....

  • Absolutely. I have double brain fog, since I am medicated up the wazoo and back, so everything goes on the calendar. Just have to remember to read the bloody calendar!

  • Oh, I hear you, humanbean. I have taken out the trial subscription - 3 issues for a £1 - it will have to be REALLY worth its money for me to continue with it.

  • The ASA is a limited company set up by the advertising industry as a self regulator to hold the government off from setting up an independent regulatory body. It has a policy making sister company CAP ( Committee of Advertising Practice) through which a very high bar is set for proof and evidence of any claims made by manufacturers and practitioners . It's never found in favour of any alternative treatment or practitioner website or advertisement.

    Many assumed it has legal powers and have removed health claims from their websites and ads.

    All above from the magazine. You can subscribe by phoning : 01371 851 883

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