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Mar 13 2017

Good Thinking’s response to the Charity Commission’s CAM consultation

Earlier today, the Charity Commission announced a consultation regarding their approach to organisations promoting complementary and alternative medicines.

The consultation comes after lawyers acting on behalf of Good Thinking wrote to the Charity Commission in September 2016, challenging their refusal to revoke the charitable status of charities promoting homeopathy and other unproven or disproven modalities.

The announcement included an overview of the scope of the consultation, and solicited responses on an number of key questions regarding the registration of organisations designed to promote pseudoscience.

Michael Marshall, Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, said of the news:

We are pleased to see the Charity Commission making progress on their review of the charitable status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine organisations, which was promised as a result of serious concerns raised by our lawyers, Bindmans LLP, with the Commission last September. Too often we have seen little effective action to protect the public from charities whose very purpose is the promotion of potentially dangerous quackery.

This consultation is the first step in the right direction – however, the real progress will come when the Commission considers the clear evidence that Complementary and Alternative Medicine organisations currently afforded charitable status often offer alternative therapies that are completely ineffective or even potentially harm the public. We hope that this review leads to a policy to remove such misleading charities from the register.

Michael Marshall, Project Director, Good Thinking Society

This consultation represents an opportunity for organisations and members of the public to make their thoughts on CAM charities known to the Charity Commission. This is an opportunity supporters of pseudoscientific charities will almost certainly take up, so it is vital that supporters of science and evidence-based treatments get in touch with the Charity Commission in order to ensure our views are well represented.

Our initial challenge to the lawfulness of the Charity Commission’s CAM policy was only possible due to the support we receive from our supporters and the skeptical community. To support our work in the future, please visit goodthinkingsociety.org/donate to make a one-off or monthly donation.