Chiropractors must ensure their advertising is within the law
The Chiropractic Board of Australia, which regulates Australia’s 5,000 chiropractors, has today released a statement reinforcing that practitioners need to ensure their advertising complies with the requirements of the National Law, or they risk prosecution and disciplinary action. More at:
Statement on advertising
The Board is very concerned about any chiropractors with advertising (including websites) that may not meet the required standards despite repeated guidance being provided by the Board.
In order to provide further clarity to both practitioners and the public, the Board provides the following clear advice on advertising matters. More at:
My view: The Chiropractic Board’s “Statement on advertising” and “”Media release are welcome as far as they go.
However, there remain hundreds of chiropractor web sites that continue to make the claims identified in the “Statement” (and numerous other claims are made, equally lacking in evidence).
The last five years of “educative” communiques from the Board have had minimal impact on practitioners. While this “Statement” is more specific than those produced in the past, it still does not identify all the non-evidenced claims complained about (see consolidated list from only ten complaints attached).
In addition, unlike the U.K. General Chiropractic Council and Chiropractic Australia, the Australian Chiropractic Board (and the Chiropractic Association of Australia) has yet to state that,
“The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is an historical concept but it remains a theoretical model. It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease” (attached).
Claims made about the alleged value of routine chiropractic care for pregnant women, new-born, babies, children and numerous medical conditions are often based on this erroneous subluxation concept. In addition, they clearly increase the practitioner’s business and bank balance.
It’s my view that until such time as the Board and AHPRA penalise and publicise those practitioners for breaching s.133 of the National Law little will change.
Part 7, of the National Law is available to prosecute advertising offenders in the Magistrates Court (maximum penalties available for this statutory offence are $5 000 for an individual and $10 000 for a body corporate).
Part 8 of the National Law is available to sanction recalcitrant practitioners for repeated advertising offences. Penalties available under Part 8 include cautions, accepting undertakings, placing conditions of the practitioner’s registration or, for professional misconduct, referral to a tribunal with the power to impose additional penalties, including a fine of up to $30 000.
Another advantage of using Part 7 and 8 of the National Law is that Court and Tribunal Decisions about individual practitioners are published on the AHPRA web site.
I reiterate, until such time as timely and effective sanctions are employed by AHPRA and the Chiropractic Board, I doubt that significant change will occur.
For previous coverage click here.