Monday, 9 May 2011

Dr Michael Curtin the Homeopathic Doctor

I have seen the future, and it looks like

Michael Curtin is a doctor - a real doctor - with a profitable sideline in useless sugar pills.

His website is a fascinating read, because it offers us a glimpse of what all quack websites will look like a year from now. On the efficacy of homeopathy, Michael only dares to suggest

"As a doctor, Michael believes that homeopathy cannot replace conventional medicine, but that it can work alongside it in an integrated manner"

Writing of what his customers can expect, he whimpers:

"Homeopathy has been used over the last 200 years in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of specific conditions. However, it is best viewed as a holistic therapy, treating the person as a whole. Many people experience an increased sense of wellbeing [sic] after homeopathic treatment."

No-one could argue with such a bland claim. Talking to a friendly, reassuring doctor makes everyone feel a little better.

Of course, no true homeopath can restrain himself entirely - it's probably something to do with all that sugar they consume.

I'd like to know whether Doctor Curtin can prove that his placebo therapy can cause a "significant improvement" in his patients' "physical" health.

ASA complaint follows!

"The website makes two health claims which I worry may be misleading.

1. ( )

"The Constitutional Remedy... This refers to the medicine that best fits your constitution as a whole. In order to chose the correct remedy, a detailed medical history is taken at the first appointment. After taking their Constitutional Medicine, patients often notice a significant improvement in their health on a physical, mental and emotional level."

I'd like to challenge whether the advertiser can substantiate his claim that his patients "often notice a significant improvement in their health on a physical... level" as a result of his homeopathy treatment.

2. ( )

"Homeopathy is a natural system of medicine"

I think that, in this specific context, the claim that "Homeopathy is a natural system of medicine" is misleading.

Dr Curtin is a GMC-registered doctor, a fact which is obvious to anyone reading his website. I worry that his description of homeopathy as a "system of medicine" may mislead ordinary consumers, who would probably expect a doctor to use the word "medicine" only for conventional, evidence-based treatments.

In contrast, Dr Curtin uses "alternative medicine" elsewhere on his site. This term is commonly understood to refer to non-conventional treatments and therapies, and would not be likely to mislead anyone.

I've made some screenshots of the relevant pages, which are available at:

I can confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser or with the alternative medicine industry in general."

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