A few weeks ago Australian Skeptics was informed that a complaint was lodged against us with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission by chiropractor Joseph Ierano. On Friday, the 23rd of October, we received a letter from the HCCC stating that it has dismissed the complaint. The Commission has determined that we are not a “health services provider” as defined in the legislation and therefore do not fall under the jurisdiction of the complaints procedure.
You may be surprised to know that in one sense we are disappointed. While we appreciate the Commission’s heavy workload, we had hoped for the HCCC to investigate any merits of Ierano’s claims about chiropractic generally, rather than to dismiss it on what is primarily a technicality. In fact, we have been collecting information that may lead to future action against Ierano and other chiropractors for providing and promoting unproven health services. In the specific case of Joseph Ierano for example, he is making the following claim, among other, on his website:
3. What can chiropractic cure?
There is virtually no evidence of disease cure. Data suggests that chiropractic helps the body in many ways, though. If you want a condition based appraisal of what my patients see me for, click here. More and more, however, we can find papers and research on back and neck pain, head ache, childhood problems like asthma and colic, and chronic disease sufferers like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsons Disease.
Ierano starts with the admirably accurate claim that there is no evidence for disease cure, but then goes on to claim that there are papers on the treatment of many conditions using chiropractic, though he does not say whether those papers show positive results. This raises the suspicion that he is trying to create the impression of positive results, without actually saying that such results exist (which could get him into trouble if not true).
As Ierano noted and as also mentioned in our letter of response to him, there is virtually no evidence for efficacy of chiropractic for anything other than some marginal relief of back pain. There is also no evidence that subluxations exist (except when chiropractors change the meaning of the word), which leaves the practice of chiropractic on very shaky grounds.
If Ierano or other chiropractors want to provide good quality evidence for chiropractic that has not already been dealt with and thoroughly debunked by the likes of Professor Edzard Ernst, we are confident the scientific world would be interested. Until they do, they should refrain from making claims unsupported by evidence or complaining when the risks and lack of evidence for efficacy are highlighted.