The Charity Commission has been asked to remove charities promoting complementary and alternative medicine from its register, because their activities do not provide a public benefit, in responses to a consultation published today.
The Commission has sought comments on its approach to registering organisations that use or promote complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), following a challenge from a charity that promotes science, the Good Thinking Society.
The consultation, which closes tomorrow, has asked “what level and nature of evidence the Commission should accept to determine whether an organisation’s purposes are beneficial to the public or whether any potential harm may outweigh the benefits”.
The consultation has already had more than 300 responses, and has said it would publish a formal analysis within 12 weeks, as well as setting out its new policy by autumn of this year.
The Good Thinking Society said that when registering a CAM charity, the Charity Commission must seek evidence from “peer-reviewed journals and medical professionals, rather than from anecdote and media coverage”. It said the Commission was not routinely applying this guidance at present.
It said in its response that "where a charity is registered or seeks to be registered for the promotion of therapies that do not meet the standards of evidence identified by the Commission’s guidelines, those charities should not be granted charitable status or should have their status revoked".
A number of other health bodies and charities have put in responses making substantially similar suggestions.
The Commission has estimated that the number of charities that would potentially be affected would be in the “low hundreds”.