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Setting the Record Straight

Letter to Time
April 26, 2001

Letters to the Editor
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1393

To the Editor:

The American public is being grossly misled by Dr. Stephen Barrett. While he positions himself as a protector of the public, his statements are, in reality, so one-sided that he simply cannot be taken seriously.

Many years ago when Dr. Barrett was a member of the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, the New Zealand Royal Commission stated that, "Nothing he has written…can be relied on as balanced." The commission further asserted that, "It is clear that the enthusiasm of the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud is greater than its respect for accuracy…We are not prepared to place any reliance on material emanating from the Leigh Valley Committee." Since that time, Dr. Barrett has become even more set in his narrow-minded ways.

Perhaps he would be more effective in assisting health care consumers if he would direct his attention away from lambasting many scientifically-proven alternative and complementary health care methods and toward alerting them about the dangers of the indiscriminate use of many traditional medical treatments. Dr. Barrett's own profession has recognized that more than 100,000 people die each year in hospitals from medical mistakes, and that approximately 100,000 more die annually from the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) strongly condemns any health care provider who touts fraudulent cures that endanger the public health or seriously misleads consumers. However, we also condemn intentionally steering unwitting health care consumers away from proven, effective alternative and complementary health care methods - for no other reason than that they are outside of Dr. Barrett's "old school" comfort zone.

No health care profession has all the answers, but by working together, we can provide patients with the best care possible - whether it is traditional, alternative, or a combination of both.


James A. Mertz, DC, DACBR
American Chiropractic Association