The New Zealand Commission Report
A particularly significant study of chiropractic was conducted between 1978-1980 by the New Zealand Commission of Inquiry.
In its 377-page report to the House of Representatives, the Commission called its study "probably the most comprehensive and detailed independent examination of chiropractic ever undertaken in any country."
The Commission entered the inquiry with "the general impression ... shared by many in the community:
that chiropractic was an unscientific cult, not to be compared with orthodox medical or paramedical services."
By the end of the inquiry, the commission reported itself "irresistibly and with complete unanimity drawn to the conclusion that modern chiropractic is a soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area...:
Conclusions of the Commission's report, based on investigations in New Zealand, the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, stated:
The New Zealand Report – 1978
Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe.
Spinal manual therapy can be effective in relieving musculo-skeletal symptoms such as back pain, and other symptoms known to respond to such therapy, such as migraine.
Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy.
In the public interest and in the interests of patients, there must be no impediment to full professional cooperation between chiropractors and medical practitioners.
A look back in time sometimes reveals that organizations or individuals may have a special agenda. The following excerpts, quoted from the 1979 New Zealand Government investigation into chiropractic brings such issues to mind:
Commissioned by the New Zealand Government in 1978,
The New Zealand Report developed into the most comprehensive and
detailed independent examination, at that time, of chiropractic ever
in any country. The focus of the investigation was to consider whether
health and accident benefits should be made for chiropractic services.
When the Report was commissioned, it was believed it would take a month
or two at the most to resolve the issues, but it took nearly two years,
generating over 3600 pages of testimony under Oath from numerous witnesses
and thousands of pages documents submitted from organizations and private
parties from around the world.
The investigators also traveled to Canada,
the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in their quest for
information. The lengthy report was presented in September 1979, long
before the findings, favorable to chiropractic and manipulation, appeared
in the Rand Study, Meade studies, BMJ, Magna Report, ACHPR report on back
pain, and the subsequent numerous journal research studies.
In the United States, the Commission interviewed the
American Medical Association, American Chiropractic Association, Council
on Chiropractic Education, Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research,
Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and various individuals.
The New Zealand Report was printed in 1979, by the New
Zealand Government Printer. Most large research libraries either
have copies or can obtain copies for those interested in reading this
eye-opening investigation. Of interest, with regards to
Dr.Stephen Barrett is Chapter 21 of the
report, entitled "North
American Sources", which is quoted below in it's
Some of it can be traced to the now defunct Department of Investigation
of the American Medical Association, which seems to have had more than
a little to do with the publication and distribution of the book At
Your Own Risk.
We deal, in this chapter, with
the three primary sources of information on chiropractic, which were relied upon at various stages of the inquiry by those opposed to chiropractic. They are, first the United States Consumer Union; second, the Lehigh Valley Committee against Health Fraud, Inc.; and finally a book entitled At
Your Own Risk: The Case against Chiropractic, by Ralph Lee Smith."
There is one general comment we need to make.
It is clear that the official medical opposition to chiropractors in North
America has been clamorous and unrelenting. But as far as we are able to
judge it has been maintained principally by a relatively small number of
people, irrepressibly vocal. Much of the North America material strongly
opposed to chiropractic can be traced back to three sources.
THE UNITED STATES CONSUMER UNION
The United States Consumer Union is generally regarded
as a consumer organization of high prestige. In its periodical, Consumer
Reports, for September and October 1975, the Consumers Union published
a two-part report entitled "Chiropractors, Healers or Quacks?" The report
was based on a 6-month investigation by Mr Joseph R Botta, senior editor
of Consumer Reports who specialized in medical and environmental
The report was brought to our attention at an early
stage of our inquiry by the New Zealand Consumer Council. At that stage
we intimated that although the Consumers Union report was plainly useful
background material we doubted its probative value in relation to the
situation in New Zealand. In the first place the situations in New Zealand
and the United States were plainly different; and secondly, we had no way
of knowing what information Mr Botta had relied, and we had no way of testing
the reliability of the report on matters of fact. On the other hand the
report, dealing solely with the North American chiropractic scene, should
certainly be said to have some relevance in New Zealand because the majority
of chiropractors in practice here trained in the United States.
The report is worth reading as background material.
It comes out strongly against chiropractic on a variety of grounds, which
are conveniently summarized at the end under the heading
CU believes that chiropractic is a significant hazard to many patients.
Current licensing laws, in our opinion, lend an aura of legitimacy to
unscientific practices and serve to protect the chiropractor rather than the
public. In effect, those laws allow persons with limited qualifications to
practice medicine under another name. We believe
the public health would be better served if state and Federal governments used
their licensing powers and their power of the purse to restrict the
chiropractor's scope of practice more effectively. Specifically, we think
that licensing laws and Federal health insurance
programs should limit chiropractic treatment to appropriate musculoskeletal
complaints and ban all chiropractic use of X-rays and drugs, including
nutritional supplements for the purported treatment of disease. Above all, we
would urge that chiropractors be prohibited
from treating children; children do not have the freedom to reject
unscientific therapy that their parents may mistakenly turn into a crisis. If
you've been considering a chiropractor for the first time, we think you'd be
safer to reconsider. Even if you are dissatisfied
with your physician's treatment of a back problem, you can ask for a
consultation with another physician, such as an orthopedist or physiatrist.
Then, if manipulative treatment were indicated, it could be performed by that
specialist or by a physical therapist."
We have decided that we cannot
give the United States Consumers Union Report any weight as proof that
the New Zealand chiropractors practice "unscientifically" or, in general,
abuse their position, thus putting their patients at unnecessary risk.
Whatever the situation may have been in the United States in 1975, we are
concerned with the situation in New Zealand in 1979. In any event it
would be patently unfair to place any undue reliance on material emanating
from a consumer organization when we had no means of testing the soundness
of that material.
The Commission has another reason
for its reservation on the weight to be placed on the Consumers Union report.
That is because of evidence which was given before us by Dr Murray S. Katz,
a Canadian medical practitioner who was brought to New Zealand for the
Dr Katz told us that he had played some part in influencing
the emphasis of the CU report. In the course of orally presenting his
he volunteered this comment:
Consumers Union started off very much in favor of chiropractic. After hearing
what the AMA had to say about chiropractic, they were even more in favor of
chiropractic, considering they had a vested interest, but it was only after
Joe Butta came to Montreal and
discussed this issue over many hours and many telephone calls [with me]
that the Consumers Union in the United States completely reversed their stand
on the chiropractic issue and went exactly the other
Under cross-examination Dr Katz
enlarged on this:
"I can only relate secondhanded that when Joseph Butta began to look into
the whole issue of chiropractic he was initially favorably disposed. Stephen Barrett told
Joseph Butta that he should speak with me in Canada, and Joseph
Butta refused to call me up or come to see me. As it turned out later, the
reason for this was that Joe Butta
-this is secondhand, it is pure hearsay, but it is what happened -
felt that I was just another doctor, that I would just be saying what the
American Medical Association said, and I would not be helping.
However, Joe Butta did finally contact me, discuss the issue with me on
the phone for 15-20 minutes, and felt impressed enough to fly down from
Montreal, to spend some eight hours of discussions with me, and I think the
turning point was my presenting him with the
Pediatric hospital Report, which he had not seen before, and subsequently
we were in constant contact, and he has credited me with telling me so, and
with other people who have spoken to him, such as Don McKenzie, with having
completely reversed his position on chiropractic".
Q: To summarize, then - I don't wish to contain any your answers
in any way but you may feel at liberty to make them short - the position that
Dr Barrett was consulted by those who were doing
the article for Consumer?
A: That is right.
Q: You were also consulted by those who were doing the article by
Consumer, and you yourself managed to change the view of the principle
A: Yes. I don't know if I was the only one that did that, but I
can tell you that the heart of the pages of the article by Joe Butta strongly
resembled things that I have written. He is free to edit them or change
them as he likes, but someone who read Consumer Reports
asked me if I had written it
We should explain that the Dr Stephen
Barrett referred to by Dr Katz is, or was,
the chairman of the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, Inc.,
an organization operating out of the city of Allentown in Pennsylvania.
We will speak of Dr Barrett and our assessment of the value of his
to the debate on chiropractic in the next section.
If it is true that Dr Katz
was instrumental in convincing the author of the Consumers Union report
to "completely reverse his position on chiropractic", then we must record
that we are provided with further ground for placing little reliance on
the report. Our reasons for taking this view of the matter will
appear from our assessment of Dr Katz'z submissions and evidence in a later
THE LEHIGH VALLEY COMMITTEE AGAINST HEALTH FRAUD, INC.
[name since changed
to Quackwatch, Inc.]
The Lehigh Valley is a district not far from Philadelphia
in Pennsylvania. Allentown is a small city in the district. It is there
that the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, In. has its
In 1976 the committee published a book called The Health
On page 312 the composition of the committee is described:
"Currently, we have about 35 individual members whose interests, availability
and talents are quite varied. Some are seasoned political activists, both in
and out of the health field. Some are excellent writers and public
speakers....All share a deep sense of fair play and interest in our fellow
man. As time goes on, each of us carves out his or her own niche in our action network."
The chairman of the committee's board of directors is
Dr Stephen Barrett. He is a psychiatrist
and is described in The Health Robbers as "the
nation's most vigorous opponent against health quackery". He has for some
years been the moving spirit behind the committee, at least on the question of
We have considered material published over Barrett's
name. The chapter on chiropractic in The Health Robbers (entitled "The Spine
Salesmen") was written by him. It is plainly propaganda. What we have seen of the rest of his writings on chiropractic has the same tone. Nothing he has written on chiropractic that we have considered can be relied on as balanced.
Other material which we have
issued under the auspices of the Lehigh Valley Committee Against health
Fraud has features which in our opinion render it unreliable on matters
of fact. A good example is a package of material issued by the committee
concerning, among other things, experiences of the Federal Insurance Plan
with chiropractic, and in particular the experience of the National
of Letter Carriers. This package was sent by the Lehigh Valley Committee
to the Senate Finance Committee under cover of a letter dated 15 February
1972. The explanatory document (to which a number of exhibits was attached)
The radiologist who examined 300 sets of X-rays found most of them
to be of inferior quality and 'unfit for domestic purposes'....Even
chiropractic officials who reviewed these X-rays could not locate the
subluxations reported by the chiropractors who had submitted them. We
have italicized certain words in this passage so as
to draw special attention to them.
According to the photocopy of the radiologist's report
dated 1965, attached to the explanatory document as Exhibit E3, the
radiologist examined 200, not 300, sets of X-rays. He found a "large majority" of them
to be of "poor" quality and of "limited diagnostic value". According to
Exhibit E4, 20 sets of the X-rays (neither 300 nor 200 sets) were reviewed
by chiropractic officials who could not identify subluxations supposed
to be portrayed in them.
Exhibit E2 purports to be a report by the medical
consultant to the National Association of Letter Carriers on the same
incident. His report asserts that the radiologist had reviewed "over 300" sets of
X-rays and had "found only one subluxation" (the radiologists report says
nothing about finding only one subluxation); and that "over fifty percent"
were "totally unfit for any diagnostic purposes."
We do not feel it necessary to attempt to unscramble
this cavalier treatment of simple straightforward facts, obvious to anyone
who reads the documents. It is astonishing to find this patently unreliable
data from 1965 being recited to us in an attempt to prove in 1978 that
chiropractic X-rays, and their diagnoses from their X-rays, are inadequate
(see Dr P J Modde's evidence - Submission 126, pp 17,19).
It is clear that the enthusiasm
of the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud is greater than its
respect for accuracy, at least in regards to facts concerning chiropractic.
We are not prepared to place any reliance on material emanating from the
Lehigh Valley Committee.
"AT YOUR OWN RISK" (RALPH LEE SMITH)
We mention this book
to show that we have not overlooked it. Some reliance was placed
on it, and extracts from it, in the course of our inquiry. It
comes down heavily against chiropractic .
It cannot in the Commission's opinion be regarded
as a text on which any reliance can be placed. It was published in the
United States and Canada in 1969. It is a piece of special pleading. There
is no true attempt of objective appraisal of chiropractic. It emphasizes
The author does not appear
to have any particular qualifications except a desire to present chiropractic
in the worst possible light. The Department of Investigation of the
American Medical Association seems to have had something to do with
Smith's investigations; certainly the American Medical Association took
a considerable hand in disseminating the book once it was published. It
appears to have been published shortly before the United States Senate's
Finance Committee's investigation into whether chiropractic treatment should
be included in social welfare aid programs. The Senate Finance Committee
disregarded it and so do we.
**********end chapter 21************
Chapter 23- A NORTH AMERICAN MEDICAL PRACTITIONER
Chapter 23, untitled "A North American Medical Practitioner",
addresses the background, findings and testimony of Dr Stephen Barrett's
Dr Murray S. Katz. It is quoted below in its entirety:
Dr Murray Simon Katz was potentially
a very important witness from Canada. He was
called before us as an expert witness by the New Zealand Society of
That society and the Medical Association jointly paid his fares and expenses.
At the time he appeared before us he was chairman of the Committee of Health
Affairs of the Consumer' Association of Canada.
Dr Katz put in a lengthy written submission. He presented
it orally with the aid of projected slides. That, and his cross-examination,
occupied three full sitting days. His principle thesis, as far as we were
able to grasp it, was that chiropractors had clothed themselves with a
"unity" theory of disease, but when that theory was examined through the
impartial and unprejudiced eyes, such as those of an innocent child, the
clothing turned out merely to be a chiropractic delusion.
We should make it clear that
Dr Katz presented himself as a most influential international figure.
He is a pediatric practitioner in the city of Montreal. He set out details
of his career in a notarized (i.e.sworn) preface to his written submission.
As well as being a medical practitioner in active practice, Dr Katz is
also an occasional journalist. He has published articles in about 11 different
newspapers in North America and in Europe. His journalistic and
extra-curricular activities label him, in his won words, "as a concerned advocate of consumer
rights in many areas of consumer use of medical services". Using the third
person to describe himself, he goes on:
"Through numerous radio, TV, and news media reports, his opinions and advice
have been heard, seen, and read by millions. Partly in
recognition of this work, he was selected, in 1977, to be Chairman of the
Committee on Health Affairs of the Consumers' Association of
Canada. He continues in that capacity today."
It might be thought that with
that background Dr Katz would have been a witness whose submissions and
evidence would be entitled to the greatest respect. Indeed, according to
his statement he undertook a first hand study of chiropractic, involving
interviews with over 100 different chiropractors across Canada.
He attended lectures at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto,
and, by registering himself as a chiropractor, obtained access to information
relative "to the inner workings and philosophy of chiropractic organizations
in North America". In Dr Katz's own words:
"The information obtained from his past and presently continuing research
into the subject of chiropractic has been sought after by
numerous individuals and groups. His letter correspondence on the subject
is worldwide, and is in the hundreds. Over the past years he
has addressed numerous meetings of lay-organizations, consumer organizations,
hospital meetings, medical associations, physiotherapy associations, government commissions, and government civil
also asserted his services as a consultant were in demand by Canadian
Provincial Government Agencies. Again in his own words:
"In 1973 Dr Katz served as a consultant to
the Manitoba Health Services Commission on the subject of chiropractic.
In 1973-4 he served as a consultant to the Ontario Ministry of Health. He was
the principal researcher and author of the government report
Recommendations for Health Disciplines Act Regarding the Practice of
Manipulation Therapy. Dr Katz wishes to make it clear that
the report of the Ontario Ministry of Health is not an official representation
of the opinion and/or positions of the political leaders of that
province. He does believe however that it does represent the basic thinking
of the majority of civil servants concerned with this issue.
Civil servants, have to adapt to political reality if they want to keep
Dr Katz was insistent that the
stance he adapted on chiropractic was independent. He emphasized that
point again under cross-examination. In his notarized statement, from which all
the above quotations are taken, he said:
"In order to maintain his independence and his right to speak on behalf
of consumers, Dr Katz does all his work on a volunteer basis.
Beyond the cost of travel expenses he refuses to accept financial payments
for his time and expertise. He appears today before this
Commission on this same basis."
That was how Dr Katz described himself in the sworn preface
to his written submission. He reaffirmed it when he presented his submission
Dr Katz might therefore be thought
of as a persuasive speaker and writer and altogether an influential figure.
He so regards himself, and is no doubt regarded by some others.
That makes it necessary for the Commission to take what is perhaps an unusual
course. We must explain in some detail our reasons
for finding, as we do, that the submissions
and evidence given by Dr Katz were unreliable and entitled only to very
limited weight. The Commission did not expect to have to report
on the credibility of any overseas expert witness. In this case the Commission
has a clear responsibility to do so.
As we have said, we saw and
heard Dr Katz on the witness stand for 3 full sitting days. He was strongly
cross-examined by counsel for the Chiropractor's Association. It
was suggested during his re-examination that much of the cross-examination
amounted to an unwarranted personal attack on him. The
Commission does not agree. The cross-examination was directly relevant
to credibility and bias.
In spite of his assertions in
his evidence in chief and cross-examination that he adapted an independent
stance we were told at a late stage of his evidence that he was in the
process of suing chiropractic interests in Canada for damages of libel.
The Commission was later told at a public sitting by counsel for the New
Zealand Society of Physiotherapists that the defendant was in fact the
Canadian Chiropractic Association.
We do not know what was the alleged libel in respect
of which Dr Katz seeks damages in the Canadian courts, or how enthusiastically
he is pressing his claim, but it is clear because
he is a plaintiff in litigation of this kind it is impossible for us to
regard Dr Katz as an independent expert witness on the subject of
As a plaintiff suing chiropractors for damages he has a personal and financial
interest which is contrary to theirs. Plainly he could not be regarded
as presenting an independent viewpoint. That must affect the weight to
be given to his evidence. He said he was independent. He may well have
believed he was when he gave evidence before the Commission. But in fact
he was in no position to be independent.
Next, Dr Katz was very frank about how he came by
certain material and information regarding chiropractic.
It appears that he so strongly felt the need to investigate chiropractic
from the inside that he adapted a series of dishonest stratagems to enable
himself to do so. He gained entry to the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic
College by giving false information. He induced a friend in the United
States to supply him with a letter, which Dr Katz himself prepared, asserting
falsely, that Dr Katz (using another name) was a chiropractor living in
the United States and wanted to move to Canada.
Dr Katz also had himself registered as a chiropractor: He did so by asserting that he held the degree
of Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College. He had no such degree.
He had never been a student at Palmer College. His conduct was plainly
fraudulent. By these means and by using various pseudonyms, he was able to gain the
confidence of a number of chiropractors. He
freely conceded under cross-examination -and indeed he had no alternative
- that he had lied to the authorities of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, and to others, and that his
assertion that he held a degree of Doctor of Chiropractic was fraudulent.
At the time when he adapted
this policy of lies and fraud, which was deliberate and calculated, he
was registered as a medical practitioner. Dr Katz told us that the medical
authorities in Canada had never taken any disciplinary action against
It is not for the Commission to say whether disciplinary action is or is
not appropriate in such a case, but the Commission wishes to state that
it is disappointing to find that a practicing medical practitioner could
think it right to indulge in a deliberate course of lies and deceit of
that kind. Dr Katz told us of these matters without any appearance of shame.
Bearing in mind the high standard of ethical behavior
rightly demanded of its members by the medical profession throughout the British Commonwealth,
the Commission would not wish to appear to condone in any way Dr Katz's
conduct in this respect.
Dr Katz's cover was however, blown when he gave evidence
as an expert medical witness in a criminal prosecution against a chiropractor
on February 8, 1974 in a Montreal court. As we understood Dr Katz's evidence,
this was not a prosecution which had been initiated by the police. It was
a prosecution initiated by a group of private citizens concerned with consumer
affairs, of which Dr Katz was one. So much for Dr Katz's independence.
After that Dr Katz found understandable difficulty communicating with his
various chiropractic contacts. It is perhaps a measure of Dr Katz's
sensitivity and sense of reality that we understood him to express before us a feeling
of disappointment that chiropractors would not talk freely to him or listen
to speeches from him after that incident and after they knew the facts
The weight of the materials
and information acquired by Dr Katz, by the stratagems we have briefly
outlined above is not, of course affected by the manner in which they were
obtained. We think, however, that Dr Katz's interpretation of that material
and the information which he passed on to us orally must be
Next, as we have said, Dr Katz
held himself out to us as having acted as a consultant to various Canadian
Government agencies. He was cross-examined on these matters. In the
source of his cross-examination official correspondence relevant to these matter
was produced to us, and it was not suggested that the correspondence was
anything but genuine.
The first matter is Dr Katz's
assertion that he served as consultant to the Manitoba Health Services
Commission on the subject of chiropractic in 1973. In February 1974 the
executive director of the Manitoba Health Services Commission (Dr D. H.
Crofford) wrote to the Canadian Chiropractic Association a letter which
was produced to us in which it was categorically denied
that Dr Katz had ever been appointed, or ever had served, as a consultant
either to the Manitoba Government or the Manitoba Health Services
Commission. In fact he visited Manitoba on one occasion to talk to the commission about
On the question of Dr Katz's alleged consultancy
to the Ontario Ministry of Health, on February 25, 1974 the Canadian
Chiropractic Association wrote to the Minister of Health (at that time the Hon. Dr Richard
Potter). A copy of the letter was produced. The relevant parts of it
"It is with the gravest concern...that we received the information that
the chief antagonist of regulatory legislation in the Province of
Quebec has been retained as a consultant on such matters by the Government
of Ontario. Dr Murray Katz of Montreal, announced in a
Court of law in Montreal on February 8th that he is a consultant
to the governments of Manitoba and Ontario."
We have been in touch with the government of Manitoba and have been advised
that Dr Katz is not now, and has never been, a consultant to that Government.
We would like at this time to make the following
inquiries of your Ministry:
1. Has Dr Murray Katz been appointed a consultant to the
Government of Ontario or any of its ministries, branches or agencies?
2. If so, are any informational sessions planned, or have any
been held between Dr Katz and the officials of the Ministry?"
On March 4, 1974 the Minister of Health replied. The following letter was produced. The relevant portions
of it are as follows:
"In response to your specific questions:
1. Dr Katz has not been appointed a consultant to this Ministry
nor, to my knowledge, any branch of this Government.
2. Ministry people have talked with Dr Katz and will no doubt
have further discussions with him."
So the Ontario Ministry of Health plainly took the view
that Dr Katz was never its consultant.
Finally, there is Dr Katz's
assertion that he was the principal researcher and author of the Ontario
Government report (the italics are ours and the word "Government" is his) entitled
Recommendations for the Health Disciplines Act regarding the Practice
of Manipulation Therapy by Physiotherapists and Chiropractors. Dr Katz
represented this report as emanating from the Ontario Ministry of
Health. He produced a photocopy of the original as part of his submission. Its
title page bears the legend "Ontario Ministry of Health, June 1974". There
can be no doubt that we were intended to believe, from the title page of
the report, and Dr Katz's evidence, that the report was in fact an official
document emanating from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
On September 14, 1978 the Canadian Chiropractic Association
wrote again to the Ontario Minister of health. The letter, a copy of which
was produced to us stated:
"The Canadian Chiropractic Association has been requested to authenticate
before a commission inquiry, certain statements made by
Dr Murray Katz in a submission he will present shortly to the Royal
Commission of Inquiry in New Zealand."
The Canadian Chiropractic Association then set out
the passage from Dr Katz's notarized statement which we have quoted above,
attached a photocopy of the title page of the report as exhibited by Dr
Katz, mentioned the letter of March 4, 1974 in which the then Minister
of Health had confirmed that Dr Katz was not a consultant to the Ontario
ministry of health, and continued:
"Our Association appreciated receiving this information regarding Dr Katz.
He does however continue to make these statements. As this is before a royal
commission of inquiry, and as some of these statements
appear to be questionable, we would be grateful if you could respond to the
1. Has Dr Katz served as a consultant to, or been employed by the
Ministry of Health subsequent to March 4, 1974?
2. Is the referred report to an official report commissioned by
Ministry of Health?
3. If so, was Dr Katz the principal researcher and author on
behalf of the
Ontario Ministry of Health?
4. Were Ontario Ministry of Health officials involved in the
of this report?
The following is the Minister's
reply, which was produced to us, dated September 28, 1978:
"In response to your letter of September 14, 1978 regarding Dr Murray Katz,
I wish to re-affirm this Ministry's response of March 4th,
1974, in which the Honorable F. S. Miller, then Minister of Health, stated:
'Dr Katz has not been appointed consultant of this Ministry
nor, to my knowledge, any branch of this government.' Furthermore, Dr
Katz has not been appointed a consultant to this Ministry
subsequent to March 4th, 1974. I also wish to make clear that the referred to
report entitled 'Recommendations for the Health Disciplines Act regarding the
Practice of Manipulation Therapy by Physiotherapists and Chiropractors' was
written entirely by Dr Katz and sent to this Ministry as information.
The Ministry was not involved in either the researching of authoring of
So the report was not the ministry's report at all:
Dr Katz had written the whole thing himself, no doubt hoping the ministry
would adopt it.
Before us, Dr Katz sought to
explain that patent inconsistencies between what he had sworn to in his
notarized statement and his evidence in chief on the one hand, and the
official responses which were produced to us, portions of which we have
set out above. As we understood him, his explanation was that the official
responses were dictated by political expediency. We see no reason to make
such assumption. We think Dr Katz has become so
emotionally involved in his self-appointed role as a "concerned advocate of consumer rights" that
over a period of some years he has allowed his enthusiasm to override his
judgement, his sense of reality, and his sense of what is proper.
In his evidence in chief he was voluble, and we are satisfied that he found
it difficult to distinguish between the role of expert witness and that
of advocate. In cross-examination he tended to be
Having regard to the matters
we have specifically mentioned, and to Dr Katz's general demeanor as a
witness as we observed him during the three days of his submissions and
evidence, we are abundantly satisfied that it would be quite unsafe to
rely on his opinions, or on any of his evidence on matters of fact which
were not completely verified from an independent and reliable source.
At the same time we found a limited number of the
ideas which Dr Katz expressed valuable to us in throwing a new light on
some aspects of our inquiry, and in suggesting some matters which we should
take into account, which we might otherwise have overlooked. Dr Katz
told us that he believed he had been instrumental in influencing the view
of Mr Joseph R. Botta, who is the executive director of the United States
Consumers Union, and that the union's report on chiropractic (see chapter
21) contained in the September and October 1975 issues of its magazine
had been materially influenced by Dr Katz's views. We have already
expressed some doubt whether the United States Consumer's Union report
is entitled to any real weight in our inquiry, since it deals with the
United States situation which for a variety of reasons is different from
that of New Zealand. If Dr Katz did materially influence
the findings in that report, his evidence only adds to our doubt as to
the weights to be attached to the report.
**************end of chapter 23************
Thanks to Jay Perrin for his tireless efforts in typing out these materials!
Return to the QUACKWATCHERS
Return to COST-EFFECTIVENESS