50 B.C. chiropractors refuse to remove misleading claims from websites, face possible discipline

Fifty B.C. chiropractors have refused to remove misleading claims from their websites and Facebook pages and are now under investigation by their regulatory body.

In the two weeks since the deadline passed for practitioners in B.C. to take down false claims about using chiropractic to treat conditions ranging from autism to cancer, the College of Chiropractors of B.C. has used an electronic scanning program to identify about 250 possible violations of college policy.

The chiropractors responsible for those claims were all notified and asked to take down the offending materials, but 50 have yet to comply, according to the college's interim registrar, Richard Simpson. All of those chiropractors have been referred to the college's inquiry committee for investigation and possible disciplinary action.

"I am concerned that the pace at which we reach full compliance by B.C. chiropractors with the policy is not meeting the expectations of the public, the college and the vast majority of our registrants," Simpson wrote in an email.

He did not identify the chiropractors who are under investigation.

Call for public to file complaints

Last month, the college gave all chiropractors in this province a deadline of Nov. 1 to comply with an efficacy claims policy that forbids them from claiming to treat a wide range of conditions that are outside their legally mandated scope of practice.

Eleven conditions are named specifically in the policy, including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, infertility, infections, autism, ADHD and Down syndrome.

The chiropractors' college implemented a new policy on efficacy claims this year, singling out several conditions that chiropractors are not qualified to treat. (College of Chiropractors of B.C.)

Since the beginning of the month, about 97 per cent of B.C.'s more than 1,200 chiropractors have complied with the policy, according to Simpson. He said enforcement is a priority for the college, and staff will continue to monitor everyone's online activities.

"We treat any contravention of policy very seriously," Simpson said. "We also encourage the public to inform the college directly if they see any materials that contravene the policy, as our monitoring, while thorough, may on occasion miss items. Members of the public should be reassured that the college investigates all complaints thoroughly."

Unproven claims by B.C. chiropractors became a public issue this spring, when the college board's former vice-chair Avtar Jassal resigned from his position in response to complaints about a video he'd posted on Facebook claiming smoothies are more effective than the flu shot.

The college drafted its new efficacy claims over the summer, and it came into effect on Oct. 1.

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