“I was pushed to the edge by the Advertising Standards Authority and I know that I am not alone…” Alyssa Burns-Hill, PhD

It had to happen.  Alyssa Burns-Hill, PhD is the first UK practitioner to return fire in the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA’s) undeclared war on natural healthcare.  If you can help us send Alyssa’s new video viral, and if enough British citizens or residents sign her petition, the UK government will be forced to take notice.  Will you join us in pushing for change?

Call to action

  • Spread the word and help Alyssa’s video go viral!  The ASA is a media industry self-regulator that acts as if it were a government body.  Its methods are non-transparent, don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny and amount to bullying.  Alyssa’s video is essential viewing for those wanting to understand more about this UK regulator
  • UK citizens and residents: please sign the petition and send it to everyone you know.  As an official e-petition, the government is forced to consider a debate if it gains 100,000 signatures – so check out the signature count when you sign and help it fly pass the 100,000 mark!

Analysing Saliva Attacked

Alyssa Burns-Hill, PhD is a hormone health specialist and the author of Weight Loss Winners & Dieting Downfalls: Hormonally Speaking.  Her core diagnostic technique is salivary hormone testing, which has certain advantages over the more common plasma and serum tests.  It’s not a new test, and since both mainstream and natural healthcare practitioners alike have recognised the value of salivary hormone analysis, one would expect it to be uncontroversial.

But alas, no.  Triggered by a single complaint, a 21st November 2012 ruling by the ASA ordered Alyssa to remove from her website the claim that “these are advanced medical tests…which are able to identify hidden hormone imbalances”.

Alyssa Spills All on the ASA

Alyssa’s video, aptly entitled Alyssa Spills All, takes a surgical knife to what she calls “the seemingly arbitrary nature of [the ASA’s] so-called adjudications”.  In order to find against Alyssa on salivary testing, for example, the ASA relied on a single 2010 article by a non-medically trained journalist writing in the Wall Street Journal.  In it, the author reported: “Study author Michael Gröschl, a biologist at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany, says more work is needed before hormone profiles for aging will be reliable.” 

In ‘ASA-land’, such unsupported statements are more scientifically persuasive evidence than the peer-reviewed articles, published in reputable scientific journals, provided by Alyssa.  Genova Diagnostics Europe, the laboratory that makes the salivary hormone testing kits, is fully accredited in the UK by – among others – the National Health Service (NHS) inspector, the Care Quality Commission.  But the ASA seems to think it knows better.

A Shameful ‘Authority’

Alyssa’s experience only repeats what has become a depressingly familiar pattern ever since the ASA extended its remit to cover online advertising in November 2011. 

We think there are four main reasons why the ASA gets it so hopelessly and consistently wrong over natural healthcare:

  1. Perception: The ASA presents itself as a government body, but – as Alyssa points out – it’s actually a private limited company (Companies House number 00733214).  It has no legal powers of its own, and its relationship with UK Trading Standards – its legal ‘backstop’ – is new and untested
  2. Independence: While claiming to be “The UK’s independent regulator for advertising across all media”, the ASA does not make it clear either for whom it is responsible (until recently, just the media industry – natural health practitioners’ own websites are hardly advertisements in the accepted sense) and to whom it answers (in short, no-one)
  3. Transparency:  The ASA uses anonymous ‘experts’ to adjudicate on natural health matters; not even the person or company under investigation knows their identities and no dialogue with these ‘experts’ is possible.  A reliable ‘mole’ has told us one expert commonly used by the ASA to rule on affecting natural health advertising is the rabidly-anti-natural health pharmacologist, Prof David Colquhoun
  4. Competence: Due to their anonymity, there can be no guarantee that the ‘experts’ are competent in natural health-related matters.  

Join the resistance!

This ridiculous situation needs to change. But, as Alyssa explains in Alyssa Spills All, “The CEO [Chief Executive Officer] and Chairman of the Board are not interested in reviewing the procedures, despite being made fully aware [of their flaws]. Well, as they, say, “If you want a job done properly, do it yourself!”

Freedom4Health, another group campaigning for ASA reform, commented: "Brilliant!  This short video hits the nail on the head and explains clearly that the ASA is just a private organisation attempting to impose a restrictive regime on natural health practitioners.  Well done to Alyssa for putting this together." 

Alyssa’s video and the accompanying petition should act as a rallying cry for the natural health community to take a stand.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Spread the word and help Alyssa’s video go viral!  The ASA is a media industry self-regulator that acts as if it were a government body.  Its methods are non-transparent, don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny and amount to bullying.  Alyssa’s video is essential viewing for those wanting to understand more about this UK regulator
  • UK citizens and residents: please sign the petition and send it to everyone you know.  As an official e-petition, the government is forced to consider a debate if it gains 100,000 signatures – so check out the signature count when you sign and help it fly pass the 100,000 mark!

Key links

Alyssa Spills All video
Sign the petition
Read Rob Verkerk PhD’s article on the ASA for What Doctors Don’t Tell You magazine

 

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