Review of charities promoting complementary medicine

COMPLEMENTARY and alternative medicine (CAM) organisations that claim to treat or cure a disease or condition will need to provide appropriate scientific evidence in order to qualify for charitable status.

This is the conclusion of an in-depth review by The Charity Commission on its approach to assessing organisations which use or promote CAM therapies.

The review concluded that the underlying legal principles around charitable status and the promotion of CAM remain unchanged. However, as a result of the review, The Charity Commission is updating its approach which is reflected in new revised internal guidance.

CAM organisations applying to register as charities will need to provide evidence that matches the claims that they make in order to demonstrate "public benefit". Specifically, they must provide appropriate scientific evidence to support claims to treat or cure a disease or condition.

Organisations claiming to provide comfort and relief to patients may be able to rely on other types of evidence, such as reports by patients or observational studies based on patient responses.