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Response

Stephen Barrett

March 24, 2003

I thought your article was very good except for the end where you objected to alleged objections made by skeptics about the inclusion of Drs. Fishman and Folkman on the panel. I am not aware of anyone calling for their removal. Our call is for better balance. As far as I know, I am the only person who has publicly discussed what should be done.

I wrote the most detailed analysis of the panel. I pointed out that there is good reason to be concerned about their inclusions on the panel because they do not balance the “CAM” proponents. IOM claimed it was aiming for balance. Fishman and Folkman seem reasonable but are (at best) politically naive. I pointed this out when I protested the panel composition and made very detailed recommendations in a separate letter.

With respect to Fishman, I stated: Despite my concerns, I believe that Fishman’s experience in developing university-based programs makes him an appropriate IOM committee member provided that the committee is balanced by people who understand the quackery and deception that are rampant the “CAM” marketplace. At present, there does not seem to be a single committee member who fits this description.

Folkman is much more deeply involved (or more deeply naive).

You might want to consider linking to my report.

But if you do, please make it clear that your comment about critics does not apply to what I did.

Better yet, modify your article because it really misrepresents what took place.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Board Chairman, Quackwatch, Inc.
NCAHF Vice President and Director of Internet Operations
P.O. Box 1747, Allentown, PA 18105

Telephone: (610) 437-1795

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Stephen Barrett

Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist, operates Quackwatch.org, dedicated to debunking dubious health information on the Web and elsewhere. He is also Vice President of the National Council Against Health Fraud, and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.