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A smokescreen and a farce

Professor Edzard Ernst looks at the move to open an alternative medicine college by the former heads of the Prince of Wales' holistic health charity.

The Guardian reported on Monday this week that almost the identical set of individuals who were responsible for the Prince of Wales' Foundation for Integrated Health are about to set up the 'College of Medicine'.

You remember, of course, that the Foundation closed earlier this year because Scotland Yard was investigating allegations of financial irregularities and money laundering (although these allegations were not linked with any of the people involved in setting up the new college).

The full and utterly amazing story of what we know so far about the new College was told by Professor David Colquhoun on his blog.

The Guardian also quotes me but in abbreviated form. Here is the full quote that I provided: 'I fear that the College of Medicine will amount to little more than a smokescreen and a farce.

'One only has to look at the type of courses that are being planned to realize that it is about popularising disproven and unproven treatments within UK healthcare.

'Patients deserve the most effective therapies rather than those which Prince Charles happens to fancy. Quackery will make medicine not better but worse. My prediction is that, given enough time, the new college will discredit itself much like its predecessor organisation did so very thoroughly.'

But with the backing from Prince Charles, anything seems to be possible - even the promotion of outright quackery.

Professor Edzard Ernst is professor of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School

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