This afternoon, we received a further letter from the NHS National Research Ethics Service about the pilot study which aims to compare the Lightning Process with specialist medical care for children with ME/CFS. It contains an apology to Mr Phil Parker for any embarrassment or difficulties caused by previous publication of inaccurate information about his business.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Dr Shepherd
Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of comparing the Lightning Process with specialist medical care for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) – pilot Randomised Controlled Trial
Further to my letter of 6 January 2011. I would advise you that following the publication of the South West 2 REC Minutes, Mr Phil Parker has contacted NRES to point out an error in the documentation. Whilst it is accepted that the Minutes are an accurate reflection of the discussions held, the consideration of one issue was not accurately presented to the REC for its consideration. The Minutes state that
“3. The Lightning Process (LP) is subject to trading standard and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) enquiries. Complaints that Mr Parker made unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness have been upheld by the ASA and this is in line with data from the ME society indicating it is effective (or ineffective) or harmful as other therapies. It was noted that the judgement of the ASA was made after the submission of the application to the ethics committee. And corrective action had been taken.”
Mr Parker has confirmed that the complaint that was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not concern him but rather an entity called “WithInspiration” with whom he has no financial, employment or other interest. It is a private business managed by a registered Lightning Process Practitioner and he had no ability to influence the day to day management or marketing of this business. The complaint made and subsequent adjudication was not related to Mr Parker and he has never been the subject of any complaint investigated by the ASA or by trading standards.
NRES has verified this information at http://www.asa.org.uk/Asa-Action/Adjudications/2010/6/Withinspiration/TF_ADJ_48612.aspx
NRES would wish to apologise to Mr Parker for any embarrassment or difficulties which may have been caused by this incorrect information. NRES is organising for the SW2 REC to formally process an addendum to their minutes to correct this inaccuracy.
If you have organised any publication of the minutes of the SW 2 REC meeting, NRES would be grateful if you could publish this information, together with the NRES apology, to reflect the correct position.
Head of Operations, England