“Dr” Harald Gaier practises from a rented room on London’s Harley Street.
As one of their editorial panel, he also writes regularly for the controversial and misleading magazine What Doctors Don’t Tell You, where he is described as “arguably the UK’s most knowledgeable practitioner of the major alternative medical disciplines”.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled today that Gaier must remove misleading and unsubstantiated claims from his website and must not imply that he is a medical doctor.
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the ad misleadingly implied that the advertiser was a medical doctor rather than a practitioner specialising in complementary and alternative medicine;
2. the claim “Scientifically proven medical alternative medicine, paired with orthodox diagnostic tests” was misleading and could be substantiated, because they did not believe that the treatments and diagnostic tests were either scientifically proven or orthodox; and
3. the claims for the efficacy of the three diagnostic tests described by the advertiser were misleading and could be substantiated.
Rather than simply updating his website, Gaier contested the complaint:
1. Dr Harald Gaier stated he had studied homoeopathic medicine in South Africa and was awarded the degree of “Doctor of Homoeopathic Medicine”. Furthermore, he commented that he was registered with the S.A. Allied Health Professions Council and was also awarded the honorific title “doctor” in Austria. Nevertheless, he stated that his website made it clear that he was not registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), but was however, on the General Osteopathic Council register.
2. & 3. Dr Harald Gaier stated that the Royal Society of Medicine initiated a series of conferences on medicine and complementary therapies. He commented that the South African model for co-existence between orthodox and natural medicine were discussed and recorded in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, published in 1988.
Dr Harald Gaier further stated that the tests he used were conducted at registered laboratories, which used validated test procedures.
At the time of writing, he has still not amended his website.
According to What Doctors Don’t Tell You, Gaier is registered as an osteopath, homeopath, acupuncturist, naturopath and medical herbalist and was on the Research Committee of the Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health as a naturopathic physician. They do not clarify that he is not registered with the GMC.
It would not surprise me if Gaier were to soon join ASA-the-TRUTH’s founder, “Dr” Alyssa Burns-Hill, on the ASA’s list of non-compliant advertisers.