Media Release

1st December 2017

New acupuncture paper ‘deeply flawed’ – Acupuncture NZ A newly published paper titled “Acupuncture, ACC and the Medicines Act” by NZ Skeptics technology officer and Society for Science Based Healthcare member Daniel Ryan is full of inaccuracies, says Acupuncture NZ.

Acupuncture NZ media spokesperson Kate Roberts says that the paper written by Ryan, a software developer who has previously admitted he has no qualifications or experience in the fields of research, science or medicine, is deeply flawed.

“Mr Ryan is a serial complainer about acupuncture in New Zealand. As a professional organisation we have dealt many times with his complaints to us, the Advertising Standards Authority, ACC and others,” says Ms Roberts, who holds a Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is currently completing a PhD at the Otago School of Medicine.

Among the numerous points Acupuncture NZ disputes in Mr Ryan’s paper are:
• Claims that a WHO report on acupuncture has been withdrawn. We can find no evidence of this. Our understanding is that it’s simply now behind a paywall
• Ryan claims the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care and Care excellence does not recommend acupuncture for anything, which is categorically incorrect. See

At the heart of Ryan’s paper is disputing claims that various conditions can be cured by acupuncture. He correctly states that Section 58(1)(a) of the Medicines Act prohibits the publication of advertisements that

claim a treatment can prevent, mitigate or cure any of a list of serious conditions, such as infertility and cancer. The paper supposedly looked at claims being made by acupuncturists in NZ that they can treat these conditions.

However, merely naming a condition does not breach the terms of the Act and Ryan’s paper simply used a word search to identify when conditions were named - without investigating the context or therapeutic claims made.

“During his ‘research’ the author made contact with Acupuncture NZ and we were prepared to engage with him to ensure accuracy. However, when the author was asked to provide specific url details of alleged breaches in order for Acupuncture NZ to investigate, no response was received,” says Ms Roberts.

Acupuncture NZ has looked into each individual complaint made to it by Ryan and advised its members to make changes where it deemed they were in breach of the Act, says Ms Roberts.

“In conjunction with the Advertising Standards Authority we have developed comprehensive advertising guidelines for our members. Much of the data contained in his paper is neither up to date nor still relevant.

“The continual witch hunt of the NZ Skeptics is tiresome, often misinformed and misleading.”


For further information, please contact Kate Roberts, Acupuncture NZ media spokesperson: