Neal’s Yard were nice enough to agree to feature on the Guardian’s Ethical Living Blog: to answer reader questions. Guardian readers donated thiee time in order to contribute plenty of interesting questions (the comments page on this story runs to five pages) on issues such as what level of evidence they demand before selling a product, the ethics of their previous policy of selling homoeopathic pills for malaria (now withdrawn), or the ethical problems involved in distributing non-evidence-based anti-vaccine information.
Sadly, though, Adam Vaughan of the Guardian was left to report that
Unfortunately, despite previous assurances that they would be participating in this blog post, I’ve now been told they ‘will not be taking part in the debate’.
So yes, as several people have pointed out, this has become something of ‘You Ask’, rather than a ‘You Ask, They Answer’. I’m still hoping NYR will reconsider.
Despite attempts to persuade Neal’s Yard to participate, that comments thread has now been closed.
This is a real shame: there are fascinating ethical issues around the marketing and selling of ‘complementary and alternative’ treatments, and it would have been great to have discussed this with Neal’s Yard. We were just putting together a question about their position on vaccinations, before we learnt that they were not going to respond.
Ever-optimistic, we will e-mail Neal’s Yard shortly: to invite them to address some of the questions raised on EthicalLiving here (in the comments, or a guest post). If there is anything else you would like to ask them, feel free to post the comment here – we will be sure to e-mail them a link to this thread.
I hope that they will respond. When selling healthcare products to the general public, I think there is both an ethical duty and a commercial imperative to engage with and explain things to your (potential) market. Of course, though, I can’t guarantee it.