Published: 06/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5904 Page 20

Dr David Haslam, HSJ's rev iewer of my book How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You (page18, 11 March), complains that whereas he has only written 'some 13 books' on health issues and has discovered that 'cautious honesty does not sell', I have written over 100.

Dr Haslam's claim about his books is presumably accurate, but his claim about me is not. If Dr Haslam's research for his books is as inaccurate as his research for this review, I am not surprised that he seems disappointed with his sales.

I also object strongly to the claim in the heading on the review that my books are 'hysterical scare-mongering' and the suggestion that the tone of my books is led by the view that 'cautious honesty doesn't sell as well'. I have always taken great care to ensure I write only what I firmly believe and can substantiate - and I have for several decades had to struggle hard to counter the dishonesty of the medical establishment. Some will, for example, remember my opposition to the medical establishment's bizarrely inaccurate claim that AIDS would infect us all by the end of the 20th century.

As Dr Haslam well knows (because there are details in How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You) my campaigns have forced changes in the way the profession behaves. For example, a previous government admitted that it forced doctors to change their prescribing habits because of one of my campaigns.

I am not surprised to see a member of the medical establishment complain about one of my books (I would be surprised if he approved of my attacks on the profession) but I am surprised to find such careless factual inaccuracy in a review in a reputable journal.

Dr Vernon Coleman Author How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You