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Paul Bennett, professional standards director and superintendent pharmacist at Boots, is questioned by the House of Commons science and technology committee about whether homeopathic remedies work. BBC News (22nd February 2010)
“Following an announcement from the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, we at the Merseyside Skeptics Society ‘10:23 Campaign‘ would like to offer our full and unequivocal support to the new draft guidelines, which would require pharmacies to explicitly inform patients that homeopathic products simply do not work. In the light of this proposal, we urge the the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to follow suit and issue similar guidelines for its members…Until pharmacies realise that they must prioritise patient care over profit by providing only scientifically proven treatments, it is up to individual pharmacists to ensure that patients are given the information they need about homeopathy at the point of sale.” Merseyside Skeptics (23rd April 2010)
Training for junior doctors at NHS Scotland’s only homeopathic hospital, the Glasgow Homoepathic Hospital (also known as the ‘Centre for Integrative Care’) has been axed just days after homeopathy was condemned as “witchcraft” by young medics. The Herald (24th May 2010)
An undercover visit to the conference revealed the highly dubious input of its speakers. They included Jayney Goddard, Lionel Milgrom, Alex Tournier, Kate Chatfield, Steven Cartwright, Oliver Dowding, Clare Relton, and Dr Rob Verkerk. Skepticat blogspot (18th April 2010)
"The death of a small child is a tragedy. The death of a small child from parental neglect is a double tragedy. Gloria Thomas died from eczema, but she could have lived a long and normal life if her parents hadn't believed more in homeopathy than evidence based medicine." (9th April 2010) [3:47 mins video]
"Homeopathy, grounded in the belief that water has a memory, just doesn't work. Rational skeptics anger and inflame proponents of homeopathic because we demand evidence of effectiveness. Evidence, according to a concordance of studies, that just doesn't exist." (9th April 2010) [8:52 mins video]
“…what is wrong with giving placebos to patients as long as they help? The answer, I'm afraid, is a lot. This strategy would mean not telling the truth to patients and thus depriving them of fully informed consent. This paternalistic approach of years gone by is now considered unethical. Also, placebo effects are unreliable and usually short-lived. Moreover, endorsing homeopathic placebos in this way would mean that people may use it for serious, treatable conditions. Furthermore, if we allow the homeopathic industry to sell placebos we should do the same for big pharmaceutical companies – and where would this take us? Crucially and somewhat paradoxically, we don't need a placebo to generate a placebo effect. If I give my headache patient an aspirin and do this, as all good doctors should, with empathy, time and understanding, the patient will benefit from a placebo effect plus the pharmacological effect of the aspirin. If I prescribe her a homeopathic remedy, I quite simply deprive her of the latter. It is difficult to argue that this approach would be in the interest of my patient. What follows is straightforward: homeopathy is yet another beautiful theory destroyed by ugly facts.” Edzard Ernst, The Guardian (22nd February 2010)
“...bloggers and sceptics — enthused by their success on the chiropractic front — might already be considering action against any unsubstantiated claims made by UK homeopaths. This could truly be the end of homeopathy.” Professor Edzard Ernst, Guardian Science Blog (14th June 2010)
Dr Charlotte Mendes Da Costa and Professor David Colquhoun debate after the release of the report of the Science and Technology committee that condemned the spending of NHS funds on homeopathy. The report also condemned the MHRA for allowing misleading labelling of homeopathic pills. (22nd February 2010) [4:44mins]
“How do we know there are no molecules of active ingredient in most homeopathic remedies?...Methods used in chemistry confirm that homeopathic remedies contain only trace amounts of ingredients or none at all. From a rational, scientific point of view this is important as everything we know about how drugs work conventionally (dose-response studies, for example) means that homeopathy cannot work. It is not possible to dilute a substance out of existence and still expect it to have a physiological effect. The extreme dilution used in homeopathy, particularly above 12C where the remedies contain no ingredients at all, is sufficient to invalidate homeopathy from a scientific perspective. Most claims made by homeopaths, however, are based on magical thinking rather than scientific principles, so the reality of ingredient-free remedies is explained away by invoking ideas such as 'water has a memory'. Homeopaths claim that it is potentisation that makes their remedies work - not simply the dilution - and the lack of any molecules in their remedies does not invalidate the claims made for potentisation. This propensity for magical thinking is why this scientific invalidation will have little to no impact on the belief in homeopathy.” John Jackson, UK Skeptics (2010)
“A look at the claim of increasing a remedy's strength by serially diluting and succussing it…Although critics of homeopathy tend to focus on the extreme dilutions homeopaths use, and this is correct from a scientific perspective, homeopaths themselves don't deny that their remedies often contain no ingredients. This is because they claim that their remedies work because of potentisation through succussion. However, the idea of potentisation has no basis in scientific understanding nor does it have an evidence base to support it. Homeopaths may claim that potentisation does something, even if they can't explain how or why, based on the results they see; however, those results may be as a result of how placebo effects can give the illusion of ineffective treatments working. Potentisation, therefore, could be a name given to a process whose explanation is still awaiting discovery or it may be another form of superstitious/magical thinking. As there are no effects detected in well-conducted clinical trials of homeopathic remedies, the second option looks the far more likely of the two to be correct.” Article by John Jackson, UK Skeptics (2010)
"In February, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its evidence check on the alternative therapy. The report was backed by multiple meta-analyses and could not have been more damning. It found there was no credible evidence of homeopathy’s efficacy beyond placebo, and that its supposed mechanism was “scientifically implausible”. And yet pharmacists sell homeopathic products. Arguments used to defend these sales are the patient’s right to choice, and their belief in the therapy delivering a valid result (ie the placebo effect).
Choice and belief are undeniably powerful factors, but as the RPSGB argues: “It is essential… the patient is given the appropriate information to make these informed choices and as a consequence it should be clear to the patient that there is no scientific evidence for homeopathy.”" Chris Chapman, Chemist + Druggist (17th June 2010)
“...this fossilised medicine has its roots in the earlier concept of the doctrine of signatures. This idea was based on the concept that the living world was a divine, harmonious creation that was given to humans and filled with pervasive signs of the purpose of each part of that creation. Thus, illness could be treated by looking for the deep linkage between the natural world and the human body…Darwin came along and showed the doctrine of signatures cannot be true.” The Quackometer (1st June 2010)
Doctors attending the annual British Medical Association (BMA) Junior Doctors Conference voted almost unanimously for a motion that, ""Given the complete lack of valid scientific evidence of benefit: (i) homeopathy should no longer be funded by the National Health Service; and (ii) no UK training post should include a placement in homeopathy." Dr. Tom Dolphin, deputy director of the BMA's junior doctor's committee, provoked raucous laughter by referring to homeopathy as witchcraft. (See 4:55:30 to 4:58:43 of link.) To become official BMA policy, the motion must be accepted at the BMA's full conference next month. [Donelley L. Homeopathy is witchcraft, say doctors. The Telegraph, May 15, 2010] The BMA has previously expressed skepticism about homeopathy, arguing that the rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence should examine the evidence base and make a definitive ruling about the use of homeopathic remedies in the NHS. BMA website (8th May 2010)
“With World Homeopathy Awareness Week fresh in our minds, it is appropriate to ask: why did evolution, which has always taken such a make-do attitude to developing the faculties of living things, not choose to work with water to construct an immune system capable of remembering its enemies? Surely, given the prodigious feats of memory attributed by homeopaths to this glistening, life-giving fluid, Nature could have fashioned a watery armour to protect us from disease? This has not happened of course because memories require fixed structures and water is a liquid. In this form, it is no more capable of remembering molecules than of being sculpted.” Professor Stephen Curry, structural biologist, Imperial College London (17th April 2010)
Homeopath Louise Mclean suggested 50 facts that validated homeopathy in an attempt to counter criticism that homeopathy is only water with no therapeutic effects. In this link, each ‘fact’ is evaluated in two parts: whether the fact is true and what, if any, logical fallacy is being used. Mark Crislip, Science Based Medicine (24th October 2008)
‘The Quacksalvers & Hucksters’ series by Crispian Jago. (Science, Reason and Critical Thinking blogspot)