What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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“At midnight last night, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority closed its consultation on how they should label homeopathy sugar pills without misleading the public. You may not think this is a difficult task, but politics makes it so.   To recap: homeopathy pills don’t work better than placebo dummy pills in trials. They are made by taking one drop of the original substance and diluting it in...

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 drops of water

...then taking one drop of that solution, which is now just water, and shaking it near some pills, which you then buy to treat an illness.  Current MHRA wording says: “a homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition for the treatment of [whatever condition]”. Homeopaths like this because it’s ambiguous. Their internal lobbying document (which I have helpfully posted on the internet for everyone to read), explains that this wording “avoids the need to prove the science” and so “allows us to practise as normal”. 

Can the MHRA walk the line between evidence, politics, and clarity? Quack remedies are in their own world of silliness, but we are entitled to have higher expectations of regulators, since they themselves expect to be taken more seriously.”  Ben Goldacre, Bad Science (19th February 2011)