Monday, October 15, 2007

The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing

The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing

by Le Canard Noir

The Society of Homeopaths (SoH) are a shambles and a bad joke. It is now over a year since Sense about Science, Simon Singh and the BBC Newsnight programme exposed how it is common practice for high street homeopaths to tell customers that their magic pills can prevent malaria. The Society of Homeopaths have done diddly-squat to stamp out this dangerous practice apart from issue a few ambiguously weasel-worded press statements.

The SoH has a code of practice, but my feeling is that this is just a smokescreen and is widely flouted and that the Society do not care about this. If this is true, then the code of practice is nothing more than a thin veneer used to give authority and credibility to its deluded members. It does nothing more than fool the public into thinking they are dealing with a regulated professional.

As a quick test, I picked a random homeopath with a web site from the SoH register to see if they flouted a couple of important rules:

48: Advertising shall not contain claims of superiority. No advertising may be used which expressly or implicitly claims to cure named diseases.

72: To avoid making claims (whether explicit or implied; orally or in writing) implying cure of any named disease.


The homeopath I picked on is called Julia Wilson and runs a practice from the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough. What I found rather shocked and angered me.

Straight away, we find that Julia M Wilson LCHE, RSHom specialises in asthma and works at a clinic that says:

"Many illnesses and disease can be successfully treated using homeopathy, including arthritis, asthma, digestive disorders, emotional and behavioural difficulties, headaches, infertility, skin and sleep problems."

Well, there are a number of named diseases there to start off. She also gives a leaflet that advertises her asthma clinic. The advertising leaflet says:

"Conventional medicine is at a loss when it comes to understanding the origin of allergies,...The best that medical research can do is try to keep the symptoms under control. Homeopathy is different, it seeks to address the triggers for asthma and eczema. It is a safe, drug free approach that helps alleviate the flaring of skin and tightening of lungs..."

Now, despite the usual homeopathic contradiction of claiming to treat causes not symptoms and then in the next breath saying it can alleviate symptoms, the advert is clearly in breach of the above rule 47 on advertising as it implicitly claims superiority over real medicine and names a disease.

Asthma is estimated to be responsible for 1,500 deaths and 74,000 emergency hospital admissions in the UK each year. It is not a trivial illness that sugar pills ought to be anywhere near. The Cochrane Review says the following about the evidence for asthma and homeopathy:

"The review of trials found that the type of homeopathy varied between the studies, that the study designs used in the trials were varied and that no strong evidence existed that usual forms of homeopathy for asthma are effective."

This is not a surprise given that homeopathy is just a ritualised placebo. Hopefully, most parents attending this clinic will have the good sense to go to a real accident and emergency unit in the event of a severe attack and consult their GP about real management of the illness. I would hope that Julia does little harm here.

However, a little more research on her site reveals much more serious concerns. She says on her site that 'she worked in Kenya teaching homeopathy at a college in Nairobi and supporting graduates to set up their own clinics'. Now, we have seen what homeopaths do in Kenya before. It is not treating a little stress and the odd headache. Free from strong UK legislation, these missionary homeopaths make the boldest claims about the deadliest diseases.

A bit of web research shows where Julia was working. The Abha Light Foundation is a registered NGO in Kenya. It takes mobile homeopathy clinics through the slums of Nairobi and surrounding villages. Its stated aim is to:

"...Introduce Homeopathy and natural medicines as a method of managing HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in Kenya."

I must admit, I had to pause for breath after reading that. The clinic sells its own homeopathic remedies for 'treating' various lethal diseases. Its MalariaX potion:

...Is a homeopathic preparation for prevention of malaria and treatment of malaria. Suitable for children. For prevention. Only 1 pill each week before entering, during and after leaving malaria risk areas. For treatment. Take 1 pill every 1-3 hours during a malaria attack."

This is nothing short of being totally outrageous. It is a murderous delusion. David Colquhoun has been writing about this wicked scam recently and it is well worth following his blog on the issue.

Let's remind ourselves what one of the most senior and respected homeopaths in the UK, Dr Peter Fisher of the London Homeopathic Hospital, has to say on this matter:

"There is absolutely no reason to think that homeopathy works to prevent malaria and you won't find that in any textbook or journal of homeopathy so people will get malaria, people may even die of malaria if they follow this advice."

Malaria is a huge killer in Kenya. It is the biggest killer of children under five. The problem is so huge that the reintroduction of DDT is considered as a proven way of reducing deaths. Magic sugar pills and water drops will do nothing. Many of the poorest in Kenya cannot afford real anti-malaria medicine, but offering them insane nonsense as a substitute will not help anyone.

Ironically, the WHO has issued a press release today on cheap ways of reducing child and adult mortality due to malaria. Their trials, conducted in Kenya, of using cheap mosquito nets soaked in insecticide have reduced child deaths by 44% over two years.

It says that issuing these nets be the 'immediate priority' to governments with a malaria problem. No mention of homeopathy. These results were arrived at by careful trials and observation. Science. We now know that nets work. A lifesaving net costs $5. A bottle of useless homeopathic crap costs $4.50. Both are large amounts for a poor Kenyan, but is their life really worth the 50c saving?

I am sure we are going to hear the usual homeopath bleat that this is just a campaign by Big Pharma to discredit unpatentable homeopathic remedies. Are we to add to the conspiracy Big Net manufacturers too?

It amazes me that to add to all the list of ills and injustices that our rich nations impose on the poor of the world, we have to add the widespread export of our bourgeois and lethal healing fantasies. To make a strong point: if we can introduce laws that allow the arrest of sex tourists on their return to the UK, can we not charge people who travel to Africa to indulge their dangerous healing delusions?

At the very least, we could expect the Society of Homeopaths to try to stamp out this wicked practice? Could we?


Blogs commenting on this issue thus far:

Society of Homeopaths: cowards and bullies
Blog post taken down by homeopathic complaint: a chill wind is blowing
The Society of Homeopaths silence criticism through cowardly legal means
A run-in with the Homeopathic Thought Police
Society of Homeopaths
James Randi weighs in
The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing
The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing
Big altie gags the truth, or tries to
The banished quackometer post
How ethics works according to the SoH
The Society of Homeopaths
The Society of Homeopaths can kiss my arse
Silencing critics
Fight censorship!
The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing - A Reprint
Homeopathic thuggery - via Orac
Homeopathic Killing
BadScience.net forum
Can't silence critics
Big Altie attempts to suppress truth
Homeopathy: Removing criticism increases the effect
Homeopathic legal chill
Homeopathy, malaria & free speech
Blogswarm: Society of Homeopaths' Thug Tactics

14 comments:

  1. These so called sugar pills cured my asthma, sleep apnoea and many other problems and now which i suffered for years, I am going for thyroid treatment.

    I was on the REAL drugs before all they did was suppress and made me worse, with extras to deal with,

    I was so impressed I am studying The art of real healing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As Benjamin Franklin said, the only thing better than quacks are their patients.

    I swear, you people are great, always thinking I'm going to be impressed by your claims - never any proof (your remedies always fail when tested) just your claims - which is just more evidence NewAgers don't understand what REAL proof is, or how healing actually works, or the workings of the human mind. And that ignorance always propels them to start "studying" how to inflict sit on others. How sweet! You guys must really care a lot. Or not.

    What NewAgers mostly care about is getting attention from other gullible types.

    Let me ask you this: how is it those worthless REAL drugs have extended the length of human life beyond anything you healer types have ever come up with - in just over 50 years - when you had the whole of human civilization to work with?

    And why do REAL doctors have to step in when you screw up?

    And, if they're so sane, why do the healers NEVER admit they've screwed up when their patients die?

    Look, if you want to understand the role of healers in medicine, start studying how "parasites" live off of their hosts - REAL medicine - and spread that word around:

    You'll save a lot more lives.

    ReplyDelete
  3. People who have been on allopathic drugs have had more harm done to them then good, homeopathy IS a gentle healing art, nobody whether a homeoapath or allopath can stop death when it's time to go, but surely when your alive you shouldn't have to suppress one illness and have more added on,
    and live with awful side effects

    How can you test homeopathic drugs with tests designed for
    allopathic drugs, the biggest proof of homeoapathy is files and files of cured cases over the past 200 years and still now cures are being made, and people are still looking for alternatives. WHY!! surely if allopathy is REAL MEDICINE then why do millions of people search for cure elsewhere.
    Why don't people admit that there are many other forms of healing.

    Allopathic treatment is harsh, sometimes harsh is needed, but majority of the time there is no need.

    Homeopathic drugs are capable of curing people, when you talk about people not living long till allopathy came along you must realise there was poverty back then and many other factors which contributed to early death, I have tried homeopathy and it worked for me my family and many others, that is why i am making this comment, maybe you should try next time you get ill, before you make your remarks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry but if you've really read this site - and not just one post that pissed you off - I've made it clear that I'll refuse further debate with any anonymous commenter who will blithely ignore deaths caused by charlatans:

    It's not only unfair to me but also shows a callousness that says you're not worthy of being considered civilized.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Respected HomeopathNovember 14, 2008 at 7:44 AM

    Your swearing and anger just goes to show how controlled and civilized you are, not wasting anymore time on this site.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love it:

    You've gone from someone "studying" healing to a "respected homeopath"? You quacks are just too much!!

    And, in case you can't read either, this blog is called The Macho Response - not NewAge Heaven - so, if you want deception cloaked in butter and flowers (as opposed to truth delivered in the straight-forward manner of the streets) then, please, go find a liar to deliver your deception in pastels.

    You won't find any of that here.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. If you think these are placebo's I dare you to try a couple extra high doses (say 200c) of a random remedy and post on your findings.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You dummy: Tons of people have already done that with no affect what-so-ever. James Randi did it in front of Congress! Face it, you're an idiot.

    Look: Here's a guy drinking his own pee - homeopathically. Gross? Not really. Because once the shit's deluted (as all homeopathic remedies must be) there's nothing there! Only an idiot could believe in such nonsense.

    But only a bigger idiot would try to defend it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. And BTW, there's a guy trying to publicly cure his eczema using homeopathy - his conclusion so far:

    "How is it working? Well, it isn't."

    You NewAgers are a delusional joke - dangerous, too.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  13. Generic Viagra,

    "I sincerely think that homeopathy can not actually kill anyone."

    And you'd be right - it's just water. But the belief it's "magic" water causes people to act in ways that are deadly. My ex killed three people aiding a homeopath, and countless others are also killed by this belief. They even go so far as to kill their own kids because they can't let the belief go long enough to let common sense in. Here - check it out - happens all the time. To idiots, anyway.

    "is so impossible that the natural medicine that has studios can kill a person.

    That's a stupid thing to say. All kinds of "natural" things can kill you. And no NewAger ever claimed "Big Pharma" was harmless because they have "studios" - even though they've actually saved lives with them and are almost single-handedly responsible for how long we live. No, instead, NewAgers condemn "Big Pharma" because they have studios. That's called a double standard.

    "intersante this blog because there seemed to me to refute all the lies they say about natural medicine."

    I don't know what this means. Almost everything NewAgers say is a lie. They just convince themselves - without proof - it's the truth. Like homeopathy is "natural medicine" and somehow pure. That's a lie. Homeopathy is big business and nothing more. Big Business that gets people killed. You giving it support is like rooting for the Nazis before WWII started.

    Sorry but I'm on the other side.

    ReplyDelete

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