Homeopathic remedies are ‘nonsense and risk significant harm’ say 29 European scientific bodies | The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/homeopathy-nonsense-risk-harm-29-european-academies-science-advisory-council-remedies-a7963786.html

A scientific organisation intended to influence EU policy has called for tougher regulations of alternative medicine, branding homeopathy“nonsense” and warning the “promotion and use of homeopathic products risks significant harms”. The statement was made by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC).

Homeopathy uses vastly diluted amounts of a substance that causes symptoms in the hope of curing a person.Homeopathy industry was valued at around €1 billion in the EU in 2015. 

13 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FDA takes more aggressive stance toward homeopathic drugs
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/12/18/fda-to-target-homeopathic-drugs-that-pose-safety-risks/?sw_bypass=true&utm_term=.469d9355e4ed

    The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a tougher enforcement policy toward homeopathic drugs, saying it would target products posing the greatest safety risks, including those containing potentially harmful ingredients or being marketed for cancer, heart disease and opioid and alcohol addictions.

    Homeopathy is based on an 18th-century idea that substances that cause disease symptoms can, in very small doses, cure the same symptoms. Modern medicine, backed up by numerous studies, has disproved the central tenets of homeopathy and shown that the products are worthless at best and harmful at worst.

    more than a year after homeopathic teething tablets and gels containing belladonna were linked to 400 injuries and the deaths of 10 children. An FDA lab analysis later confirmed that some of the products “contained elevated and inconsistent levels of belladonna,” a toxic substance, the agency said.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Once a niche field, homeopathy has grown into to a $3 billion industry that peddles treatments for everything from cancer to colds

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An Intro to Homeopathy
    https://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/an_intro_to_homeopathy

    Homeopathy is an alternative system of medicine that was invented by a German doctor at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scientific knowledge about chemistry, physics, and biology tells us it should not work; careful testing has shown that it does not work.

    Today we can calculate that by the thirteenth 1:100 dilution (13C), no molecules of the original substance remain. Hahnemann typically used 30C remedies. At 30C, it would take a container 30 million times the size of the Earth to hold enough of the remedy to make it likely that it would contain a single molecule of the original substance. The most popular homeopathic cold and flu remedy is sold as a 200C dilution. And there are even higher dilutions.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FDA takes more aggressive stance toward homeopathic drugs
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/12/18/fda-to-target-homeopathic-drugs-that-pose-safety-risks/?utm_term=.fffc9a81a00f

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    To Your Health
    FDA takes more aggressive stance toward homeopathic drugs
    By Laurie McGinley
    December 18

    Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifies in October at a House hearing on the opioid epidemic. On Monday, Gottlieb proposed a new, tougher approach to regulating homeopathic drugs. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a tougher enforcement policy toward homeopathic drugs, saying it would target products posing the greatest safety risks, including those containing potentially harmful ingredients or being marketed for cancer, heart disease and opioid and alcohol addictions.

    Homeopathy is based on an 18th-century idea that substances that cause disease symptoms can, in very small doses, cure the same symptoms. Modern medicine, backed up by numerous studies, has disproved the central tenets of homeopathy and shown that the products are worthless at best and harmful at worst.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    News › Health
    Cancer patients who use homeopathy and alternative remedies as part of treatment twice as likely to die from disease, study finds
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/cancer-treatment-patients-acupuncture-herbal-medicine-homeopathy-death-rate-higher-a8454791.html

    Complementary medicine advocates more likely to refuse recommended parts of treatment which could save their life

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peer-reviewed homeopathy study sparks uproar in Italy
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06967-0

    Advocates of homeopathy say that the rat study is evidence of the practice’s efficacy, but some scientists have cast doubt on the paper.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Spain wages war on dubious homeopathy meds
    https://www.thelocal.es/20181031/spain-wages-war-on-dubious-homeopathy-meds

    Spain’s Health Ministry has blacklisted thousands of alternative medicine products in a bid to crack down on phony ailments and health treatments it considers to have “no scientific basis”.
    If you’re a big believer in homeopathic treatments, Spain is no longer the place with the biggest range of remedies that can be bought over the counter.

    The country’s Ministry of Health has released a list of only 2,008 homeopathic products whose manufacturers will have to apply for an official government license for if they wish to continue selling them.

    The homeopathic producers on the list have until April 2019 to prove that their remedies actually work, which may very well slash homeopathic products in Spain to the bare minimum.

    The rest of the more than 12,000 homeopathic ‘meds’ circulating around Spain for the past few years will no longer have the right to be sold in Spain nor the right to apply for the license.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hundreds of Spanish scientists ask for action against pseudoscience “that kills”
    https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/09/24/inenglish/1537804324_083016.html

    More than 400 people have signed an open letter triggered by the case of a cancer patient who died after refusing regular medical treatment

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Opinion
    Naturopaths are snake-oil salespeople masquerading as health professionals
    Gary Nunn
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/25/naturopaths-are-snake-oil-salespeople-masquerading-as-health-professionals?fbclid=IwAR3Z_MBD8s1sE5yN5ExHO-Gi9YC7hrzQqhQg1T6ZODE-oulMWoyexAqsOl0

    Researching for a feature about naturopaths, I was committed to hearing both sides. What I discovered shocked me

    We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths. They don’t need to go to medical school to put up a sign and declare themselves a “naturopath” – as a doctor would. In fact, anyone can call themselves a naturopath.

    From 1 April, private health customers cannot claim rebates on naturopathic treatments. It’s a wonder it took this long; government subsidies were at best generous, and at the very least, misguided. They bestowed upon naturopaths and homeopaths an undeserved credibility. But from this year, no more.

    The naturopathy rebate is about to go, what does this mean for your health?
    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/the-naturopathy-rebate-is-going-what-could-this-mean-for-your-health-20190204-p50vkz.html

    Australian Medical Association, come following a 2017 review examining the clinical efficacy, cost effectiveness, safety and quality of number of natural therapies, including naturopathy, aromatherapy, homeopathy, reflexology, yoga and pilates.

    “In most cases there was insufficient evidence to draw definite conclusions regarding the clinical effectiveness of some natural therapies covered by private health insurance,” a Department of Health spokesperson said.

    Consequently, the federal government “will no longer subsidise health insurance products that provide cover for some natural therapies where there’s no clear evidence they’re clinically effective”.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Randomized controlled trial of homeopathic nosodes finds, not surprisingly, that they are useless
    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/randomized-controlled-trial-of-homeopathic-nosodes-finds-not-surprisingly-that-they-are-useless/?fbclid=IwAR0F5vob1P_gW6iM9GAFs6DNJEijGe1QLR5kV6pmTELswHMmNO2oZ0uQ2NM

    Magic sugar pills go head-to-head against actual vaccines in a randomized controlled trial. The results will not surprise you.

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The popularity of homeopathy in Germany is weird. It doesn’t work any better in Germany than in other countries.

    Homeopathy Doesn’t Work. So Why Do So Many Germans Believe in It?
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-10-12/homeopathy-doesn-t-work-so-why-do-so-many-germans-believe-in-it

    How Natalie Grams, who once abandoned her medical education to study alternative therapies, became Germany’s most prominent homeopathy skeptic.

    Behind an arched stone facade in Heidelberg, Germany, Natalie Grams spent years welcoming patients into bright rooms with plastered white walls and hardwood floors. As a homeopathic physician, she listened to their concerns and prescribed tinctures, ointments, and little white pills for their ailments. People trusted her, and Grams was certain that these nontraditional treatments (echinacea for colds; arnica for muscle pain) made them better.

    For her, homeopathy was more than a profession. It was something she accepted on faith and an essential part of her identity. She treated herself homeopathically and her young family, too. “I was convinced that homeopathy could heal everything, really everything,” Grams says.

    Then one day in 2013 at a nearby lake, Grams fell violently ill with a viral infection. Under different circumstances, she might have turned to a tincture or those little pills, which homeopaths call globules. But there was no time. Her fever was spiking, and her sense of reality was fading away. Her family called an ambulance. Bumping along the potholed country road, the medics tried to distract Grams by inquiring about her work. When she said she was a physician, they asked what field of medicine. Vulnerable and scared, she couldn’t bring herself to tell them. These are real doctors, she thought. They save lives. They were saving her life. She couldn’t do what they did. What, then, did that make her? So she lied and said she was a general practitioner.

    It would be a few more years before Grams fully turned her back on homeopathy—becoming, practically overnight, Germany’s most prominent skeptic of the practice. But that afternoon in the ambulance, she began to question her devotion. “I was, somehow, for the first time, not sure whether it was a good thing to be a homeopath,” she recalls.

    The pseudoscience of homeopathy was invented in Germany in the 18th century by a maverick physician named Samuel Hahnemann. His theory was based on the ancient principle of like cures like—akin to the mechanism behind vaccines.

    These substances are diluted—again and again—and shaken vigorously in a process called “potentization” or “dynamization.” The resultant remedies typically contain a billionth, trillionth, or … well … a zillionth (10 to the minus 60th, if you’re counting) of the original substance.

    Today, homeopathy is practiced worldwide, particularly in Britain, India, the U.S.

    and, especially, Germany. Practitioners, however, differ greatly in their approach. Some only prescribe remedies cataloged in homeopathic reference books. Others take a more metaphoric bent, offering treatments that contain a fragment of the Berlin Wall to cure feelings of exclusion and loneliness or a powder exposed to cellphone signals as protection from radiation emitted by mobile handsets.

    Homeopaths typically spend a lot of time with patients, asking not just about symptoms but also about emotions, work, and relationships. This is all meant to find the root cause of a patient’s suffering and is part of its appeal. The heilpraktiker asked Grams about her feelings and the accident, things she hadn’t spoken about with her doctors—or anyone—thinking they weren’t important in understanding what was wrong. The heilpraktiker prescribed her belladonna globules and recommended she visit a trauma therapist. Steadily, her symptoms fell away. She was healed.

    Soon after, Grams dropped the idea of becoming a surgeon, opting for a future as a general practitioner while taking night courses in alternative therapies.

    Homeopathy is a multibillion-dollar global industry with hundreds of tincture and globule makers, led by France’s Boiron SA, which reported sales topping $600 million in 2020. German manufacturers had combined revenue approaching $750 million last year, according to researcher IQVIA Inc. The bulk of that was via direct sales to consumers, as the vast majority of homeopathic products are widely available without a prescription. Roughly half of Germany’s population has used homeopathic preparations, and about 70% of those say they’re satisfied with the treatment.

    The Nazis embraced homeopathy as part of their darkly motivated pursuit of a robust German Volk.

    After the war, homeopathy was torn between a supportive West and a disapproving East, but it enjoyed a renaissance in the 1970s as it captured the imagination of anti-establishment youth.

    In 1978 the German parliament, under pressure from industry lobbyists, exempted homeopathic remedies from the barrage of tests required to approve drugs for medical use. If, the act states, homeopathic doctors claim that remedies work, that alone is proof of their efficacy under German law. Under this ruling, all homeopathic remedies are considered, by “internal consensus,” to have an effect beyond placebo.

    Germany’s public health insurance providers reimburse some costs of homeopathic treatment, and more than 7,000 of the country’s 150,000 doctors specialize in the practice. Nonmedical professionals such as heilpraktikers can also prescribe remedies after passing an examination, and it’s not uncommon for German M.D.s to suggest homeopathic concoctions such as tincture of mercury and dandelion globules alongside more conventional medicines.

    Homeopathy Reconsidered made Grams a media star. Until she came along, Germany’s most visible skeptics of homeopathy had tended to be stern-looking men, lifelong critics in their 60s and 70s. Grams was young—36 when the book came out in 2015—attractive, and a very recent convert.

    Opponents paint her as a media pawn and a puppet of Big Pharma. She has been called all manner of offensive names—and received death threats

    In May 2019 a reporter from a German newspaper asked her, point blank, if homeopathic remedies work. Grams’s response: “Not beyond the placebo effect.” After the interview was published, she received a letter from German homeopathic manufacturer Hevert Pharmaceuticals LLC ordering her not to repeat those words or risk being fined €5,100 ($5,900) per utterance.

    Although numerous studies have shown Grams’s statement to be true, her lawyers told her that under the 1978 “internal consensus” law she risked being sued. Yet Grams refused to comply.

    Instead, she took to Twitter, posting a photo of the letter under the Game of Thrones-inspired caption “What do we say when #homeopathy-pharma tries to silence us? Not today.” The post gained thousands of retweets and likes, and the incident was broadly publicized.

    If Hevert had been trying to quiet public skepticism about homeopathy, the plan spectacularly backfired.

    As Grams has stepped up her criticism, homeopathy has suffered, even in Germany. Since 2016 the volume of homeopathic products sold has fallen 12%, to 48 million packages last year. In 2019 the medical association in the northern city of Bremen banned medical professionals from seeking further education in homeopathy, effectively barring doctors from getting homeopathic certification. At least nine other German states have since followed suit.

    Still, Grams says that as long as homeopathy is treated as a complementary option—and not a replacement for conventional treatments—there’s little need to prohibit it. She and other skeptics recommend following the strategy of the U.K. and France, where public-health systems no longer pay for it. The German government, though, has been reluctant to take this step.

    In 2019, Health Minister Jens Spahn said the public-health system spends only €20 million a year on homeopathic remedies—or roughly 0.05% of the system’s budget for drugs. “I simply decided it’s OK the way we’ve got it,” Spahn told German public television.

    Today, Grams works with nonprofits that promote a rigorous examination of homeopathy and other fields of dubious scientific merit. In February 2020 she published a second book, What Really Works: A Compass Through the World of Gentle Medicine, a bestseller that evaluates alternative therapies.

    a few years ago she started looking for a clinic or a practice that would let her finish her medical residency and finally become a licensed general practitioner. “Nobody wanted me,”

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    CVS, among others, still sell homeopathic “remedies”, right next to actual medication. And they sell well.

    Suing the Snake Oil Sellers: Taking on Homeopathy’s Retailers
    https://centerforinquiry.org/blog/suing-the-snake-oil-sellers-taking-on-homeopathys-retailers/

    Homeopathy is in our faces every day. Despite the complete lack of factual basis for its effectiveness, it appears on the shelves of our retail pharmacies and supermarkets. Homeopathy is placed next to real, science-based medicine that has been tested for both safety and efficacy. On the shelf labeled “Pain Relief,” you see Ibuprofen (which helps relieve pain) and Arnicare (a dilution of a plant that doesn’t relieve pain). Where the store offers Cold and Flu Treatment, you see Tylenol products, which work, next to Oscillococcinum (duck offal diluted to a factor of 10400), which does nothing.

    These homeopathic products are full of promises to improve health and relieve symptoms, and they come in gaudy packaging that stresses that they are “natural” and “have no interactions with other products.” They often target parents, knowing that the mother rushing to the supermarket after a day of work accompanied by a toddler screaming about his pink eye wants to grab something efficiently and quickly, and may not have time to read the microscopic print used for disclaimers.

    We don’t think that’s fair or right. We don’t think fake medicine such as homeopathy, that does nothing helpful, should be intermingled with real cures.

    So, using the District of Columbia Consumer Protection law, we’ve sued Walmart and CVS for how they sell homeopathy. We know the products are legal, but that doesn’t mean retailers can deliberately misinform consumers about them. Our lawsuits rest on the basic and, we feel, self-evident claim that if you place something on a shelf labeled “Allergy Relief,” amid products shown by decades of testing to safely and effectively relieve the symptoms of allergies, you are claiming that the product itself provides allergy relief. If it doesn’t, and especially if you know it doesn’t, you’re misleading customers.

    CFI is currently waiting on a decision from the D.C. Court of Appeals in this matter.

    Reply

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