MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

THE LOCAL, SPAIN’S NEWS IN ENGLISH just reported that a master’s degree in homeopathic medicine at one of Spain’s top universities has been scrapped, because of its “lack of scientific basis”. A university spokesman confirmed the course was being scrapped and gave three main reasons:

  • “Firstly, the university’s Faculty of Medicine recommended scrapping the master’s because of the doubt that exists in the scientific community.
  • Secondly, a lot of people within the university – professors and students across different faculties – had shown their opposition to the course.
  • Thirdly, the postgraduate degree in homeopathic medicine is no longer approved by Spain’s Health Ministry.”

“All of these reasons taken together convinced the university to stop the course,” he added. The news has been praised by doctors and scientists throughout Spain, not least by Adrián Gómez, a chemistry student at the university, who five months ago launched a petition on the website change.org calling for the homeopathy master’s to be scrapped.

The university had started its Homeopathic Medicine Masters in 2004. Since then opposition to the course seems to have grown. Even Spain’s own Health Ministry stated in a 2011 report that “homeopathy has not proved its effectiveness in any specific clinical situation”.

The current student intake (n=20), which is due to finish the course in October 2016 will continue to the end, but there will be no new courses in homeopathy. THE LOCAL also reported that the homeopathic industry in Spain is worth around €60 million annually.

Vis a vis the now overwhelming evidence that homeopathy is a placebo therapy, more closures of homeopathy courses can be expected worldwide. Indeed, one has to ask why this particular course was started in 2004 when the evidence had been quite clear for some time. In my view, it is unethical of universities to set youngsters on a path of quackery and thus contribute to an obstacle to evidence-based health care.

 

87 Responses to Homeopathy masters degree to close because of lack of scientific basis

  • Good news.

    I’m interested in the 20 students still completing a course that the teaching institution has declared to be without rational foundation.

    Compensate the students from a surcharge on the staff who taught the nonsense?

    • no, compensating ALL students since the beginning of the course in 2004 would be the honest solution!

    • They’d only spend their compensation on trying to become chiropractors, or at whatever ‘breatharianism’ outfit Wiley Brooks or Ellen Greve are running these days. Unless they’ve spent all THEIR money on chicken pies in his case, and airline meals in hers.

  • For any Spanish people who still want a master’s degree in homeopathy, they should look no further than the British Institute of Homeopathy. We should be proud to support something good and British, right? Oh… but what’s this? The British Institute of Homeopathy is based at 580 Zion Road, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234-9606, USA. The training is all by distance learning: you get your master’s degree working from a sofa at home.

    Presumably, in parallel with the basic principle of homeopathic dilution, the further away from a college you study, the better you will assimilate the knowledge. Alternatively — and this only just occurred to me — the less you know, the better you will perform as a homeopath.

    Now I guess the cynics will come along to tell us that a US company setting itself up as a ‘British Institute’ is characteristic of lies told by homeopathists.

    • No, I guess, this only means homeopaths got stuck in more than one field of knowledge. Its not only the law of similars from 1790 but the political situation of times before the American revolutionary war that started in 1775 as well.

    • Wow. Those courses are expensive. Why take the classes at all?

      It’s cheaper to simply claim one is a homeopath. There is no education needed at all. I couldn’t find a single state in the U.S. that has homeopath as a protected term.

      Create your own Board with you as the only member. Have a Board meeting. Have the Board, you, certify you. Document it in the minutes. You are now Board Certified! Have a party to celebrate your fine accomplishment.

      Buy a lab coat, throw a stethoscope over your shoulders, put your name on the door, and start selling dilutions as a Board Certified Homeopath today! Just avoid using the word “medicine” and you are safe.

      • But what about the ‘robust, high-end scientific research’ mentioned in relation to the Homeopathy Research Institute’s 1st International Research Conference? Surely you’d be cheating your patients?

        • You must avoid calling them “patients.” That might imply medical intervention.

          Why go to a conference unless it is fully paid for? A tax deduction isn’t as good as a tax credit. Do not spend hard-earned money for something that doesn’t spill over into customer satisfaction. Spend $20 on a nice frame and print up a certificate of completion for a course you gave yourself. I suggest something along the lines of “Dr. Barrie Lee Thorpe successfully completed a Baywatch Netflix Marathon on March 5, 2016.” Gold seals are cheap at Amazon. It will look nice on the wall and nobody will ever read it. Oh, I almost forget. Make sure you get an honorary doctorate from a diploma mill first. They can be had for around $30 and you can legally call yourself Doctor.

          If anyone complains, up the dilution from 30C to 200C, but only charge 25% more.

          • A few years ago, I was waiting to pay for a newspaper in a newsagent’s, and saw that a young woman in front of me was waiting to have photocopied an official-looking ‘diploma’ which said something like ‘This is to certify that – insert name – ‘has successfully passed an examination in homeopathy’.
            Apart from the vacuousness of the definition of this ‘examination’, I dread to think about the standard of anyone who had ‘unsuccessfully passed’.
            I’m going to guess however that everyone ‘successfully passed’.
            I wonder what the failure rate would be in the British Institute of Homeopathy. Is it possible that everyone passes do you think?

          • And by the way-what in blimminy is ‘dental homeopathy’? That’s new to me.
            Does the phrase ‘Some regions require students to be qualified in dentistry’ give even the hard of thinking an inkling about what’s really going on here? Isn’t that a bit like advertising an expensive course in ‘homeopathic car maintenance’ while adding that ‘a qualification in car maintenance is necessary for this course’? It’s similar to homeopaths’ demand to be allowed to ‘work alongside’ proper doctors in fighting, say, Ebola. Do none of the work in gaining a genuine medical qualification, but bask in the glory of any success that’s achieved, even if you personally were no more effective than Manuel in ‘Fawlty Towers’, hopping backward and forward waving your arms around.

      • I just checked the prices for the courses on their site. You’re absolutely right-they’re not taking any prisoners in that respect. How much were the Spaniards shelling out?
        As I said before, the ex-friend who Unfriended me from Facebook because I argued with him about homeopathy- classic statement, ‘You know I don’t believe in homeopathy. It’s all nonsense’. But some of it CAN work’-pointed out that French medical students have to tack on an extra 2 years to their course in order to be awarded a homeopathy ‘qualification’. I replied that it didn’t matter if it were an extra 200 years, it’s time wasted. Except that if you can afford the ‘fees’ it would seems there’s money to be made here. There are after all millions of French people who believe in it and demand it, as another friend testified.

        • Some of my comments are based on an actual “thought” experiment I’ve been running for the past couple of months – how far can I take alternative medicine without doing ANY educational work and without spending over $50 on anything. I know several hospital administrators and board members locally so I can bounce ideas off of them. I have checked into the legality. The results should anger anyone who has actually worked for a degree, especially a medical degree. Here’s where I am so far:

          I have two doctorates. (Honorary, but I don’t have to produce that fact.)
          I am a Board Certified Homeopath. (All U.S. states)
          I am a Board Certified Naturopath. (Majority of U.S. states)
          I am a Board Certified Nutritionist. (All U.S. states)
          I am a herbalist. (“an” herbalist for some of you)
          I am a reiki master. (No other reiki master is more powerful than I)

          I can legally run a business using all of the above. One of locals near me makes a boatload of money doing much of that and his qualifications don’t come close to mine. Most of the revenue is supplement and alkaline water sales.

          So why is a CAM career attractive? Why waste time and money on medical school? Why do I have ethics?

          • A comment which came through at the same time as yours stressed the need for more education. Admirable, of course, as far as it goes. But the fact that there are properly qualified doctors, let alone lay people, who believe in this Mediaeval lunacy, demonstrates just how far we have to go. It’s a bit like racism-not to get too melodramatic. Some people simply WANT to believe nonsense, no matter how much evidence you present to demolish their beliefs. Two women have become angry at me in recent years, and said ‘Are you calling me a liar?’ I’ve personally been accused on two or three occasions of being in the pay of – irritating phrase- Big Pharma. If you try to debate rationally with these people, you realise that-because homeopathy is essentially a religion-it is exactly as pointless as arguing logic with a religious. If logic meant that much to them, they wouldn’t be religious.
            It becomes really deranged if-as I have on a couple of occasions-one mentions medical people one knows.
            Two ex-girlfriends-friends still- were highly-qualified pharmacists, and one current friend is one of Britain’s most highly-ranked doctors. But all that elicits from homeopaths is along the lines of ‘Well they’re in on it too’, along with sneering references to ‘your medical pals’.
            It’s parallel to the anti-Obama ‘birther’ movement. No evidence will ever be sufficient. All that happens is that goalposts get moved.
            Arguing with homeopaths is like trying to Sellotape fog to the wall.
            I had-several of us did-an argument with two or three homeopaths on the Quackwatch site. One of them claimed that the reason so many homeopaths were unwilling to get involved in the discussions was that they were sensitive to derision and satire etc. A bit like Boris Johnson’s ‘shy Tories’ I expect. I replied that since so many of them are immune to any kind of logic, maybe comedy and derision is all there is left.

          • I like your thinking (but not some of your English; No other reiki master is more powerful than ME).

          • But are you qualified in these ‘treatments’?

            An A-to-Z Guide to Bullshit Alternative Medicine on YouTube

            I highly recommend everyone watch them all… very, erm… educational.

          • I vs. me. That’s a contentious choice in this situation.

            You like her better than I. You like her better than me.

            You like her better than I DO. You like her better than you like me.

            No reiki master is more powerful than I am. This was my intended usage.

            Grammar Nazi is a poor term. It tries to alter the perception that somebody doing something right is doing something wrong. Grammar Allies works for me. If I make a mistake, I WANT someone to let me know.

          • Frank Collins wrote: “I like your thinking (but not some of your English; No other reiki master is more powerful than ME).”

            Sorry, Frank, but ScienceMonkey is correct.

            “No other reiki master is more powerful than I (am)”

          • Correct.’ No more powerful than I’.

          • The correct answer is “me”; the wrong answer is “I” because it isn’t short for “I am”:
            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/i-or-me

          • Utter nonsense I’m afraid. The point is that in this context, ‘I’ quite specifically IS an abbreviation of ‘I am’. Thus, ‘Nobody is more powerful than I am’. Trust me on this. I got the school 6th Form English Prize. Just saying.

          • Mister Monkey- I rather agree with your defence of the ‘I’ usage, and your objection to the ‘Grammar Nazi’ term. It’s an amusing term, but it does rather skew things in any discussion about language and its rules. Most of us speak colloquially every now and then- myself included- but Grammar has its rules. Whether people think the rules should matter is a parallel, but different, argument.
            I imagine that there are plenty of homeopathic religionists who think that anyone who believes in the rules of Science is a ‘Science Nazi’. Doesn’t make their stance either correct or indeed very appealing.

          • Barrie, Thanks for the correction, you’ve enabled me to find my mistake: in formal English, “than” is followed by “I”, not by “me”.
            Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary:
            http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/better-than-I-or-better-than-me

            Examples:
            Is he taller than you? Yes, he is taller than I.

            Barrie knows more than I do about English grammar. Which can be rearranged: Concerning English grammar, Barrie knows more than I. [more than I do; not, more than me (do/does)!]

          • What have I done? 😉

          • Dunno. But you’d better clear it up before yer inept grammarian dad gets home.

          • “Utter nonsense I’m afraid. The point is that in this context, ‘I’ quite specifically IS an abbreviation of ‘I am’. Thus, ‘Nobody is more powerful than I am’. Trust me on this. . Just saying.”

            Are you seriously suggesting “I” is an abbreviation of “I am”? I thought I had heard most things but this takes the cake. Every abbreviation has letters from the word that is “abbreviated”, that is, shortened. If there is nothing left of the word, there is no abbreviation, by definition.

            “I got the school 6th Form English Prize.”

            Who didn’t?

            I think this, now, laissez faire treatment of the language is down to the standards of teachers, which fell off dramatically in the mid 60s to early 70s, and fell off a cliff after that. Prior to this, teaching was a proud and honourable profession, revered in the community. With the postwar baby-boom and the development of technology and a wider variety of jobs, teaching became less of a prestigious profession. Some of the people who left high school with me went into teaching because it was easy (and they couldn’t do anything else).

            Sorry Barrie, you must have been to school after the 70s.

          • Frank, Barrie is correct…
            “In formal English, ‘than’ is usually regarded as a conjunction governing an unexpressed verb: he does it far better than I (do). The case of any pronoun therefore depends on whether it is the subject or object of the unexpressed verb: she likes him more than I (like him); she likes him more than (she likes) me. However in ordinary speech and writing than is usually treated as a preposition and is followed by the object form of a pronoun: my brother is younger than me.”
            http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/than

            In the formal case of “than” being used as a conjunction (the comparison “no more than” is a coordinating conjunction, not a preposition) the personal pronoun following “than” is a subject pronoun, not an object pronoun. I made the initial mistake of thinking it was an object pronoun at the end of the sentence, which would require the word “me”.

            She and I are equally powerful. I and she are equally powerful. I am less powerful than she (is powerful). No other reiki master is more powerful than I (am powerful).

            The use of “I” is formally correct. The use of “me” is informally acceptable.

            I wish commenters would provide citations instead of making a fallacious appeal to their own authority.

          • Concise and correct.
            In fact ‘She likes him more than I’ and ‘She likes him more than me’ would mean two completely different things.

          • Let’s drop the grammar issue and get back to my original point.

            If someone is trying to argue from an “appeal to authority” position, put yourself in that same position. I can argue from my position as a Board Certified Naturopath. It is a meaningless designation, but it has a great deal of power in the minds of many. Highlighting that it is a worthless designation that anyone with 15 minutes of time (that was the time for the Board meeting and the typing of the minutes) can get is also powerful.

          • ScienceMonkey, I got your original point: Why waste years gaining a profession or a trade when it’s so easy to make money by becoming a self-appointed alt-med practitioner, guru, and/or writer of self-help books. Generally speaking, this is an appeal to expertise rather than an appeal to authority, despite the fact that being an expert in pixie dust is being an expert in a field that doesn’t actually exist in reality.

            A magician is an expert not in magic, because it doesn’t exist, but in fooling people using sleight of hand. One cannot become an expert in pixie dust, however, one can become an expert in selling the illusion of pixie dust.

          • I agree with your clarification Pete. I guess I could say I’m appealing to “perceived” authority to be accurate?

            Them: “My naturopath said this.”

            Me (I? Oh no!): “Well I’m a Board Certified Naturopath and I know about 0.01% as much about medicine as a medical doctor.”

            Many people don’t have any idea what a naturopath is. They see “doctor” and the immediate assumption is that the individual is a medical doctor. Sometimes destroying that illusion is necessary to move a discussion forward.

          • Is this an even bigger problem in the US than in Britain? I seem to see the phrase much more in relation to American charlatans than UK ones.

          • ScienceMonkey, I like your phrase “appealing to ‘perceived’ authority” because it seems to me that this is effectively what often happens. If a friend said to me “Dr X told me that we should eat grapefruit every day”, I would assume that Dr X is a medical doctor (most likely my friend’s GP) and I’d be tempted to follow the advice without giving it much thought. My perceived authority would be the UK NHS because a medical doctor is, in effect, a proxy for the health authority.

            Although you and I can understand the difference between a valid appeal to expertise [e.g. a medical doctor], a valid appeal to authority [e.g. the health authority], and a fallacious appeal to authority [e.g. Dr X, ND, recommending eating grapefruit every day], most people are unaware of these important differences, not just in medicine, but in most branches of science. Far too many people still don’t know the difference between astronomy and astrology.

  • Couldn’t agree more, the sad part is that those courses even get started, not even that it takes years of protest to take down. What’s worse is those are imparted at public universities.
    And there are still plenty of other masters and courses in spanish universities. A few years back Fernando Frías started La lista de la vergüenza (The shame list) to expose all the pseudosciences taught in our universities and, boy, it is shameful…

  • As Andy Lewis pointed out on Twitter yesterday, the Homeopathy Research Institute held their first international research conference in Barcelona in 2013 (sponsored by Big Sugar)

    HRI Barcelona 2013: A significant step forward for homeopathy research

    The Homeopathy Research Institute’s 1st International Research Conference, ‘Cutting Edge Research in Homeopathy’, took place in Barcelona in May-June 2013. With a programme dedicated solely to high-end, robust scientific research, this was the first gathering of its kind in a decade. After 18 months of preparation and anticipation, the HRI team was delighted to witness the event being hailed as a resounding success by respected peers from around the world.

    It would be nice to think there was a causal link…

  • In the UK, universities started organising these pseudoscience degrees after being set up as profit driven rather than education and research driven. Is this the case in Spain?

  • A step in the right direction – now they just need to get the pharmaceutical courses to point out to their students that selling this stuff as trusted professionals to a vulnerable public is also WRONG! If you go into a pharmacy here (Barcelona), the shelves are full of nostrums and often it will be assumed you want something “natural” in preference to those nasty chemicals. I even know pharmacists who dose their own children with this rubbish.

    • I agree with Rita. There needs to be a world wide outrage campaign against promoting without proof(lying) the massive number of fake remedies, fake practitioners and magic snake oil products. The US and other countries should follow Spain’s example and shut down these lying cathedrals of bogus health care. Better public education as well as educating the legitimate health care providers about the ubiquitous nature and acceptance of Alternative health quackery is needed. There are many physicians who have no idea of the background and unscientific beliefs of chiropractors, and even make referrals to them, as opposed to another MD specialist and/or a PT. Homeopaths/Naturopaths have less credibility but unbelievable patient acceptance with their voodoo. We should be teaching the facts about the Alternative Industry in med schools and elsewhere.

  • “because of the doubt that exists in the scientific community.”

    Doubt? DOUBT? What doubt? There’s no doubt at all that homeopathy has no scientific basis whatsoever. It’s yet another not-apology, isn’t it? It leads me to wonder if the misled and exploited students – including those who already graduated with their degree in baloney – will get any refund at all.

  • The ultimate scandal when it comes to formal training in Big Snakeoil is in the USA. The Government-funded National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health was originally set up (with the title National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) to research sCAM. After years of being unable to prove efficacy of anything convincingly the Center has for many years been handing out generous grants for training in medicine that doesn’t work.

    It currently funds at least 14 training programs and fellowships in institutions that vary from the prestigious (Harvard Medical School, University of California at San Francisco) to the temples of irrationality (Palmer College of Chiropractic, A. T. Still University of Health Sciences).

    Because US universities (nowadays echoed by European ones) seem to be happy to take money from any source, you can study ‘Integrative Medicine’ at world-famous institutions such as the MD Anderson Cancer Institute (Texas), Memorial Sloan Kettering (New York), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Seattle) and the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore). There seems to be a focus on cancer centres, which means that these hospitals actively encourage practitioners of theatrical placebos around cancer patients. Personally, I think that the way in which sCAM practitioners prey on terminally ill cancer patients is one of the most ethically deplorable aspects of the whole business.

    By the way, the annual expenditure of the NCCIH has risen from $2M per year when it was founded in 1992 to $124M in 2015! (https://nccih.nih.gov/about/budget/appropriations.htm)

  • It is hard to imagine how one can be examined in pseudo-science at any ‘Institute’ or ‘University’ except as part of a course in anomalistic psychology studing critical thinking and why folks believe wierd things.

    The Duchess of Cornwall is reported to have spent weeks in 2010 and 2012 at the Soukya Centre, India where Royal suites cost $1000 a night (Daily Telegraph 29th October 2012, p. 2). This ‘Holistic Healing Centre’ is owned by Dr Isaac Mathai – ‘MD Homeopathy from the Hahnemann Post-graduate Institute of Homeopathy, London’. This ‘institute’ is actually at 42 – 44 High Street, Slough, Berkshire, not in London. No entrance examination is required for students. Nor, as far as I can see, do they need to be post-graduates.

    Mathai now runs a chain of homeopathic clinics in Bangalore where “Therapeutic programmes include those for Stress Management, Rejuvenation, Detoxification, Smoking Cessation and Anti-ageing. Conditions treated include acne, alcoholism, arthritis, anxiety, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, cirrhosis of the liver, osteoporosis, and sexual diseases. The fundamental principle underlying Holistic Treatment is that the natural defence and immune system of an individual when strengthened, has the potential to heal and prevent diseases.”

    And as for ‘dental homeopathy’ (see earlier commentary), I have just had an (expensive) implant, and in the take-away goody bag with toothpaste etc. was ‘Arnica 30C’. The dental nurse explained this would ease bruising. I asked what evidence she had for making such a statement – she was quite affronted. I also asked for reduction on my bill as I was not prepared to pay for something I did not want. She claimed it was ‘free’ (which shows how critical her thinking was).
    I have followed this up with the GDC and of course they have no policy on their registrants hoodwinking patients.
    They’re all at it.

    Sigh, but with a nice smile!

  • Is it just me, or are these anti-spam maths questions getting harder? I got one wrong a few weeks back.

    • Barrie, If you click the appended circle consisting of two semicircular arrows then you will be asked a different question. I don’t know if there’s a limit on how many times this can be repeated, but whatever the limit is, I’m sure that you will find it to be sufficient for your needs.

      • Ah….if in doubt, blame the teachers. It works for the Mail.
        As to your comment ‘Who didn’t?’ I’d like to say it’s beneath you, but….I’m struggling. While we’re on the subject-if you refer to an earlier comment I think you’ll find it’s ‘homing in’, not ‘honing’.
        It’s quite evident that the word ‘ I ‘ is, in this particular context, an abbreviation-condensation if you like- of the phrase ‘I am’. The apostrophe would be necessary only if one were abbreviating the phrase ‘I am’ to ‘I’m’.
        Get back to me if you need any more help incorrectly correcting other people’s grammar.
        In the meantime-as Johnny Frenchman has it- Let’s get back to our sheep.

        • I hope you don’t mind me chipping in guys – as realise you have moved on from the grammatical structure issue – to say grammar is back on the agenda – in UK schools, anyway. As we know teachers are at the beck and call of successive Governments. Currently, my daughter is teaching ‘fronted adverbials’ to Year 4 – children 9 years of age. I am sure if I had been taught this back in the 1950!s I would remember : sadly, my daughter had to give me a Mothering Sunday tutorial.

          • Well I did A Level English in 1967 and I never HEARD of them frontal adversarials.
            I’m happy to knock the Grammar thing on the head if people think it’s done and dusted.
            I’m sure the feller Ernst will eventually suggest we move on as we have somewhat drifted off-piste.

        • Barrie,

          Firstly, my comment about clicking the circle to obtain a different question was something I discovered by accident, have since found useful, and I’m sharing it with other readers in case they also find it useful.

          Secondly, what on earth are you going on about with the grammar? I have agreed that you were correct and I’ve thanked you for pointing out my error (because you provided me with an opportunity to learn). I am not the commenter who replied to you “Who didn’t? …”

          Enough already!

      • Whoa-back in the knifebox Miss Sharp.

    • If they get any harder, I’m going to get the computer to fill it in.

  • Science Monkey- I must admit that I too was slightly fooled by this ‘Board Certified’ fluffery. I thought it meant ‘certified by something like the British Institute of Homeopathy’, which itself would still be nonsense, but hadn’t realised it meant ‘certified by a Board I set up myself’.
    Isn’t this the kind of trick that Patrick Holford pulls?

    • The more I dig, the deeper the rabbit hole gets.

      I was a shocked by the level of deceit and how easy it was to do the deceiving. I initially thought what I saw could not possibly be correct or legal until I started digging. (Search “Rand Paul Board” to see what I mean about how to become Board Certified.). There are terms that are legally protected (MD), terms that aren’t (homeopath, nutritionist), and some that vary by state (naturopath). I can legally pay a diploma mill for an honorary doctorate and use the doctor designation.

      How pissed does this make those of you who actually paid and studied for their PhDs?

      • Homeopaths and their type use language in this deceitful way quite often.
        A couple of times I’ve read them claiming that the World Health Organisation ‘admits that homeopathy is the fastest-growing medical system in the world’ or similar. What they admit is the bit that says ‘to its dismay’.

  • To return briefly, and tangentially, to the whole subject of Grammar and phraseology.
    Just as homeopathy/altmed try their best to cloud the subject by use of creepy and duplicitous phrases like ‘Board certified’, so homeopaths will occasionally claim on their sites something along the lines that ‘The World Health Organisation admits that homeopathy is the fastest-growing medical blah blah blah system in the World’. But of course, what the homeopaths omit is the phrase ‘to the WHO’s dismay’.
    It’s a bit like admitting that Fascism seems to be making a bit of a comeback in the Western world, without including the addendum ‘We point this out as a fact, not because we’re happy about it’.

  • In South Africa homeopaths do a six year course learning this trash. I cannot for a moment understand what they are teaching them in SIX YEARS!. When your average medic qualifies, he can diagnose and treat many illness,
    He can certify a person dead ( a homeopath cannot) he can deliver a baby ( a homeopath cannot), he can handle many forms of trauma ( a homeopath cannot), he can set up an iv and administer a blood transfusion ( a homeopath cannot), he can appear in court as an expert witness ( a homeopath cannot)- so I ask with tears in my eyes, WHAT EXACTLY are they learning in six years ( I think the duration of the course is meant to mimic the six year medical degree in SA ).
    I once saw the dean of homeopathy at the DUT where homeopaths are trained , as a patient,(yes he had to see an ENT because he , by his own admission, needed surgery), and I put the question of homeopathy to him.His response was that I did not understand that people have a right to an ” alternative” form of treatment just as they might want tuition in alternative art, music etc.So I put it to him, that if people wanted to be treated with tarot cards, whether we should have a SIX YEAR course at the DUT in Tarot card reading?
    His reply:…..
    Yes of course!
    So how does one reason with the likes of this?

  • I WAS JUST ALERTED TO THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT [http://homeopathyeurope.org/amhb-challenges-university-of-barcelona-decision-to-remove-masters-of-homeopathic-medicine-course/]:

    March 6, 2016

    The University of Barcelona has cancelled the delivery of its Homeopathic Medicine Masters course, which is the only training for medical doctors and veterinarians accredited by the ECH in Spain.

    The Homeopathic Medical Academy of Barcelona (AMHB) has launched a petition seeking to have this decision overturned.

    The Homeopathic Medical Academy of Barcelona (AMHB) is a scientific society founded in 1890 by Dr. Sanllehy (Professor of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine of Barcelona). This society, which welcomes medical homeopaths from across Spain, regularly organises continuing education activities and scientific conferences, and co-edits the Medical Journal of Homeopathy. The AMHB also collaborates with the University of Barcelona (UB) to offer a Medical Homeopathy Master course exclusively for medical and veterinary doctors.

    The University of Barcelona has made the decision to cancel this course. AMHB oppose this decision and question the reasons offered as to why it has been removed, as it has been run successfully by the UB for 21 years (first as pre-graduate). The training boasted a high satisfaction rate among both students and coordinators.

    The cessation of this academic training means a restriction of the training offered to medical doctors and veterinarians to expand their therapeutic options, thus eliminating the ability to choose the therapeutic method which they deem most appropriate to address the needs of patients.

    The Bologna agreement for European Higher Education recommended the inclusion of non-conventional therapies (including homeopathy) in undergraduate studies of Health Sciences.

    In addition, the World Health Organization itself (WHO) recommends in its strategic plan 2014-2023, the integration of traditional medicine in health and education systems.

    Homeopathic medicines are regulated by the same legislation that governs conventional drugs, so it seems a contradiction that health professionals be inhibited in gaining knowledge about them and how to use them appropriately.

    Depriving health professionals of appropriate training in homeopathy, is to limit the freedom of people to be treated with homeopathic medicines and a loss of opportunity to improve their quality of life. Homeopathy is used by more than 400 million people in the world, 15 million of which are in Spain, and is recommended by over 10,000 doctors

    • “Depriving health professionals of appropriate training in homeopathy, is to limit the freedom of people to be treated with homeopathic medicines sucked in by quacks and a loss of opportunity to improve their quality of life put their health at risk. Homeopathy is used by more than 400 million [easily duped] people in the world, 15 million of which whom are in Spain, and is recommended by over 10,000 doctors sad excuses for medical practitioners, who ought to know better.”

    • Is it possible to establish exactly what the WHO has and hasn’t said about alternative medicine? There’s a claim made here about what they’ve said that I’m a little suspicious about. As I’ve said before, I’ve read homeopaths claiming that the WHO ‘admits’ that homeopathy is the fastest growing medical system in the world, but they like to omit the part where they say ‘to their dismay’. Perhaps in the belief that diluting the truth makes it more powerful.

    • There are more interesting news.

      Shorlty after Universidad de Barcelona cancelled it’s Master, the Medical College of Barcelona anounced the cancellation of it’s own formative programs on homeopathy . This was an important setback for the homeopaths, as the College had it’s own courses and supported others in Universidad de Barcelona and Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.

      As a result of those anouncements, the media informed that other universities are reviewing or already had cancelled their own courses on homeopathy. Usually, with a few exceptions, spanish media are very friendly towards this practice, presenting it as a legitimate form of medicine, but this time was different and newspapers, radio magazines and TV news were full of critics towards homeopathy.

      After some days of this situation, the spanish branch of Boiron issued a press conference “in defense of homeopathy”. The speaker was Valerie Lorentz-Poinsot, Deputy General Manager of the group. Frankly, when I read the anouncement I thought that this was a mistake by Boiron, but I was wrong: it was a complete fiasco. Redacción Médica, one of the most important newspapers in health information, titled it’s chronicle of the event “Ridículo de Boiron en su defensa de la homeopatía” (“Boiron was ridiculous in it’s defense of homeopathy”) and other papers and news agencies pointed out that Ms Lorentz-Poinsot was unable to explain hoy their remedies “work” and that Boiron “research” consisted only of a handful of dubious surveys. And, more significantly, not a single paper, radio or TV published a more friendly report of the press conference.

      The folowing days have seen more columns, articles, reports and comentaries critizing or even making fun of homeopathy. In fact, as I’m writing this a very popular TV program is airing a gag mocking homeopathy.

      It has been a devastating blow to the prestige of homeopathy. Not definitive, of course (homeopathy has proved to be as resilient as, ahem, a water filtration), but very serious. In fact this has been a truly “homeopathy awareness week (and a bit)” in Spain -but not to the joy of homeopaths.

      • Fascinating news.

        I saw an unconfirmed report that Boiron Spain had blocked the Twitter accounts of several Spanish critics. It sounds as if they are panicking.

        • Yes, Acleron, it was very funny. Boiron blocked everyone tweeting with the hashtag #PreguntaABoiron (“Ask Boiron”). I don’t know how many accounts were blocked, but the hashtag was Trending Topic in Spain for almost an entire day, so there were quite a few. In fact the next day the papers talked about “the hashtag that ruined Boiron reputation”.

          • if you ask me, Boiron have already ruined their reputation – all by themselves and without any outsiders’ help: http://edzardernst.com/2015/11/finally-a-rational-considered-defence-of-homeopathy/

          • I’m almost beside myself with glee. Will any other institutions follow those in Spain? Surely they.’d have to do a lot of fancy footwork to explain why not?

          • in the UK, most universities have already stopped courses in homeopathy years ago

          • Yes, there are other Universities talking about cancelling their own homeopathy courses. This is not new -in fact it has been a work of years and other universities have already cancelled their courses, such as Zaragoza, Murcia, Sevilla, Córdoba…- but those last news are increasing the pressure over the rest of them: local media are making unconfortable questions and highlighting the protests of many teachers and alumni against the courses.

            The same day that Boiron made their “homeopathic suicide”, the chairman of the Organización Médica Colegial -the organism that groups all Medical Colleges- stated that homeopathy is not a legitimate form of medicine and that it’s unethical to treat patients with it. In later days he was even more critical against homeopathy.

            This is a great advance from the ambigous position that the Organización had usually held, and in fact some Medical Colleges began to quietly cancel their previously programmed talks and presentations by homeopaths.

            The only oficial Colleges that still support homeopathy are those of Pharmacist, but they face strong critics in the medical press and among many of their affiliates.

          • Fernando- I just read that although homeopathy has been admitted to be foolishness, the course at Barcelona university, which has 20 students, is to continue to its completion in October. What’s the ethical position on this?Also, I see that there was a certain amount of uproar in Spain after a 6-year old boy died of diphtheria because his mother, who worked at a homeopathic ‘hospital.’ , refused to have him vaccinated.

          • Hello, Barrie.

            1. Barcelona university has chosen the easy path, as they have a contract with the students and it would be difficult to break it, but you are right about the ethical issues. In fact many homeopaths earned their accreditations in courses already cancelled -the chairman of the Society of Veterinary Homeopaths, for example, has an “University Expert” degree by Universidad del País Vasco, although then years ago that university scrapped that and other pseudoscientific courses. By the moment seems that the social discredit of homeopathy will turn those accreditations useless, but in any case they will have a paper signed by an University, and that is a problem.

            2. In the case of the boy who died from diphtheria the outrage focused on the anti-vaccination movement. Many homeopaths are also antivaxxers, but they sought to keep their mouths shut in those days and their reputation was only slighty damaged. But last january a 7-year old boy died of asthma when his parents tried to treat him with homeopathy, and although the homeopaths tried to tried to excuse themselves saying that their practice is “complementary”, not “alternative”, the fact that both cases took place in Catalonia, affected two chids of short age and were related to homeopaths, must have been one of the factors that forced the scrapping of the courses.

          • “The only oficial Colleges that still support homeopathy are those of Pharmacist, but they face strong critics in the medical press and among many of their affiliates.”

            And so they should. If homeopathy requires individualized prescription with careful diagnosis and discussion with the patient by a well-trained homeopath, as we are so often told, then having pharmacists sell homeopathic medicines water over the counter without all the vitalist consultation is very wrong. Of all people selling homeopathy, pharmacists should feel most ashamed of themselves!

  • [Homeopathic medicines are regulated by the same legislation that governs conventional drugs, so it seems a contradiction that health professionals be inhibited in gaining knowledge about them and how to use them appropriately.]-THIS IS TOTALLY UNTRUE… homeopathy is not regulated by the same standards as scientific and evidence based medicine!!!
    There is not a scrap of evidence anywhere that homeopathy improves the quality of life of anyone..how sad that people and especially professionals can be thus deluded

  • Homeopaths will blame everyone else before themselves:

    http://hpathy.com/medical-cartoons/big-pharma/

  • Alan Henness et al – I am liking Spain VERY much.
    By the way- I just got accused AGAIN on Amazon of being in the pay of Big Pharma, simply for deriding a ‘book’ by a fascist lunatic that makes grotesque claims about cancer ‘cures’. I’m not pulling the ‘fascist’ thing out of the air by the way, she is.
    Isn’t it amazing how quickly things can change, once the groundwork has been done and then someone just pulls a brick out of the superstructure. Of course, people who want to believe nonsense will always find ways of doing so, but it’s vitally important to remove any intellectual credibility they might like to claim. Bit of a game changer. Well done Spain.

  • Thanks Alan, for the pointer to homeopath Schmuckler’s revealing cartoons. This one we can certainly relate to 🙂

  • A Veterinary Surgeon’s tale (er – tail?)…….and while reading bear in mind that we derive a fair bit of income from the neutering of animals (cue ribaldry and immense scope for humour)… … …

    There was a gathering of 4th and 5th year students over a long weekend suffering an intensive course in all things “after qualifying”, production of CVs and many more such important matters.

    One of the extended sessions was on the management of a practice and the economics, marketing, profitability – and in a questionnaire passed round in order to trawl the depths of their understanding thus far, they were asked for ideas as to how the practice could be made to increase turnover and more importantly, improve the level of profit. There was a prize on offer and it was unanimously decided to award it to the brilliant mind that conceived the following:-
    “Homeopathic castration” – which created intense numbers of boggled minds! Enjoy.

  • I see that Uganda is threatening to jail parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated. I expect Mike Adams will have a not entirely sane comment to make about this on his increasingly deranged ‘Natural News’ site. Anybody got any views? I’m afraid this subject rather tends to bring out my inner Daily Mail reader, so I’ll hang back.

  • In Spanish, so relying on Google Translate: The University of Valencia also is no master of homeopathy:

    The University of Valencia next year will not offer its controversial Master in naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy, after nine editions at a price of 3,000 euros per student . “The promoters have not submitted the request within the time limit had” confirmed a spokesman for the institution. The decision is another nail in the coffin of this pseudoscience in Spain. Just a month ago, the University of Barcelona -another few public still taught a graduate this pseudociencia- decided to strike down his master’s degree in homeopathy for “lack of scientific basis”.

    It goes on to say:

    The master of Valencia, sponsored by Boiron, was co – directed by Gerardo Stübing , professor of botany at the university … Following the withdrawal of the master of Valencia, the National University of Distance Education remains more alone keeping his postgraduate course on homeopathy . University of Sevilla suspended his MA in 2009 and Cordoba canceled its courses in 2013. The University of Zaragoza also left the Boiron Chair of Homeopathy in 2014, after five years of cooperation.

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