By guest blogger Norbert Aust

The Germany based Informationsnetzwerk Homöopathie (“Information network Homeopathy”, INH) is a group of critics of homeopathy, with doctors, pharmacists, and other scientists as members.

Among other activities we are running a few websites to provide sound information not so much to the academic but to the more layman public and patients on what homeopathy really is all about. This should counterbalance the very positive impressions created by promotion and marketing activities of providers of homeopathic services, that is, manufacturers, pharmacies and practitioners. We want to offer some reliable source of information which otherwise is seldom to be found in Germany. And we want to strip homeopathy of its reputation of being an effective therapy – and of course have it banned from pharmacies, universities and public health insurance. But this is another issue.

More than once we were asked if our pages were available in English – and now we are happy to announce that we started to transcribe some of our content. We – that is Udo Endruscheit, Sven Rudloff and myself – are working on that project one piece at a time. We started with a series of quite new articles originally published in German about the FAQs that can be found on the website of the Homeopathic Research Institute (HRI). We feel, this might be of interest for some of the English readers too. As these FAQs are available in more than just English or German, HRI seems to try to set some standard of arguments to rebuke their critics and provide arguments in favour of homeopathy – with some doubtful, some very doubtful and many outright wrong points. (BTW: If someone feels inclined to translate our English (or German) versions to yet another language, please proceed. Just give us credit and let us have some link to the site where you publish the translation.)

You may find our articles on two of our sites, namely the INH-website for just reading and my blog, where you can comment and discuss them. In the future, my blog will contain a more in depth analysis and the INH-website will provide a more easy to read version – but this is to be in the future.

Here are the links:

HRI FAQ #1: There is no evidence my blog; INH-Website.

HRI FAQ #2: No good positive trials my blog; INH-Website.

HRI FAQ #3: It’s impossible my blog; INH-Website.

In future, all my English articles will be found here but right now there are only the three listed above.

This of course is work in process and sooner – or more probable later – all our articles that we feel may find interest with a more international public will be translated into English. However, if any of you readers would want to have a special article of ours translated at once, please feel free to contact me by commenting on my blog or by email (dr.norbert.aust(at)t(minus)online(dot)de – just drop the dots before the (at) and replace what is in brackets with the proper signs).

10 Responses to The German “Information Network Homeopathy” (INH) goes international

  • Danke! (Disclaimer: The forgoing German word was translated from English using Google Translate. Although not always flawlessly correct, by comparison, this service is immeasurably more accurate than homeopathic “science”.)

  • I would welcome a review of the motives of homeopaths.
    Do they simply ignore the evidence; are faith healers; are motivated by the profit motive; the prophet motive (‘I’m a know all’)?
    What is ‘ringing their bell’?
    Has any work been done on their psychology, intellectual integrity, morality?
    Are they rational human beings with valuable insights; totally deluded; quacks; or frauds?

    And why is the German population so tolerant of their activities in pressing their beliefs (to which they are of course entitled), on otherwise innocent members of the public – e.g. demanding that remedies are paid for by public health insurance.

    The Chief Medical Officer (England and Wales), Dame Sally Davies, has said “Homeopathy is rubbish.”
    What does the German Health Minister say?

    I do not oppose individual patients purchasing such services or remedies as may help them ‘feel better’ – but if they seek advice from a healthcare professional – doctor, nurse, pharmacist, homeopath – they must be given all the necessary information to make a wise decision. And that includes an indication that there is no reproducible plausible evidence the remedies have any effect whatsoever beyond the placebo. And advertising and marketing of remedies should not make unsubstantiated claims either. Which is where we came in.

    • Whats going on in the minds of people that provide homeopathy as manufacturer, adviser or therapist is unknown to me.

      Unfortunately, the situation in Germany is as favorable for homeopathy as can be. There is no official statement by any recognized organization of participants in our health system against homeopathy, neither from politicians nor from scientists. Quite the opposite is the case:

      – You can take courses in homeopathy while studying medicine at many universities as this is included in the regulations for exams in medicine (“Approbationsordnung für Ärzte”)

      – As a medical doctor you can take courses offered by the official chambers of doctors (don’t know, what “Ärztekammer” might be in English) and become a recognized specialist in homeopathy. About 7000 did as yet.

      – Hospitals, even some university-clinics host stations for homeopathic treatment of infants and grown ups.

      – As a layman you can attend a multitude of evening classes about homeopathy, very often sponsored by the big manufacturers or by the local homeopaths. Virtually any agency who offers such courses – including church, red cross, hospitals, even farmer’s associations – offer courses in homeopathy (“Homeopathy in springtime”, “Homeopathy during childhood”, “Homeopathy on travel”, “Homeopathy in the treatment of dairy cows” and many more).

      – Homeopathic preparations are recognized as “medical remedies” without any prior test of efficacy, and thus have to be sold in pharmacies. When you buy such a package it really has the look and feel of a proper medicine, including proper registration number and the notice to keep it away from children.

      – There are pharmacies that really specialized in homeopathy, many more advertise it and actively recommend its use.

      – Many public health insurance companies cover full homeopathic treatment under certain conditions, namely, when you consult a doctor who has a special contract with your health insurance.

      – The media are full of articles praising homeopathy as a powerful but gentle treatment for more or less all the maladies there are, especially of course papers and websites targeted at women and young families. The bookshelves in libraries burst with readers and manuals.

      – Ahh, not to forget, even Big Pharma is opposed to drop homeopathy from our public health system, BAH (Bundesverband der Arzneimittelhersteller, one of the three pharma-associations in Germany) even operates a website promoting homeopathy.

      Being a critic of homeopathy feels somewhat like being part of a conspiracy theory.

      But, there is hope: In 2017 sales of homeopathic preparations dropped by 3 % after a steady rise sometimes with two digit percentages over the past years. Outcome of our work? Who knows.

      • Why dont you get some direct experience of homeopathy instead of relying on your intellectualization of the subject? As they say, “Ignorance is no defense against the law (of similars).” As a “Skeptic” you are the perfect subject for this experiment.

    • I personally have the texts of 800 books written by homeopathic physicians over the last 200+ years. In them they carefully document their cures so that other homeopathic physicians can learn from them. Why dont you spend some time and actually learn something about homeopathy and homeopaths. It might clear up your mis-perceptions.

      • Big woop. I’ve got a collection of books of fairy stories.

        Roger. As ever, the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence”. If you could point out exactly what we don’t know about homeopathy and homeopaths.. You, on the other hand, appear to be ignorant of the concepts of placebo and Regression To The Mean.

      • Well, Roger, I did. And it cleared up my misconceptions – and made me a critic.

      • I don’t doubt the time and resources devoted over the millenia to studying, documenting and working out the details of a great many complex belief systems that are not based on reality. In the absence of the scientific method as a way of approximating the truth people have thought up all sorts of nonsense to explain what they did not understand. I am sure that there are more than 800 texts devoted to astrology, for instance. Or by doctors in the 18th and 19th centuries who did not have the benefit of a modern understanding of physiology and pathology.

        Indeed, I have just read in last week’s New Scientist that the Flat Earth Society has spent $20,000 on a very sensitive gyroscope in order to demonstrate that the Earth does not rotate (unfortunately despite all their attempts to shield the equipment from “heavenly influences” the gyroscope continued to record the Earth drifting at 15 degress per hour).

        One thing that distinguishes evidence-based medicine from the alternatives (which are based on dogma and magical thinking) is that both theory and practice and constantly changing in response to new data. Indeed, before ill-health forced me to retire I found that if I was treating my patients the same way as the previous year then I was not keeping up with the literature.

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