MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

An announcement by the UK Society of Homeopaths caught my attention. Here it is in its full and unabbreviated beauty:

START OF ANNOUNCEMENT

Homeopaths are being urged to contribute to an inquiry exploring ways to tackle a looming public health crisis threatened by ‘superbugs’ – bacteria resistant to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs.

The Commons Select Committee on Health and Social Care is inviting evidence for its investigation into the progress made by the government so far in responding to the challenge.

The two angles it is exploring are:

  • What results have been delivered by the current UK strategy on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), launched in 2013?
  • Key actions and priorities for the government’s next AMR strategy, due to be published at the end of 2018.

The Society of Homeopaths is putting together a submission and is asking members to submit their own evidence to the inquiry of using homeopathic alternatives to antimicrobials.

According to the inquiry background papers, antimicrobial resistance – in which bacteria have evolved into ‘superbugs’,  resistant to drugs devised to kill them – is a “significant and increasing threat” to public health in the UK and globally. EU data indicates that it is responsible for 700,000 deaths a year worldwide and at least 50,000 in the US and Europe.

The death toll could reach 10m people a year by 2050 if the rise in resistance is not headed off, it is estimated.

Society Chief Executive Mark Taylor said: “Our members know a great deal about the alternatives to antibiotics through their own practice and knowledge. This is a timely inquiry from the Health and Social Care Committee to assess the success of the existing strategy and an opportunity to make the case again for fresh thinking on this pressing public health challenge.”

END OF ANNOUNCEMENT

Yes, of course!

We have a crisis of antibiotic resistance.

Who is going to offer the solution?

THE HOMEOPATHS!!!

How?

They are going to treat us all with homeopathic remedies when the superbugs strike.

And the result?

No more crisis.

How come?

Because they have turned it into a catastrophe!!!

7 Responses to Homeopathy = hubris in allopathic doses

  • Anecdote is not evidence!

    Whilst I’m sure that civil servants have the wit to discard submissions from homeopaths unread in this case, in the case of public consultations, all submissions have to be read in full. Write-in campaigns like this one can waste public resources.

    Advocating the use of homeopathy for microbial infections is advocating neglect.

    It’s worth pointing out that the Committee is looking at evidence of progress by Government in tackling AMR. AMR is well studied and strategies to deal with problem are well understood. And some progress has been made see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reducing-infections-in-the-nhs

    Homeopaths do seem to have real problems with language comprehension.

  • Our members know a great deal about the alternatives to antibiotics through their own practice and knowledge

    There’s only thing we all know (and need to know) about those ‘alternatives’: they don’t work.

    On a related note: quite a few homeopaths keep on touting ‘homeoprophylaxis’ as an alternative to real vaccination, and claim that it is an effective way to prevent infectious disease. This is of course very dangerous, as people are led to believe that they can forego real vaccination and use a few inert sugar crumbs instead.
    One of the things that these homeopaths keep referring to as proof of effectiveness is this list of ‘trials’, compiled by Francis Sheffield (the very same who was fined well over AUS $100,000 for making false claims about pertussis vaccination and homeoprophylaxis as an alternative).

    Question: has this list already been comprehensively debunked somewhere? I know that some of these ‘trials’ (e.g. the leptospirosis trial in Cuba) were utterly demolished as soon as they were published, but to my knowledge, most of the items on the list go unchallenged so far.
    Debunking these things isn’t all that difficult in most cases – already half can be rejected on the basis of being undocumented anecdotes alone – but it would be nice to aggregate it in one place, similar to Liz Ditz’ debunk list of papers that purportedly link autism to vaccines.

    E.g. the Kerala, India chikungunya study is easily debunked: epidemiological data from the Indian government shows that during outbreaks, typically 15%-20% of exposed people contract the disease, i.e. exactly the rate of the ‘protected’ group. The number of 73% of unprotected people contracting the disease mentioned by the homeopaths is either an anomaly, or the result of, erm, ‘creative counting’ (i.e. lying). In the same manner, many other studies can be dismissed as being based on speculative or plain false data.
    (Not to mention the fact that the actual ‘study’ is utterly laughable in its naïve simplicity and fatally flawed methodology – surveys are a notoriously unreliable tool for medical research.)

    • My apologies for the mangled link at the end, but I didn’t get the usual chance to review and correct my comment. I guess this has to do with the server migration process… [strange, it seems to work again now, perhaps a cookie issue]

      Mr. Ernst, could you insert the correct /a tag instead of my erroneous /p after my reference to Liz Ditz? And this comment can then be left out of course.

      • Fixed it.

        Yes, if you have any issues, please clear the cookies for edzardernst.com from your browser. That will hopefully fix most transient issues.

    • “Question: has this list already been comprehensively debunked somewhere?”

      The problem is these lists of so-called ‘evidence’ keep popping up and trying to address them all is like playing whackamole – one can never keep up, it can take ages to properly look into and refute a single claim and in that time they’ve already posted another 100 or so. The fact they are all bunkum matters not a whit to homeopaths who are more interested in winning at any cost rather than getting to the truth and will say and do anything it takes.

      Trying to deal with similar lists posted elsewhere I ended up doing this:

      http://www.rationalvetmed.org/the%20best%20they%20can%20do.html

      And then that turned into a whole website:

      http://www.rationalvetmed.org/

      With an index of papers of this sort here:

      http://www.rationalvetmed.org/academic%20papers.html

      I hope that helps a bit (and any other contributions are welcome) but really it feels like I am swimming against a great tide of ordure sometimes! I’m sure others feel the same occasionally.

      Niall

  • Well, I suppose the use of homeopathy can’t result In bacteria becoming any more resistant to it than they already are…

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