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

I am truly saddened and shocked to hear that Peter Fisher has died. Apparently, he was cycling to work on 15 August, when, at 9.30 am, he was hit and fatally injured by a lorry. The Faculty of Homeopathy published the following statement:

The Faculty of Homeopathy has to announce with great sadness, news of the death of the Faculty President, Dr Peter Fisher in a road accident near the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM), London, UK, on the morning of 15th August 2018.

Dr Fisher was Director of Research at the hospital, Europe’s largest centre for integrative medicine. He was also Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was previously Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at King’s College Hospital. He was also one of the world leaders in homeopathic research, and will be sorely missed not only by his family and UK friends and colleagues but around the whole world.

A graduate of Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Homeopathy, he was a widely published expert in rheumatology and forms of complementary and alternative medicine. Dr Fisher chaired the World Health Organisation’s working group on homeopathy and was a member of WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional and Complementary Medicine. He was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal of the Polish Academy of Medicine in 2007.

Further detail will appear on the website in due course.

______________________________________________________________

This is how Peter described himself on the Bupa website:

I specialise in homeopathy and other forms of complementary medicine, integrated with conventional treatment, for rheumatological complaints including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and soft tissue syndromes such as Fibromyalgia. Also for skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis and a range of general medical problems. I accept both NHS and Private referrals.

I am Associate Clinical Director and Director of Research at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, Europe’s largest centre for integrative medicine.

I am also Physician to Her Majesty The Queen.

I was previously Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at King’s College Hospital. I am a graduate of Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Faculty of Homeopathy. I am accredited as a specialist in both homeopathy and rheumatology.

_____________________________________________________________________

I knew Peter well. We first met when we both served on a EU committee on homeopathy in Brussels for several years. I do not think that I exaggerate, if I say that we became friends. I did respect him for his relatively prudent stance on many things related to homeopathy. For instance, he was an outspoken critic of the anti-vaxx attitude of many of his fellow homeopaths. We even have two publications together:

Complementary medicine must be research led and evidence based.

How should we research unconventional therapies? A panel report from the Conference on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Methodology, National Institutes of Health.

He was also a contributor of my book ‘HOMEOPATHY, A CRITICAL APPRAISAL‘ where he co-authored a chapter on homeopathic pathogenetic trials which contained the sentence, ” It is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion regarding the true effects of homeopathic medicines in healthy volunteers...”

And, in 2015, we published a BMJ ‘head to head’ together where we outlined our differences regarding homeopathy:

Should doctors recommend homeopathy?

It is no secret to regular readers of this blog that, lately, we disagreed on many things. In the course of these differences, our friendship regrettably fell apart.

I am nevertheless deeply saddened to hear of this tragic accident.

122 Responses to Peter Fisher (1950-2018)

  • It is uncomfortable to speak ill of the departed, yet when they have held a high profile in a contentious domain of public interest, context should be considered.

    The Times of 17th August reports on Dr Peter Fisher’s untimely death and tells us: “Dr Fisher was drawn into alternative treatments by seeing a woman having a stomach operation with only acupuncture as anaesthetic during a visit to China in 1972.”

    As has been very well documented since, when President Richard Nixon visited China, the visitors were not told or had it explained to them that the patient received a sedative and hypnosis in addition to acupuncture. That case was not dealt with by “only acupuncture” – but the state-sponsored practitioners were keen to promote their cultural superiority and the benefits of their ‘ancient techniques’, in spite of Emperor Daoguang having banned acupuncture in 1822, and Mao Zedong stating he did not use it. Did Fisher really visit China in the same year as Nixon? Was Fisher in the group with Nixon? Or did Fisher simply read a report? Is the Time’s comment false reporting – not unheard of in the field of alternative medicine?

    Fisher appears to have been fooled and taken in (as was Nixon) – and his career was founded on falsehood. Oh dear. The true background to the case Nixon was shown became well known but Fisher appears to have been incapable of assessing the evidence and drifted into even more bizarre therapeutic modalities, principally, homeopathy. Whether he seriously believed that the sugar pillules he prescribed to his patients did actually provide an active ingredient, or whether he recognised he was a quack we shall never know, but for Gill Gaskin, medical director of the specialist hospitals board at University College Hospital, London, to say that “Peter was a highly regarded colleague….” stretches incredulity. UCH prides itself on basing its care in evidence -based medicine.

    In the past, the RLHIM has advertised that in addition to homeopathy it provided acupuncture for a variety of conditions. Following a complaint, the Advertising Authority held a two-year review and in June 2013 adjudicated that the advertising was misleading, could not be substantiated and breached Code of Practice rules 3.1, 3.7 and 12.1 “The leaflets must not appear again making these claims.” (See the Nightingale Collaboration.) This was Fisher’s domain, and reflects his loose attachment to science, reality, and integrity. When I asked him for a copy of the information sheet or leaflet he gave his prospective patients, there was no information available. Fisher did not obtain fully informed consent from his patients – he relied on their vulnerability and gullibility, his own charisma, and he sought to defraud the NHS by prescribing ‘remedies’ containing no active ingredients whatsoever. He was a specialist in quackery and a consultant charlatan, wearing not the black cloak of a magician, but the white coat of a physician.

    Magic and medicine have been ancient bed follows. Another modern personage who claimed he could conjure vital forces and energies capable of bending spoons and the like (though he balked at claiming he could thereby affect pathology), is Uri Geller. But even he has more recently moderated his stance and is now happy to be acclaimed as a highly capable magician. No so Fisher. He remained a promoter of his vital forces in variously and imaginatively labelled containers designed to appease the whims and fancies of patients needing emotional support. (“Do not touch the contents with your fingers” – as if that made the slightest difference!). The contents of those containers cannot be distinguished except by their labels – as stated in evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s 2010 report on Homeopathy. The fact that many patients claim to have benefited from Dr Fisher’s empathic ministrations in a constructive therapeutic relationship is irrelevant. The pillules he prescribed did nothing. He was a therapeutic prostitute – using his undoubted talents corruptly and unworthily.

    The Times also reports: “Frederic Quin, who founded the London Homeopathic Hospital in 1849, had been a physician to Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s father-in-law.” As recent TV dramas have depicted – Prince Leopold had a forceful, devious and malign character. “But that was in a TV show…” homeopaths will say. “…it was fiction.” Precisely. Say no more.

    • “Whether he seriously believed that the sugar pillules he prescribed to his patients did actually provide an active ingredient,………….”

      Comparison of homeopathic globules prepared from high and ultra-high dilutions of various starting materials by ultraviolet light spectroscopy
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229915300388

      Globules prepared from high dilutions of A. napellus, sulfur and A. mellifica showed significantly different UV absorbance compared to solvent control globules when dissolved in water. This study has expanded our findings from aqueous high dilutions to globules, and it suggests that characteristics of aqueous high dilutions may be preserved and detectable in dissolved globules.

      • ROFL!

        Have you any guesses as to why anone who’s spent more than five minutes working in a lab would laugh at that? As is frequently the case, the first clues are in the materials and methods section.

        • Alan Henness

          It took your physics 200 years to start decoding homeopathy. Chemistry would take another 25 years(?) and for people like you, a few generations?

          And how long do you plan to remain on the floor? A homeopath can help you stand up. I am not a homeopath but I know enough to help:

          HYOSCYAMUS NIGER: Disturbs the nervous system profoundly. It is as if some diabolical force took possession of the brain and prevented its functions. It causes a perfect picture of mania of a quarrelsome and obscene character. Inclined to be unseemly and immodest in acts, gestures and expressions. Very talkative, and persists in stripping self.

          BARYTA CARBONICA: Specially indicated in infancy and old age. This remedy brings aid to scrofulous children, especially if they are backward mentally and physically, are dwarfish, do not grow and develop.

          CAUSTICUM: Manifests its action mainly in chronic rheumatic, arthritic and paralytic affections, indicated by the tearing, drawing pains in the muscular and fibrous tissues, with deformities about the joints; progressive loss of muscular strength, tendinous contractures. Broken down seniles.
          Weak ankles. Cannot walk without suffering.Burning in joints. Slow in learning to walk. Unsteady walking and easily falling.

          This is part of the combination remedy system: the first for your attitude and the other 2 for physical issues.
          These will allow you to be a normal human being.

          • LOL!

            Nice try at yet another diversion. You present a paper you think supports whatever it was you were trying to claim about homeopathy, yet asked a simple question about it you fail to answer it and run away to hide somewhere else.

            Go on, give my question your best shot: read the M&M section, muster all the brainpower you have available and have a long, deep think about what it says and try to come up with some suggestions about why what it says – and what it doesn’t say – might give some clues about the usefulness (or otherwise) of what it claims to have found. You can do it… but if you can’t. it’ll be entertaining at least to see you try. No more diversions.

          • @Iqbal
            You wrote:

            It took your physics 200 years to start decoding homeopathy.

            [emphasis is mine]

            Do you mean to say, dear Iqbal, that there is another, alternative ‘physics’ we are not aware of and is not ours?

          • But is this other physics an alternative to ‘our’ physics, or complementary to it, Björn ?

          • Björn Geir

            “……….that there is another, alternative ‘physics’ we are not aware of and is not ours?”

            The physics that you know is Newtonian and has no link to medicine. The mess that is seen today in health care outcomes perfectly matches the input garbage.

            The physics that I differentiate defines the dynamic nature of matter and links it to energy. Plank, Bohr, Raman, Serge Haroche, John L. Hall…this study has just begun.

          • oh dear, you are surpassing yourself!

          • Apropos hallucinatory ramblings of a homeopath…

            Remember the homeopaths in Handeloh, Germany who were proving one of their magic remedies and lost their collective minds? Whatever came out of the investigations of that incident and what were the consequences?

      • This paper was in a journal dedicated to alternative medicine.
        Have you any helpful references in peer reviewed scientific journals?

        • Richard Rawlins

          A journal dedicated to alternative medicine does not understand science?

          Something similar, but I doubt you will understand.
          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437103000475

          Raman spectroscopy shows difference in drugs at ultrahigh dilution prepared with stepwise mechanical agitation

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/302577400

          • The first paper is from 2003, Iqbal. Surely such important results would have been replicated by other researchers. They haven’t? Ooh. I wonder why that is, then?

            The second paper has been shown to be utter twaddle. And this has been explained to you elsewhere. You seem to have memory problems, Iqbal. Best you take an appropriate remedy.

          • Lenny

            In the first paper, look at where they got their homeopathic products to test:

            To that end we did prepare ourselves, courtesy ofthe BOIRON LABORATORIES, ultra-high dilutions oflithium chloride and sodium chloride by successive dilutions to the hundredths, all done under vigorous mechanical stirring (initially 1 g in 100 cm3, then 1 cm3 ofthis solution in 99 cm3 ofpure D2O … and so on) until we reached— theoretically—at the 15th dilution, a “concentration” of10−30 g cm−3. A reference sample ofD2O alone was also prepared according to this technique, still keeping vigorous agitation (150 strokes=7:5 s at each successive “dilution” step).

            And of course, homeopaths don’t usually irradiate their magic sugar pills with xrays, do they?

            The second paper:

            Medicines: UHDs of Natrum muriaticum (Nat-
            m) and Sulphur (Sulph) in 30cH, 200cH, and 1000cH potencies were used for the
            experiments. All drugs, purchased in sealed vials from the local market, Kolkata, were products of Dr. Reckeweg, Germany. The drugs were in 90% ethanol as mentioned on their label.

            And Iqbal wants us to think these are more than Mickey Mouse experiements with earth-shattering results…

          • Edzard

            “1) To conduct rigorous, inter-disciplinary and international collaborative research into the efficacy, safety and cost of complementary medicine.”
            Here you worked for 18 years and found nothing efficacious or safe? You made international collaborative research with which organization? Any organization dealing in complementary medicine?

            2) To further analytical thinking in this area.”
            Can you provide link for me to some of your papers that address this issue?

          • are you a complete moron?

          • I better don’t even ask what that means!

          • 🙂

            There’s an acronym that’s frequently used: QTWTAIN – Questions To Which The Answer Is No – used to signify that the answer to the question is so blindingly obvious, it needs no answer. These questions usually follow Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. QTWTAIY is a variation.

          • Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

            I like that one. Didn’t know it either. Thanks! It is similar to my own principle that any headline ending in an exclamation mark can be safely ignored.

          • Lenny, explain me about “the second paper has been shown to be utter twaddle. And this has been explained to you elsewhere. You seem to have memory problems,”. You can explain in detail the technical problems and I can inform to authors.

        • That is a disgraceful comment by a scientism-ist lost in the fog of materialism. As the founding managing editor of a well reputed journal in CAM I can assure you that our peer review processes are as good as those of any other medical journal hosted by EVISE, and subscribing to the standards of the International Committee of Editors of Medical Journals. Look at the evidence.! Revise your opinions, and don’t attempt to spread defamatory nonsense about things about which you neither know nor care. Disgraceful!!! Indeed!

          Further, the physics of biology depends critically on critical instabilities identified in complexity biology as the loci of control of most if not all regulatory processes in biology. This condition clearly identified by over 50 years research in complexity biology gives the entire subject domain a different characteristic. As I have shown, Hormesis plus criticality is able to provide a rigorous physical theory of the action of therapeutically active ingredients resulting from homeopathic dilution on problems in organism regulation, arising from loss of criticality at the epigenetic level. The TAI’s consist of critical point fluctuations, the theory of which I was able to develop as a result of my training at M.I.T. at the hands of Steven Weinberg in quantum field theory (under whom I published two small papers), and H,E, Stanley with whom I publish almost a dozen. My interest in medicine arose from my work at the Karolinska Institute(t) in 1965 and 68 which resulted in my first scientific publication in 1968 in conjunction with Bengt Samuelson’s student Professor Erik Anggard, the then Professor of Biochemistry who later became Sir John Vane’s Chief of Staff at Barts. Don’t mess with me, I know what I am talking about.

          • ” As the founding managing editor of a well reputed journal in CAM I can assure you that our peer review processes are as good as those of any other medical journal ”
            as you know, sound peer review requires CRITICAL thinkers on the editorial board. I had a look at the ed board of Journal of ‘Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine’; I don’t see a single person there who might be called critical of Ayurveda, do you? :
            Editor-in-Chief
            Bhushan Patwardhan
            Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India

            Editorial Advisors
            Julia Arnold
            Translational Research Program, National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, USA

            Brent Bauer
            Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA

            Gerard Bodeker
            Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, UK

            B N Gangadhar
            National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, India

            G G Gangadharan
            MS Ramaiah Indic Center for Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bengaluru, India

            Y K Gupta
            All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

            B M Hegde
            Former Vice Chancellor, Manipal University, Manipal, India

            Vishwa Mohan Katoch
            Former Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India

            K Satya Lakshmi
            National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune, India

            R K Mutatkar
            Tagore Research Scholar and Former Professor, Pune University, Pune, India

            H R Nagendra
            S-VYASA University, Bengaluru, India

            John Porter
            London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

            V Prakash
            Former Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysuru, India

            K Satyanarayana
            Former Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India

            Darshan Shankar
            Transdisciplinary University, Bengaluru, India

            Editorial Review Board Members
            A V Balasubramanian
            Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, Chennai, India

            Jorge Berra
            Fundación de Salud Ayurveda Prema, Argentina

            Manoj Bhasin
            Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

            Narendra S Bhatt
            Indian Association for Study of Traditional Asian Medicine, Mumbai, India

            Mukund Bhole
            Former Scientist, Kaivalyadhama Yoga Research Institute, Lonavala, Lonawala, India

            Maarten Bode
            University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

            P Brindha
            Centre for Advanced Research in Indian System of Medicine, Sastra University, Thanjavur, India

            Harpal Buttar
            Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

            Sharad Deshpande
            Former Professor, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India

            R Galib
            All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

            Aayam Gupta
            Centro Cultural India, Embassy of India, Peru and Bolivia, Lima, Peru

            Alex Hankey
            S-VYASA University, Bengaluru, India

            Lal Hingorani
            Pharmanza Herbal Pvt Ltd, Anand, India

            Simone Hunziker
            Indo-Swiss Ayurveda-Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland

            R Ilavarasan
            Captain Srinivasa Murti Research Institute for Ayurveda and Siddha Drug Development, CCRAS, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India, Chennai, India.

            Rama Jayasundar
            All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

            Kalpana Joshi
            Department of Biotechnology, Sinhgad College of Engineering, Pune, India

            Chandra Kant Katiyar
            Research & Development, Emami Ltd., Kolkata, India

            Christian Kessler
            Immanuel Hospital, Berlin, Germany

            Pramod Khandekar
            Former Professor, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India

            Stephan Kloos
            Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria

            Nikolaos Kostopoulos
            Holistic Health Centre, Athens, Greece

            Subrahmanya Kumar
            School of Life Sciences, Transdisciplinary University, Bengaluru, India

            Martha Villar López
            Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, San Marcos, Peru

            Nitin Mantri
            School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

            Maximilian Moser
            Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical University of Graz, Weiz, Austria

            A M Mujumdar
            Former Scientist, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, India

            D B Anantha Narayana
            Ayurvidye Trust, Bengaluru, India

            Pratibha Nerurkar
            University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA

            Tanuja Nesari
            All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

            Pralhad Patki
            MS Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, India

            Narendra Pendse
            Ayurveda Physician, Pune, India

            Bhavana Prasher
            Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, India

            Nirmala Rege
            Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India

            Paolo Roberti di Sarsina
            Department of Orthopaedics, University of Milano Bicocca, Milano, Italy

            J L N Sastry
            Dabur Research and Development Centre, New Delhi, India

            K Satyamoorthy
            School of Life Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal, India

            Senthamil Selvan
            Melanoma Immunotherapy Program, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA

            B.R. Senthil Kumar
            National Institute of Siddha (An Autonomous body under Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India), Chennai, India

            Mohammad Khalid Siddiqui
            Former Director General, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, New Delhi, India

            Venil Sumantran
            Adjunct Professor, Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute, Chennai, India

            Tsering Tsamchoe
            Central Council of Tibetan Medicine, Dharamsala, India

            Padma Venkat
            School of Life Sciences, Transdisciplinary University, Bengaluru, India

            Naveen K Visweswaraiah
            Yogaksema – Stress & Lifestyle Clinic, Bengaluru, India

            Asmita Wele
            Ayurveda Chair, University of Debrecen, Hungary

          • “Further, the physics of biology depends critically on critical instabilities identified in complexity biology as the loci of control of most if not all regulatory processes in biology. This condition clearly identified by over 50 years research in complexity biology gives the entire subject domain a different characteristic. As I have shown, Hormesis plus criticality is able to provide a rigorous physical theory of the action of therapeutically active ingredients resulting from homeopathic dilution on problems in organism regulation, arising from loss of criticality at the epigenetic level.”

            Mighty word-salad there, Alex. Truly Benneth-esque.

            “Don’t mess with me, I know what I am talking about.”

            Indeed, Clearly. And have spent 50 years doing so, and in that time your work has shown homeopathy to be completely effective and based on a science which has caused textbooks in medicine, physics, biology and chemistry to be re-written and for which groundbreaking work your multiple Nobel prizes were well deserved.

            Oh. No. Didn’t happen, did it?

            It’s almost as if you’re talking out of your arse isn’t it?

          • Edzard

            ” I don’t see a single person there who might be called critical of Ayurveda, do you? ”

            The PERFECT QUESTION. You are the only person I have come across, who, while supposedly working for a particular cause, has knowingly tried his best to destroy it.

            If any one, in the above group, is critical of an issue of Ayurveda, it is their job to work on it to improve it. And after improvement is made, go to the press and talk about it. All you have done is to go to press and tell them how useless the complementary medicine was.

            Considering you were paid by the complementary medicine, was not one KRA to improve some aspect of it? What did you manage to achieve in this area? No guesses : NOTHING.

            Someone wrote how Laing set up a fund and you were recruited with a purpose of proving his beliefs in alternate medicine. Here also you failed miserably. You could not shake his belief for 18 years with all the amount of work that you say you did. If you would have managed to do so, and realizing that his beliefs were misplaced, he would have said thank you, paid you a large bonus and closed this funding.
            But Prince Charles had to intervene and save Laing some further expenses.

          • “You are the only person I have come across, who, while supposedly working for a particular cause, has knowingly tried his best to destroy it.”
            WHAT AN ABSURD STATEMENT!
            my job was to conduct rigorous reserach; I know you are blissfully unaware of what that means – but that’s precisely what I did.
            “Someone wrote how Laing set up a fund and you were recruited with a purpose of proving his beliefs in alternate medicine.”
            if that is true, that someone knows even less than you do.
            “Prince Charles had to intervene and save Laing some further expenses.”
            NOW THAT, FOR ONCE, IS TRULY FUNNY!!! you know nothing about this; why don’t you read a few informed texts?

          • Edzard said:

            why don’t you read a few informed texts?

            Ingrained habits are hard to change.

          • Edzard

            “my job was to conduct rigorous reserach; I know you are blissfully unaware of what that means – but that’s precisely what I did.”

            This you have stated over 100 times. As Chair of Complementary medicine, what did you do to improve complementary medicine? This question, you refuse to answer. Why not give it a try?

            For 18 years you pilloried complementary medicine as Chair of Complementary medicine by doing ” rigorous trials”. What were you trying to achieve for Complementary medicine as Chair of Complementary medicine?

            “if that is true, that someone knows even less than you do.”
            That person has a name: Acleron. Know the person?

            “NOW THAT, FOR ONCE, IS TRULY FUNNY!!! you know nothing about this; why don’t you read a few informed texts?”

            Actually I wanted it to be funny. I am glad you liked it. No texts required. Type Edzard Ernst on google, and this connection comes up. I thought, you knew that every one in complementary medicine loves Prince Charles for one good act of his.
            And I surely missed the icing on the cake: after your Munich College, Exeter University going the same route?
            “Exeter University offers bogus treatments, but is ‘not in a position to actively condone the effectiveness of such treatments”.

          • ” what did you do to improve complementary medicine?”
            this was not my remit!

          • Edzard

            “this was not my remit!”

            Great. Can you explain:

            What was the rationale behind the designation “Chair in Complementary Medicine “?

            An example of definitive designation: Head, Institutional Sales and Head Retail Sales provide clear definition.

          • I have published this so often!!!
            but as you seem to be especially slow on the uptake, here it is again:
            the designation ‘chair’ means head of department at a university.
            universities do not promote treatments, they scrutinise them and pride themselves of being critical.
            my task was defined at the outset and never changed; here is the quote:
            “1) To conduct rigorous, inter-disciplinary and international collaborative research into the efficacy, safety and cost of complementary medicine.
            2) To further analytical thinking in this area.”

          • The clue is in the title, Iqbal. It was not ‘Chair for the Uncritical Promotion of Quackery’.

          • I can assure you that our peer review processes are as good as those of any other medical journal

            You hide it exceedingly well. Congratulations.

          • Iqbal,

            “You are the only person I have come across, who, while supposedly working for a particular cause, has knowingly tried his best to destroy it.”

            This is a reasonably good description of the scientific method.

            Julian

  • It is regrettable that Dr. Fisher’s life was cut short. It is also sad to see a life of promise and talent dedicated so much to the delusion that worthless treatments should be integrated into medicine. Use of placebo based treatment is considered unethical since it violates the principle of informed consent. It robs the patient of the freedom to properly decide how they wish to be treated. It is sad that so much of Dr. Fisher’s life was dedicated to treating patients in this paternalistic manner and encouraging others to do so.

  • Richard Rawlins is right, I fear. To be killed on a bike is truly dreadful, but that is not a reason to laud someone who has done so much harm to rationality and common sense.
    The unctuous statement from UCLH was, I thought, quite dreadful. But I fear that Gill Gaskin has a track record in defending the indefensible. http://www.dcscience.net/2011/03/26/cranial-osteopathy-at-the-royal-london-hospital-for-integrated-medicine-and-inaction-by-dr-gill-gaskin/

  • Oh my goodness. Learn some manners. Have some respect. The man was a professional and highly qualified medic, held in esteem by his colleagues and his patients, including the Royal Family. He also embraced one of the basic tenets of science of unprejudiced observation. He saw homeopathy in action and learned to use it where appropriate and, in return, received the gratitude of many. Words like ‘worthless’, ‘unethical’ and ‘indefensible’ have no place here. Shame on you.

    • He may have been held in esteem but he did not deserve to be for his practise and promotion of quackery.

      He committed the cardinal sin of science by deceiving himself – or else he was an outright fraud. We are all prejudiced – and good scientists should be aware of that fact. Worthless, unethical and indefensible is what homeopathy is.

      • as I said in the post, I considered Peter to be a friend for a while. I liked him and respected him. we never talked about it, but my impression was that he got sucked into homeopathy and somehow could not admit that he did not really believe in much of it. he did try some ‘damage limitation’, for instance, by speaking out against homeoprophylaxis and homeopathic ‘cures’ for serious conditions. once he had become homeopath of the Queen, complete honesty about homeopathy had become totally impossible. so, in a way, he felt that he had to play an act – and that he did fairly convincingly, I thought.

        • When I started The Skeptic in 1987, I remember at least one early subscriber saying the Royal Family has done a huge amount of harm by embracing these ideas. I don’t know why anyone would think that any particular configuration of DNA would confer an understanding of science…but homeopathy would not have done as well in the UK as it has without their support.

          wg

        • “A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician”
          Jean Robert-Houdin

          “A Homeopath is an actor playing the part of a doctor”
          Professor Riccardo

    • “He also embraced one of the basic tenets of science of unprejudiced observation”

      But he didn’t, did he? His observations were prejudiced massively by his belief in the magic powers of inert sugar pills and as such he believed that the changes he observed were caused by the sugar pills rather than being attributable to regression to the mean and placebo effects, which correct application of the scientific method has shown to be the truth.

      The steps of the scientific method are below.

      1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
      2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
      3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
      4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
      5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.

      I’m sure he was a nice man who cared for his patients. But he was also a deluded quack.

    • Man, I do enjoy watching the homeo woo-woos pile on to accuse Dr Ernst of character assassination. I’m guessing they can’t see their own reflections in a mirror.

  • Responses here from Colquhoun and Rawlins are very interesting. Allegations of harm by Dr Fisher are stated with no justification whatsoever. Dr Fisher was much liked and respected by his patients. Where are the allegations and complaints from the 1000s of patients he saw over the years?

    • The harm arises from fooling people without their knowledge (reputable magicians fool beople, but admit what they are doing). It is unethical to tell patients the proposed prescription of a pillule contains a force or quantum entanglement or whatever which will help their condition – when it does not.
      Any benefit is as result of the practitioner’s charm, bedside manner, placebo response to an empathic consultation.
      Did you not know that?

      As is well known, many victims of such practices (and other devious practices of course) refrain from complaining.
      What would they complain about?

      “The pillules made me worse”
      “We homeopaths call that ‘aggravations’ it indicates the remedy is taking effect!”

      “I am no better”
      “Lets us try another remedy … a greater potency (!)…”

      “Still no better.”
      “Even I cannot help everyone…!”

      1000s of patients. Many years.
      And not a single piece of plausible reproducible evidence that the pillules did anything.
      The charisma worked of course.

      • You don’t speak for me or any of Dr Fisher’s patients. We make our choices and avoid pontificating know it all ‘Drs’ like you.

      • Richard Rawlins

        “The harm arises from fooling people without their knowledge..”

        You seem to be sleeping on your table or have no clue of what you are doing or down right lying.

        How many times do you tell your patient that the medication or the procedure will kill them. And then you go ahead and then stare at a dead body.

        Fewer heart attack patients die when top cardiologists are away at conferences, study finds
        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/03/09/

        Why Do Patients Stop Dying When Doctors Go on Strike?
        Doctors withdrew their labour, in the different strikes analysed, from between nine days and 17 weeks. Yet all the different studies report population mortality either stays the same, or even decreases, during medical strikes. Not a single study found death rates increased during the weeks of the strikes, compared to other times.

        Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US
        Let’s get right to it: The third leading cause of death in the United States in 2013 was medical error. So we’ve got cancer, heart disease, and then the people who are trying to cure you. … Or Alzheimer’s, diabetes, flu and pneumonia, or kidney disease.
        And I will take a bet: do a similar review in UK, you will get exactly the same answer.

        This is only one part of the drama unfolding before your eyes. The holocaust is around you now. ” The Modern Plagues” as Dr Blaser calls them.

        The icing on the cake: the life expectancy, sold as proof of scientific medicine (forget sanitation and improved diet) has now reversed in USA. Check and you will find no difference in UK. Same medicine, same training, same results.
        “We have data for almost half of 2017 at this point. It’s still quite provisional, but it suggests that we’re in for another increase” in drug-related deaths, he said. “If we’re not careful, we could end up with declining life expectancy for three years in a row, which we haven’t seen since the Spanish flu, 100 years ago.”

        First it was antibiotics. Now it is opiates.
        https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/21/health/us-life-expectancy-study/index.html

        This is the outcome of your definition of “medicine”.

        “Words like ‘worthless’, ‘unethical’ and ‘indefensible’ surely have a place here.”
        They define people like you.

        • oh Iqbal!
          without you, this blog would have so much less hilarity!!!

          • Edzard

            “…this blog would have so much less hilarity”

            Correct. Killing poor patients, and making them pay for it, IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

            Who can disagree?

            “The health ministry believes that “irrational” FDCs are causing anti-microbial resistance and in some cases their toxicity is so high they can even lead to organ-failure. There are also concerns that these FDCs being available over-the-counter, without doctors’ prescriptions, is leading to their misuse.”

            “A Reuters investigation revealed in December that a unit of Abbott in India was selling a combination of the antibiotics cefixime and azithromycin without approval from the central government. The combination is not approved for sale in major pharmaceutical markets, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.”

            You have something to add to the seriousness of this business of scientific medicine?

          • yes, I have something to add:
            ALL THE DEFECTS OF CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE DO NOT RENDER HOMEOPATHY EFFECTIVE!

          • Edzard

            “ALL THE DEFECTS OF CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE DO NOT RENDER HOMEOPATHY EFFECTIVE!”

            That is the outcome from an old broken record with stylus stuck in one groove.

            Isn’t this statement about 200 years old? Why not try something new for a change? It seems your great grandfathers (professionally) were more imaginative 164 years ago:

            “But the report of the Board of Health was presented to Parliament without the slightest reference to the London Homeopathic Hospital or to the brilliant results which its physicians had achieved by undaunted self-sacrifice in a time of great public calamity (Cholera epidemic). Complaint was, of course, made to the Board of Health and duly referred to its Medical Committee, with the result that the Board received from the committee a resolution, which, for ingenuity of dis-ingenuousness and illiberality, can hardly ever have been equaled. It was this :

            “That by introducing the returns of homeopathic practitioners they (the Treatment Committee) would not only compromise the value and utility of their averages of Cure, as deduced from the operation of known remedies, but they would give an unjustifiable sanction to an empirical practice, alike opposed to the maintenance of truth and to the progress of science.”

            Today, you call these great grand fathers; idiots, foolish men masquerading as doctors who knew not what they practiced and they killed more patients by administering “KNOWN REMEDIES (scientific medicine)” than if they had left them alone.

            Are you achieving any thing different ?

          • “That is the outcome from an old broken record with stylus stuck in one groove.”
            no, it is logic!
            if by now you don’t know that your argument is a fallacy, you are beyond hope.

          • Edzard

            “……no, it is logic!”

            In homeopathy, docotr’s label it as “FLAWED logic”.

            When medicine meant to cure you kills or maims you, it can only be the result of “LOGIC” gone horribly wrong.
            Remember the one person dying from EPSOM salt that your tunnel vision had located in India?

          • I give up

    • From the Times obit:

      Colleagues said his homeopathic self-medication must have had something going for it because he was an energetic man, whose diary was full of engagements across the world.

      That appears to be the level of reason and logic exercised by the great majority of our members of our species.

  • It was my impression too that Fisher had, some time ago, stopped believing in homeopathy. In unguarded moments he came quite close to saying so. He seemed to me to a bit like an ageing vicar who had long since stopped believing in god, but didn’t want to give up his comfortable vicarage. Now we’ll never know how close to the truth that guess is.

    • My experience was that Peter Fisher was a respectful man and conducted himself with dignity. Some could learn from his example.

      • Your implication, Dendera, being that certain unspecified others do not conduct themselves with dignity.

        Who might these people be and why might you accuse them thusly?

        As ever, we ask for the evidence to support your claims. It’s how this forum works.

  • Do not shoot, or disparage, the messenger.
    That would be a logical fallacy.
    (As is Iqbal’s favourite: tu quoque .)

  • There is no point in shooting a man made of straw who tries to speak for many without their consent.

    • Dendera:
      Thank you. I only claim to speak for:

      (i) Myself.
      (ii) Those who have read my book or posts, or attended my talks, and offer endorsement or support.
      (iii) Those who have elected me as Secretary of the South West Division, BMA.
      (iv) Those who have elected me as chairman of the BMA Retired Members Conference.
      (v) Those who have elected me as chairman of the Retired Members Committee.
      (vi) Those who have elected me as a Member of Council, BMA.
      (vii) Those who support my attempts to advance evidence-based healthcare, rationality and critical thinking.
      (viii) All those who support the purest principles of nature and science and value integrity above personal gain.

      I do not claim to speak for those who are deluded, lack critical faculties, are experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect, gain benefit from companies manufacturing pillules containing no active ingredients, or such manufacturers themselves.

  • You cannot explain away so easily your allegations of harm and fooling patients made against Dr Fisher a few days after he died so suddenly.
    Your strawman response has though somewhat deflected things. However lets go with it.
    You might find that your posts on this blog break some of the code of ethics eg the BMA council where you were elected( unopposed-no one voted for you) .
    eg BMA code of conduct Appendix 1 Poor behaviour. undermine ,humiliate , degrade others. This is exactly what you have done to your colleague Dr Fisher in your responses on this blog several days after he died.
    So it is surprising to read your purest principle and integrity routine when it obviously only applies to people who agree with you.

  • Dendera (who ever you are),
    I do not need to ‘explain away’ anything. You are entitled to give your opinion on the professionalism of a (now sadly deceased) medical practitioner – although an anonymously expressed opinion may well be false and you are trying to fool us on this blog. How do we know?
    I am entitled to give my opinion. So be it.

    It is very much part of Good Medical Practice (GMC) that we should identify and expose medical wrong doings, poor practice, quackery and fraud. That is how we improve standards of medical practice.

    Rhetorical question: If you had been able to comment at the time, how would you have commented on Shipman, Patterson, Gosport? “That’s not the way to do it, but I’ll say no more.”?

    And check out the conventional meaning of the ‘straw man fallacy’. I make no argument about Peter Fisher – I simply comment on his practice, based as it was on delusion – or was it deliberate fraud?
    I get the impression he fooled you – I do hope not.

    And I certainly believe that ad hominem comments are unhelpful, and justified here only to try to better understand the reasons for delusion, in the hope that patients will be better served in future as we learn more of placebo responses, the benefits of counselling for emotional difficulties and of caring for all based on plausible reproducible evidence.

    Be well.

    • The practice of homeopathy is the obverse of GMP – Good Medical Practice.

      Any medical physician who takes upon himself to act as a purveyor of homeopathy or other bogus medicine is breaching several sections of the GMP code, not the least those that deal with professionalism, trust and integrity. As RR says, this demands exposure and discussion, even posthumously and notwithstanding the tragic and regrettable circumstances of his recent demise.

      @Dendera
      Your opinion is kindly published by the owner of this blog but the fact that you hide behind a pseudonym invalidates it. if you wish to be taken more seriously than the flock of incognito ineducable apologists of homeopathy and other quackery who frequent this forum you will need to substantiate your merits.

    • Richard Rawlins said:
      Those who don’t do this are unethical, quacks, frauds and crooks. e.g. Dr Peter Fisher ex of the RLHIM.
      (august 18 – 15.53, the vicious spiral etc.)

      I think many more readers have been annoyed by the denigrating and uncivilized statements of Richard Rawlins about his colleague Peter Fisher, just after his death, Dendera has a good point.

      But it is really -not a shame- to admit that you have not used the right words.

      We live here in Western Europe and not in a dictatorship, that means you have the opportunity to make some choices, even if it concerns your health . A sole dominance of conventional EBM health care is an illusion, so it is better to accept that fact. Make your message not to rigide. You achieve the opposite 😉

      • “A sole dominance of conventional EBM health care is an illusion”
        is it really?
        what has non-EBM achieved for public health?
        please, tell me.

        • The majority of people with an interest in alternative treatments pay more attention to health, lifestyle and prevention. The conventional health care can definitely learn from that.
          As you will know, chronic diseases are very common (look around you) and that says something ..

          • and you think that justifies your statement “A sole dominance of conventional EBM health care is an illusion”
            lifestyle and prevention is not a domain of alt med! in fact, I know not a single alt med that has been shown to work in prevention. do you?

          • The majority of people with an interest in alternative treatments pay more attention to health, lifestyle and prevention.

            That may well be true. Christians pay attention to Jesus healing the blind by spitting on them. Muslims pay attention to flying horses. I pay attention to Captain Kirk transporting to another planet.
            Paying attention does not turn fiction into fact.

      • Eelco_G

        It is easy for a bully to hit a dead person. The bully knows he does not hit back.

        • “Bully: Verb: ‘seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable).”
          Not only was Peter Fisher not vulnerable, now he does not exist he cannot be bullied.

          During his lifetime PF was perfectly aware of what many critics thought of him. He ignored our blandishments that he should demonstrate greater integrity and obtain properly informed consent from his patients. So be it.

          We know what Fisher’s supporters think. His critics are sad at and sorry for his demise.
          But commentary on his career, particularly on a blog dealing with controversy, must provide balance.
          No problem surely.

          Many, if not most, of Shipman’s patients thought him to be a good doctor – what would you have said about Shipman when had been exposed for what he was?

          • Why is Richard Rawlins drawing parallels with the notorious Dr Shipman in a debate about Dr Fisher. We have seen no evidence of harm caused by Dr Fisher. All we have is wild speculation with no evidence. Let him rest in peace.

          • Dendera

            You seem to be an Indian. You will not understand this. Your philosophy is very different to theirs.

          • We have seen no evidence of harm caused by Dr Fisher.

            You think that lying to people is not harmful?

  • @Eelco_G

    I wonder how many differently based systems of medicine you feel is reasonable?

    We have mainstream, science-based (and therefore evidence-based) medicine, supported by millions of research publications each year, all expanding the database of human understanding of biology and medicine to the point that fine detail in any branch is nowadays fully understood only by specialists. The evidence base for mainstream medicine is far from perfect, but that’s true of all forms of scientific endeavour.

    Then we have a number of other forms of medicine, supported by little research of scientific quality, but represented and explained by very many websites and YouTube videos. The boundaries between these forms sometimes overlap a little, but there are pretty clear class trends.

    One of these forms is ‘energy medicine’, which can be subdivided into two types: medicine based on verifiable forms of energy (e.g. magnets, light therapy) and medicine based on undemonstrable forms of energy (e.g. reiki, qigong, prayer, spiritual healing, etc.). The energies involved in the latter come under various titles and are differently defined (e.g. qi, prana, vital fluid, orgone energy, etc.).

    A third form of medicine is so-called ‘traditional medicine’, whose common feature is an appeal to antiquity: ancient ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’ are preferred to recent discoveries. Under this heading come approaches such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy and (perhaps) acupuncture and homeopathy.

    Then there’s a fourth form of medicine: dietary medicine. This includes things like specific diets and dietary supplements.

    A fifth form of medicine is ‘body touch’, based on the idea that all parts of the body are affected by injury or disturbance in another which can be manipulated manually to correct the problem. So massage, chiropractic and osteopathy, reflexology, tai chi and yoga are examples of this form of medicine.

    A sixth form of medicine is sensory medicine, in which stimulation of human senses is believed to offer curative power. Examples include aromatherapy, dance and music therapy.

    The point I am making is that all these complementary and alternative approaches to medicine have one thing in common. They are all based on pseudoscientific theories which lack robust evidential support. When you look at the sheer number of contrasting and even conflicting ideas involved in pseudo-medicine it’s hardly surprising that people like me who seek some level of reality in approaches to medicine shake their heads in disbelief at the level of sheer nonsense the list represents.

    You pick up on ‘health, lifestyle and prevention’ and suggest that “conventional health care can definitely learn from that”. Do you live on a different planet from the rest of us?! Not a day seems to go by without a news story about (professional, not amateur) doctors somewhere finding that consuming particular foods or drinks may increase risks of certain diseases. Have you never heard of mainstream medicine complaining regularly about an ‘obesity epidemic’ that is wreaking terrible consequences for human health? Do professional doctors never tell their patients they should stop smoking and reduce their alcohol consumption? Modify their diet to include less ‘junk food’? Have vaccines not massively prevented most common kinds of infectious disease?

    • Frank Odd

      “Have you never heard of mainstream medicine complaining regularly about an ‘obesity epidemic’ that is wreaking terrible consequences for human health?”

      “In 1990, about 12 percent of Americans were obese. By 2010, the national average was above 30 percent. The obesity epidemic is not just a U.S. problem; it’s global. As of 2008, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.5 billion adults were overweight; of these, over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women qualified as obese.

      Many of these people live in developing countries that we associate more with famine than with overeating. (can you explain this?)

      These figures are alarming, but the really shocking fact is that this accumulation of global human body fat has been accelerating not over the course of a few centuries but in a mere two decades. Yet fat- and sugar-rich foods, so often blamed for all the extra pounds, have been ubiquitous for a good deal longer than that, at least in the developed world, and the new generations of overweight people in the third world have not suddenly adopted a Kentucky-fried American-style diet. Epidemiologic studies have shown that high caloric intake, while definitely not helpful, is not sufficient to explain the distribution or course of the worldwide obesity epidemic.

      from: Missing Microbes: Dr Martin Blaser.

      Take some help from the imaginative Richard and explain the food connection-especially about the 3rd world countries.

    • Frank,

      “…people like me who seek some level of reality in approaches to medicine…”

      The six ‘forms of medicine’ you’re describing – did you find that list somewhere, or is that your own analysis from looking at websites and YouTube videos?

  • To be specific, I never use (alt) or regular meds, we use only some supplements (fish-oil, chlorella, B12, Q 10 and vit. D3)..
    A healthy (vegetarian) lifestyle and meditation are the most important things to keep your own self-healing ability optimal..
    I have faith in the regular health care . When I (as an example) break my leg, I know that I am in good hands in the hospital . But the pharmaceutical part I find the weakest link of the (regular) chain. Too much focus on symptoms and research is only done intensively when medicines can yield money. That makes me a skeptical person too 🙂

    • Eelco-G (whoever you are):
      What is the profit made from the manufacturers of homeopathic medicines by companies such as Boiron and Nelsons, and from the retail sale by companies such as Ainsworths (whose marketing is actively supported by HM the Queen and HRH the Prince of Wales)?

      Do any homeopaths not provide any commercially manufactured remedies, or sell their own?

      Thank you.
      And your point about pharmaceutical companies is?

      • Richard Rawlins

        Don’t waste time on Boiron. It would be peanuts compared to: Year 2016. Value in Billion US$

        Company Turnover R&D spend Sales promotion

        Roche — ( 53.4 ) — (11.7 ) — (11)
        Pfizer ( 52.8 ) ( 7.9 ) (14.7)
        Novratis ( 48.5 ) ( 9 ) (11.9)
        Merck (39.8 ) ( 10.1 ) (9.8)

        Can you explain the reason for Pharma companies’ sales promotion expenses to be higher than R&D expenses? And as a ratio, much higher that a consumer goods company like Sears!!!!!!!

        • It’s pretty simple, fellow Iqbal.
          1) It costs a lot to try and make someone as deluded as your royal delusionness understand that these things actually work, in contrast to your vast arsenal of crazy ideas.

          2) Research results are usually positive and statistically powerful, and they don’t need to make hundreds of trials to cherry-pick a few successful replications, as is done in homeopathy.

          3) When some substance fails to show a desirable positive effect, research gets over it quickly and proceeds to the next promising substance, they don’t take 200+ years to rid a crappy idea.

          These are the main reasons. Homeopathic companies need to perform hundreds of trials to produce enough false positives to construct a deceptive evidence-base (read “evidence haze”). Normally, you don’t have to dedicate so high a percentage of expenses to R&D when science (and reality) is clearly on your side, and you are on hers, which is definitely not the case for homeopathy and relevant stakeholders.

          Fighting against good science is a very expensive task, fellow Iqbal, it necessitates an awful lot of research, time, and, therefore, money. After more than 200 years of crap, upon crap, upon crap, homeopathy is all just a big pile of crap, for which huge amounts of money have been wasted. The only way to make money from it is to preserve people like you around. You see, in all your delusion, you seem to have lost track of how much money homeopathic manufacturers make from you and your advice all around you. Large homeopathic product manufacturing companies don’t really need too strong promotion, they simply need people like you and some fake research to keep them happy and “spread the word”…

          And in all your delusion, you missed the fact that nobody here is promoting or has promoted any drug whatsoever (in contrast to you that have mentioned dozens of, unfortunately totally useless, products and substances that are sold around as toy medicine, with intricate latin names that “taste good”). If you recollect for a moment, at least a few people around the world reading this blog will be taking this advice and you will have made successful advertisement and improved the profits of toy-medicine companies. In your brain, you think you are helping (self-righteously), but the only help you give is to homeopathic companies. Think about it for a moment and maybe you will understand that you are acting as a shill(-by-morbid-ignorance) here.

          • James

            You lack concentration or understanding.

            The simple question was “how is it that pharma companies spend MORE MONEY on sales promotion and LESS MONEY on R&D.

            Look at Pfizer and Novratis data.

            You rambled away in the wrong direction.

          • As always, the quack-defender is rather economical with the truth:

            “The research/marketing ratio for Merck is therefore approximately 0.59 (1,344.6/2,272.3), whereas that for Boiron is approximately 0.037 (4,277/114,941). This means that while Boiron spent an amount equivalent to about 3.7% of its marketing budget on research, Merck spent an amount equivalent to about 59% of its marketing budget on research, or close to 16 times as much as Boiron, in relative terms.”

            Suddenly, “big pharma” does not seem so evil anymore. That was in 2009. My plan was to repeat and expand the calculation. Unfortunately “life” got in the way. It would be interesting to see how the situation has evolved.

          • Bart B. Van Bockstaele

            Where did you bring these figures from?

          • from his local butcher; what do you think?

          • Edzard

            “from his local butcher; what do you think?”

            With name Edzard Ernst?

            But I am of firm view that Edzard Ernst is consultant to butchers. Helps them kill and fudge data. Your view?

          • my dear Iqbal,
            your comments have often amused me [even though they hardly ever could be characterised as meaningful contributions to our discussions], and this is why, for many months, I allowed you to make them. I am afraid that your lucky streak has today ended. i will not allow any further contributions from you to this blog.
            they are simply too moronic to be tolerated any longer.
            go and bother someone else, please.
            edzard ernst

          • Where did you bring these figures from?

            Since you have convincingly demonstrated not to be the brightest pebble on the beach, allow me to give you a useful hint: the numbers I used come from the same type of sources as yours, I have only attempted to be honest by looking at all the information, and not cherry-picked the data to lie by ommission like you.

          • Bart, cheat is unethical.

            “Percentage of revenue, Merck spent 25.4% of its total revenues on R&D. Pharmaceuticals industry average R&D spending in the same period was 15.6%”

          • Bart, cheat is unethical.

            Indeed. My numbers said 18%, not 25.4%. I made no claims about other companies, but even if your 15.6% is true, I think you would have to agree that this is still massive amounts more than Boiron’s 0.8%. Yes?

          • RD in pharmaceutical industry is very low. If Boiron spends low budget in RD your comment is a tu quoque fallacy. Your data is based in a anonymous comment on internet. Go back to the school.

          • Your data is based in a anonymous comment on internet.

            You are a genius, almost as brilliant as the late Iqbal.

            Go back to the school.

            Which one?

          • Bart comment was:

            “The research/marketing ratio for Merck is therefore approximately 0.59 (1,344.6/2,272.3), whereas that for Boiron is approximately 0.037 (4,277/114,941). This means that while Boiron spent an amount equivalent to about 3.7% of its marketing budget on research, Merck spent an amount equivalent to about 59% of its marketing budget on research, or close to 16 times as much as Boiron, in relative terms”

            Source? Oh, an unverified web page… http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292888

            Go back to the school and search “how to learn in google”.

          • Source? Oh, an unverified web page… http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292888

            As I said, you are brilliant. I am totally floored.

          • Bart, your search skills and copy paste techniques are amazing (sarcasm).

  • The issue on the current thread is the career of Dr Peter Fisher. It has been suggested we should not offer critique – but quite rightly critique other notorious doctors.

    It may not generally be known, but a file was being drawn up to make a case to refer PF to the GMC’s Fitness to Practice Committee on the grounds he did not take properly informed consent from patients for whom he prescribed homeopathic remedies – and such practice is unethical. Obviously, the file is now closed.

    Remedies cannot be prescribed in the NHS any more, but can be privately. In the US, in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission announced it would begin cracking down on homeopathic product labeling. Labeling would have to clearly indicate that the products do not have any scientific evidence of efficacy and that homeopathic notions are not accepted by the modern medical community. ‘Remedies’ prescribed at the RLHIM were not labelled in this way.

  • So Dr Rawlins was compiling a fitness to practice case against Dr Fisher about informed consent. Laughable considering the long waiting list of patients desperate to see him. The only people supporting this action would have been non patients. Patients have the power now not pontificating dinasour Drs. Things have though moved on thank Darwin. Dr Rawlins needs to be very careful not to break the GMC code of ethics ie respect of colleagues and patient beliefs. Articles 48 and 54 59 especially. If he submits vexatious complaints then he could find himself in trouble.

  • Dendera said:

    So Dr Rawlins was compiling a fitness to practice case against Dr Fisher about informed consent. Laughable considering the long waiting list of patients desperate to see him.

    I see you don’t do logic.

  • Dendera (come out, come out, whoever you are!):

    I don’t make the ethical regulations.
    I don’t allege homeopathic doctors who fail to obtain properly informed consent from patients are in breach of GMC regulations.
    I do ask whether they are.

    And registered doctors have a duty to bring to the attention of the GMC instances where ethical principles may be breached.
    Did you not know that?

    Of course patients can do what they like – but they should be properly informed.
    Do you suggest otherwise?

    The GMC was founded to protect patients – sometimes from their own ignorance, and to protect them from quackery.
    It’s not a perfect system, but is the best we can do.

  • OK so the GMC agree with you homeopathic Dr’s are forced to read out your ‘informed consent’ to patients. Then what? The Dr advises that they had to read it out. You think patient will get up and leave. I think that oatient goes ballistic, goes on line, finds others and another campaign starts and 100s, maybe 1000s of letters go to the GMC demanding an explanation. Your consent campaign then brings publicity to homeopathy as the GMC have to deal with angry members if the public . We will no doubt see who is right in due course.

  • Dendera:
    Who are you?
    Why will you not identify yourself?
    Of what are you ashamed?
    Of what are you afraid?
    Or are you a friend just trying to wind me up for a gag?

    “OK so the GMC agree with you homeopathic Dr’s are forced to read out your ‘informed consent’ to patients. Then what? The Dr advises that they had to read it out. You think patient will get up and leave?”
    Some might – but the point is, they will have been informed. Or would you rather they would not be?

    “I think that patient goes ballistic, goes on line, finds others and another campaign starts and 100s, maybe 1000s of letters go to the GMC demanding an explanation.”

    No explanation of integrity, honesty and ethics is needed.

    “Your consent campaign then brings publicity to homeopathy as the GMC have to deal with angry members if the public.”
    The GMC only deal with complaints. What would these folk complain about? Why would anyone, other than yourself, be angry at having information – which they are free to ignore?

  • Ok.I am just saying that your consent statement would backfire like the RCVS statement did. Try booking an appointment now with a homeopathic vet!
    Still you go for it and remember me when it goes the way I said.

    Why are you bothered who I am? No one else is.Anyway I can advise that I am none of the following personages.
    Vladimir Putin
    Theresa May
    Drazde Tsnre
    The Queen of Sheba
    A reincarnation of Samuel Hahnemann

    This list covers male and female possibilities. I should also add that I am not Tara Wolf either. So that inclusion should placate the trans visitors to this blog.
    Hope that this helps.

    • no, I am sure you are none of these people, you sound much more stupid than any of them

    • @Dandruff: Most probably, whoever you are it is likely your lower intestine is re-routed into your cortex. The primary question is was it a birth-defect or a botched surgery?

      • Well Michael I will have to have words with my surgeon if he is still working. I will certainly put in a complaint if my lower intestine was rerouted to my cortex when I had my tonsillectomy. No consent for rerouting of the intestine in this way was given.

  • Iqbal, above lies heavily about what I said about Prof. Ernst. He cannot contemplate that somebody wanted to find out the reality of alternative medicine, perhaps a projection of his.

  • So that’s Iqbal banned, then? Good. His irritating and inconsequential sputterings got in the way of decent discussion. A person utterly devoid of the powers of introspection, analysis and logic. His contributions will not be missed.

  • Children!
    Back to the point please!

    For those interested enough to consider further whether Fisher was deluded, deranged or deceitful, run through what he purported to believe:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VITkH6hlI5U&feature=youtu.be

    Note that every slide has the NHS logo and UCLH logo on it – as if they provide an imprimatur of scientific respectability.
    He was trying to kid his audience – what else?

    And note his claim:
    “Just because there is no active principle present does not mean there is ‘nothing’.” !!!

    Sigh.

    • Dr. Rawlins, your book is propaganda and you want to sell trash. I had note similarities in your ad hominem attacks with Novella and Gorski. Think about your pathetic comments.

    • I see he was still touting the line that the results of RCTs are “41% positive, 54% inconclusive, 5% negative”. The “inconclusive” ones are those that failed to find a significant difference between homeopathy and placebo (or whatever else the homeopathy was compared to), so by any rational standard they are in fact negative. This was discussed here, by the way.

      On the voice-over, Fisher says that “a lot are inconclusive, nearly always bacause they are underpowered; they don’t have enough patients”. Surely this is inconsistent with the various systematic reviews which have found that higher quality trials (which must surely not be those that are underpowered) are less likely to produce positive results?

      Incidentally, Prof Ernst’s post I linked to above was about homeopaths’ claims of a “growing body” of evidence for homoeopathy. Here’s Fisher using similar figures back in 2007: back then it was 49% positive and 3% negative, so it looks as if the positive evidence is shrinking rather than growing.

      For some reason I can’t get the link to Fisher’s 2007 piece to work. It can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/may/23/openletterclosedminds

  • Truth hurts.
    You don’t.

    Thank you for your insightful contribution and for placing me in the same category as the eminent contributors to rational debate, Steve Novella and Dave Gorski.
    I am honoured, if undeserving.

    • Yes, truth hurts. Can you explain how Novella know the results of Elia experiments before read the paper?
      According this commentary,
      https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/another-damning-homeopathy-report/#comment-1950968308

      Novella tried debunk a paper published in 2014 with his non peer reviewd propaganda paper published in a magazine in 2011! Is Novella a medium?

      • Well, “ManUll”. To put it mildly you are making a complete fool of yourself and you are certainly reinforcing homeopathy’s reputation of being a religion for those of lesser analytical abilities.

        Perhaps you should try to actually read Novella’s short thesis which he wrote in 2011. He made no mention of Vittorio Elia, even if professor Elia had by then been conducting research into homeopathic solutions for decades. Novella’s reference was to his own 2011 thesis in CSICOP as a review of homeopathic water research , not of professor Elia’s 2014 paper.

        I had a brief look at this Italian professor of chemistry who seems to have been busy for decades trying to find the “vital essence” that Hahnemann believed to convey the remedies’ magical powers.
        Vittorio Elia is born in 1941 and graduated as a chemist in 1964 I believe. He rose to professor in chemistry at the University in Napoli. His interest in homeopathy enticed him to conduct research on the side where he has been trying to prove that extreme, homeopathic dilutions, even if they contain no trace of the starting material, have different physicochemical properties from the solvent. He has been doing this for decades. Professor Elia claims to have found decisive differences in many qualities of homeopathic water, among them a difference in its thermochemical reactions. To my untrained eye, his findings seem to be rather vaguely defined and tentative. But most of all he is unable to explain why and how the physical differences of the solvent would be able to exert magnificently specific and selective therapeutic effects on human physiology as it is or even after evaporating from sugar.
        He simply adheres to an a priori assumption that because homeopathic remedies work (which is unproven in itself), there must exist some embedded quality in the solvent caused by the manufacturing process. He publishes his papers in this field in “Homeopathy” and other similarly credulous or predatory journals and his findings have not been independently replicated.
        The difference between him and other delusional scientists such as the late Jacque Benveniste, Ellis or Montagnier is in effect that no one has yet bothered to call this particular “emperor’s new clothes”. At least not outside the Italian language sphere or outside pay-walls that I can readily access during a sort Saturday morning search.

  • There seem to be rather a lot of ‘delusuonal’ scientists around these days Björn. Lots more of these soon coming from, Europe, Russia, China and India to enlighten people like you. Dr Fisher was a pioneer.

  • I have just discovered these comments on the day of Dr Peter Fisher’s FRCP funeral when sitting in quiet contemplation. The deepest Shame on all of you for your arrogant, hateful, hating, character assassination of a man who, sadly, cannot answer you back now. Carry on with your silly, ignorant, uninformed criticism of homeopathy or whatever else wastes your time but RR, who began this, whoever he is, should find some humanity to apologise to Dr Fisher’s wife and his children for his rants at this particular time of their grieving.

    • We said the same things about his delusional beliefs to him whilst he was alive, Linda. He wasn’t able to answer them then, either. Evidenced truth is evidenced truth whether the person about whom it is spoken is alive or dead.

      “Carry on with your silly, ignorant, uninformed criticism of homeopathy”

      Please point out exactly where we are silly, ignorant and uninformed, backing your argument up with something more sensible, insightful and intelligent than “Because I said so!” and we will demonstrate, with substantial evidence, where and why you are wrong. That you will be unable or unwilling to accept this will be your problem, not ours.

  • I am not angy at Peter Fisher. I have simply placed his professional life in context.
    I did not hate him.
    My criticism of homeopathy is informed – not least by studing many quack remedies and the methods of confidence tricksters.
    I do hope he did not fool you.
    My condolences to his family for their loss – but his professionalism was as I have stated. IMHO of course.
    Best wishes.

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