Boiron is the world’s largest manufacturer of homeopathic products. The 2016 sales figures of the company amounted to 614 489 000 Euro. Boiron has recently been very active promoting its products, not least on Twitter where I note about 10 of their promotional tweets every day. I saw the following tweet yesterday:
Acidil temporarily relieves occasional heartburn, acid indigestion, bloating or upset stomach. (link: http://bit.ly/2gCARdu)
This prompted me to look up what this product contains. The ingredients (potencies) are as follows:
- Abies nigra (4C)
- Carbo vegetablilis (4C)
- Nux vomica (4C)
- Robinia pseudoacacia (4C)
Just to remind you, 4C means the substance is diluted at a rate of 1: 100 000 000. Even the most deadly poison would be ineffective at such a dilution.
So, how can they claim that it is effective?
To find the answer, I did a Medline search and found the only listed trial of Acidil (if anyone knows of further studies, please let me know). Here is its abstract:
It is unclear whether the benefits that some patients derive from complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) are related to the therapies recommended or to the consultation process as some CIM provider visits are more involved than conventional medical visits. Many patients with gastrointestinal conditions seek out CIM therapies, and prior work has demonstrated that the quality of the patient-provider interaction can improve health outcomes in irritable bowel syndrome, however, the impact of this interaction on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is unknown. We aimed to assess the safety and feasibility of conducting a 2 x 2 factorial design study preliminarily exploring the impact of the patient-provider interaction, and the effect of an over-the-counter homeopathic product, Acidil, on symptoms and health-related quality of life in subjects with GERD.
24 subjects with GERD-related symptoms were randomized in a 2 x 2 factorial design to receive 1) either a standard visit based on an empathic conventional primary care evaluation or an expanded visit with questions modeled after a CIM consultation and 2) either Acidil or placebo for two weeks. Subjects completed a daily GERD symptom diary and additional measures of symptom severity and health-related quality of life.
There was no significant difference in GERD symptom severity between the Acidil and placebo groups from baseline to follow-up (p = 0.41), however, subjects who received the expanded visit were significantly more likely to report a 50% or greater improvement in symptom severity compared to subjects who received the standard visit (p = 0.01). Total consultation length, perceived empathy, and baseline beliefs in CIM were not associated with treatment outcomes.
An expanded patient-provider visit resulted in greater GERD symptom improvement than a standard empathic medical visit. CIM consultations may have enhanced placebo effects, and further studies to assess the active components of this visit-based intervention are warranted.
The question I have is simple: why are they allowed to make false medical claims?
Is there anyone out there who can answer it?