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

A few days ago, I reported that the German homeopathy manufacturer Hevert has taken legal action against German critics of homeopathy. This caused a storm of protests on twitter, in the press and even on TV. Hevert has remained silent in all this, but now a spokesperson and part owner of the firm, Mr Mathias Hevert, has given an interview to ‘Pharma Relations’ in an attempt to explain and justify Hevert’s position.

The interview does not tell us much, except for one particular passage:

Frau Grams hat sich meines Wissens nach gar nicht konkret auf die Produkte der Firma Hevert bezogen. Warum fühlten Sie sich dennoch aufgerufen, sozusagen stellvertretend für die Branche juristische Schritte einzuleiten?

Da homöopathische Arzneimittel neben pflanzlichen und schulmedizinischen Präparaten einen wichtigen Teil des breiten Hevert-Sortiments darstellen, fühlen wir uns bereits seit der Firmengründung 1956 eng mit der durch Pastor Emanuel Felke begründeten Komplexmittel-Homöopathie verbunden. Seit Monaten beobachten wir, wie die Homöopathie von Meinungsbildnern in den Sozialen Medien, der Presse und dem Fernsehen undifferenziert und ohne wissenschaftliche Grundlage denunziert wird. In Großbritannien wurden bereits einflussreiche Lobbygruppen aktiv, um die Homöopathie als Ganzes und ohne differenzierte Betrachtung der Datenlage zu verunglimpfen. Mit ihren Bemühungen schafften sie es sogar, die Politik zu gesetzlichen Einschränkungen des Feldes zu drängen. Um ähnliches in Deutschland – dem Mutterland der Homöopathie – zu verhindern, geht Hevert entschlossen gegen ungerechtfertigte und nicht fundierte Diskreditierungen der Homöopathie durch Lobbygruppen und andere Meinungsbildner vor.

Here is my translation of the bit that concerns me:

Q: Frau Grams has, as far as I know, not even concretely referred to the products of Hevert. Why do you still feel compelled to start legal procedures, so to speak for the sector?

A: … We observe since months how homeopathy is being denounced in an undifferentiated manner and without a scientific basis by opinion leaders in social media, the press, an on TV. In England, influential lobby groups have been active to denigrate homeopathy as a whole and without differentiated consideration of the data. Through their efforts, they have even managed to force politicians to implement legal restrictions in this area…

_________________________________________________________

I must admit, I find this response quite extraordinary!

I am not aware of anyone or any group in England denigrating homeopathy without differentiated consideration of the data. All we did was to point out what the best available evidence tells us, exercise our critical thinking abilities, and report facts. And I do strongly object anyone claiming otherwise. In fact, I ask myself whether the above remarks by a representative of a manufacturer of homeopathics are not libellous and thus actionable.

What do you think?

PS

But perhaps I have misunderstood something; in this case, could Mr Hevert please name the UK critics he had in mind when he made these comments?

4 Responses to English critics of homeopathy might have just been libelled by a German manufacturer

  • If one were to use the same metrics that the Hevert company employs, Mathias Hevert’s interview would justify taking legal action, because he names people and says they’re not qualified to discuss homeopathy.

    I think it’s remarkable that he mentioned repeatedly in the same interview when asked about the scientific validity of the claims made by manufacturers of these sugar pills that he couldn’t possibly make a statement about that because he’s a business economist… Unlike him, most people in the debate have a degree in medicine, pharmacology or some other natural science though – or are at least able to differentiate what is scientifically plausible and and what is not.

    Just because Mathias Hevert says homeopathy originated in Germany, it doesn’t mean we can’t be vocal in fighting against its widespread use here and the reimbursement of this worthless stuff by the German health insurers.

  • As a German based English person I wonder whether I am mentioned somewhere in this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWtANTg1wmg&t=8s

  • This feels like it may come back to bite them.

    …without differentiated consideration of the data…

    The only way to defend that claim would be to examine the data. This would lead to challenges to its quality and the only way to defend the data would be to have experts give testimony. This, in turn, would lead to examination of the experts and they’d end up in a situation like that where Dana Ullman was famously pointed out as being “not credible” by the court.

    I don’t believe science should be settled in the courts, but in this case, like in other areas (HoC Evidence Check 2/NHMRC), it should be found to be what it is. Completely bogus.

  • What do I think? I think it’s pretty much a standard response for a homeopath or supporter: Open mouth and let S#!t come flying out. Truth? Wat dat?

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