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

Hard to believe but true: a German court recently decided that a homeopathic product called ‘HCG C30 Globuli’ is legal. HCG, of course, stands for ‘Human Chorionic Gonadotropin’, the hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman’s ovary, and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation.

The plaintiff had argued that a C30 potency contains no HCG at all, and that therefore consumers are misled by the name. To be precise, a C30 is a dilution of 1:1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000! This corresponds to something like one molecule of HCG per universe. The manufacturer, on the other hand, argued that their product complies with the rules of manufacturing homeopathics.

The court ruled as follows: ‘The fact that, due to the extreme dilution, the materiel cannot be identified any longer using current methodologies, does not mean that one can assume that the material is not, in fact, contained in the homeopathic drug’. As consumers who buy homeopathics are open to its tenets, they are not being misled by this product. Critics of homeopathy may see this differently; however, this group of people are unlikely to use such products. Therefore, there is no case to answer.

The judge also mentioned that, if the ruling had come out in favour of the defendant, it would have affected no end of further homeopathic products. And this, the court argued, would not be in the interest of the consumer.

For those who read German, here is the article reporting the case:

Beim Thema Homöopathie scheiden sich die Geister. Viele Wissenschaftler halten die Zuckerkügelchen bestenfalls für Placebos, andere hingegen schwören auf die heilende Wirkung. Ein Hersteller von Homöopathischen Arzneimitteln konnte nun vor Gericht einen Erfolg für sich verbuchen: Das Landgericht (LG) Darmstadt hat die Unterlassungsklage eines Vereins abgewiesen, der beantragt hatte, dem Hersteller zu verbieten, das Produkt “HCG C30 Globuli” unter dieser Bezeichnung zu bewerben oder in den Verkehr zu bringen (Urt. v. 30.01.2020, Az. 15 O 25/19).

Der Verein, dem laut Urteil beinahe alle Industrie- und Handelskammern sowie zahlreiche Apothekerkammern und Pharmaunternehmen angehören, hatte argumentiert, dass sich das Schwangerschaftshormon HCG gar nicht in den Produkten des Herstellers befinde und somit Verbraucher in die Irre führe. Die Präparate bestünden ausschließlich aus Zucker. Der Hersteller entgegnete dem, dass das Präparat HCG in der Dosierung C30 enthalte und gemäß dem Homöopathischen Arzneimittelhandbuch hergestellt worden sei.

Bei der Dosierung C30 wird der Ausgangsstoff 30 mal im Verhältnis 1:100 verdünnt. Am Ende beträgt das Verdünnungsverhältnis 1:10 hoch 60.

Dass der Ausgangsstoff bei dieser Dosierung “aufgrund der extremen Verdünnung mit den bisher bekannten wissenschaftlichen Methoden nicht mehr nachweisbar ist, führt nicht dazu, dass angenommen werden kann, dass der Stoff tatsächlich nicht in dem homöopathischen Medikament enthalten ist”, entschied das LG jedoch.

Eine Irreführung der angesprochenen Verbraucherkreise könne nicht angenommen werden, so das LG weiter. Laut Urteil müsse grundsätzlich davon ausgegangen werden, “dass es sich bei dem angesprochenen Verkehrskreis um Personen handelt, die grundsätzlich der Homöopathie offen gegenüberstehen und denen bekannt ist, dass die Wirkstoffe bei homöopathischen Arzneimitteln geringer dosiert sind, als bei klassischen schulmedizinischen Produkten.”

Anhänger der klassischen Schulmedizin würden laut Gericht hingegen davon ausgehen, dass Homöopathie wirkungslos sei und Behandlungserfolge ausschließlich auf den Placeboeffekt zurückzuführen seien. “Dieser Personenkreis wird von der Werbung der Beklagten nicht angesprochen, da klar erkennbar ist, dass ein homöopathisches Arzneimittel vertrieben wird”, entschieden die Darmstädter Richter.

Würde man der Auffassung des klagenden Vereins folgen und unterstellen, dass der Inhaltsstoff bei einer Verdünnung “C30” nicht enthalten ist, würde dies laut Gericht dazu führen, dass eine Vielzahl homöopathischer Arzneien nicht mehr vertrieben werden dürfte. “Ein solches faktisches Verbot dürfte sicherlich nicht im Sinne der Verbraucher sein, die – aus welchen Gründen auch immer – von einer gewissen Möglichkeit der Wirksamkeit homöopathischer Arzneimittel, auch in der Verdünnung C30 ausgehen”, hieß es im Urteil.

Auch die von dem Verein vorgeschlagene Verwendung von Phantasiebezeichnungen für die fraglichen Produkte lehnte das Gericht ab. Da Angaben zu Anwendungsgebieten bzw. Beschwerden bereits aufgrund gesetzlicher Vorgaben “zum Nachteil des Verbrauchers” verboten worden seien, würden Phantasiebezeichnungen eine Anwendung nach der klassischen Homöopathie erheblich erschweren, “wenn nicht gar unmöglich machen.”

[see also here]

Apart from the fact that homeopathic HCG makes no sense (for which condition should it be effective?), what has happened here, it seems to me is nothing less that the German judiciary defending the madness of homeopathy.

30 Responses to German court defends the madness of homeopathy

  • The judge also mentioned that, if the ruling had come out in favour of the defendant, it would have affected no end of further homeopathic products. And this, the court argued, would not be in the interest of the consumer.

    I would argue that because the ruling in favour of the defendant would have affected no end of further homeopathic products, it was absolutely in the interest of the consumer. In fact, getting rid of them all would be the ultimate in consumer protection. Make THAT ruling and I will vote to have your name put on the hundred-pound note.

  • Since the responsible judge apparently thinks that dilution does not affect the properties of a substance, he/she should be sentenced to, from now on, consume all liquids as C30 dilutions – especially those that he/she currently enjoys drinking. I wish him/her much fun with the next morning coffee…

    But joking aside, you point out an important issue: Jurisdiction is not necessarily based on science and rationality. This is regrettable, since science is of course by far the best (maybe only) way to establish facts about reality. And, I assume, that we all agree that judgments should always be based solely on reality.

    As far as I know, the curriculum for law studies in Germany does not include any form of scientific education.
    I think it would be a good idea to include a “science & rationality” course in the curriculum, so that future judges become better educated about the scientific, rational way of thinking and therefore will be better equipped to distinguish between reality and illusions based on outdated, magical thinking.

    • And, I assume, that we all agree that judgments should always be based solely on reality.

      @Jashak

      Have you met Roger?

      • @ Ron Jette,
        good point…
        😉

        However, I am pretty sure that even guys like him appreciate the fact that (for example), you will not be sentenced to death by burning at the stake in any civilized country of the world today, simply because you do not believe in certain magical fairy tales, for which no evidence exists in reality.

        • We maybe not burning at the stake but
          A Saudi court sentenced a Palestinian man to death for apostasy on November 17, 2015, for alleged blasphemous statements during a discussion group and in a book of his poetry.

        • Cancer therapy in this benighted age is mostly (starting to change somewhat) cut, poison and burn. So, yes, people have been sentenced to burn to death, out of ignorance.

          • Only a severely twisted mind would equate modern day surgeons, radiologists and oncologists
            -who FOLLOW THE BEST AVAILABLE FACTS & EVIDENCE and try to HEAL SEVERLY ILL cancer patients-
            with medieval minds that believed in some imaginary, supernatural being WITHOUT HAVING ANY EVIDENCE for it and for this reason intentionally KILLED HEATHY, INNOCENT people.

            If you are not just trolling and seriously believe in the crap that you post, do me a favour: put away the magical sugar pills that you take and go see a REAL doctor, Roger.

          • … but he is!
            trolling, I mean.

          • Of course he is trolling. We sometimes feed him for our own entertainment.

          • and sure enough, he always obliges!
            GOOD MAN!!!

  • “The court ruled as follows: ‘The fact that, due to the extreme dilution, the materiel cannot be identified any longer using current methodologies, does not mean that one can assume that the material is not, in fact, contained in the homeopathic drug’. As consumers who buy homeopathics are open to its tenets, they are not being misled by this product. Critics of homeopathy may see this differently; however, this group of people are unlikely to use such products. Therefore, there is no case to answer.”

    I agree.
    We cannot ‘assume’ there is no material in the drug.
    We know, beyond reasonable doubt, there is none.

    If the judge did not understand that, he should not have been trying the case.

    So the essence of the case as brought is, whether consumers are misled by the labelling.
    It is a moot point whether customers buying ‘homeopathics’ understand the science or are happy to go along with pretence and fake claims – as some folks buy ‘holy water’ or any other placebo.

    The judge has essentially said : “Some folks are gullible and stupid, and are entitled to be, but it is not for the court to protect them against their stupidity.” (“There is no case to argue.”)

    Hard to disagree with that in a liberal society – but those with integrity must press on trying to make folks see sense.

  • Good ruling. People who want to use homeopathic products are PAYING for the extreme dilution. It makes the energetic effect on the being stronger. Its what they want. They understand homeopathy. The rest who dont want it dont have to buy it! But of course the SS (So-called Skeptics) think that they have the right to make medical decisions for everyone else.

    • they should make you a judge!
      so much wisdom paired with vast knowledge…

    • “But of course the SS (So-called Skeptics)”

      You love to invoke Godwin’s law, do you?

      • Well our dear Edzard claims that we are scamming everyone, implying that we are are bunch of fraudulent thieves, so I feel entitled to call it as I see it: The SS want to control everyone else’s health care, stopping them from making their own choice to use something alternative to CON-MED (conventional medicine). Its a particularly nasty form of totalitarianism to try to control other people’s body.

        • I see @Roger is on a real tear tonight. (Roger, I was a bit disappointed to see you had mentioned “provings” only two or three times in about four posts, though.)

          Go, Roger, go!

  • I have spent many hours peering through my microscope trying to identify the existence of this proposed entity called “electromagnetic fields”. Since I have not seen any evidence, the concept must be a fairy-tale.

  • The ignorance in the court’s ruling is so profound that one cannot help but wonder if it actually came out of a California court.

    I believe the article referred to “sugar globes” (did I get that right?). So, placebos that are constructed of something other than water. But homeopathy depends on the concept of “water memory” does it not? Does the water share the memory with the sugar when it is mixed, before it dries out? These magical equations tend to be so confusing.

  • Crystalline structures such as lactose globues and quartz can hold memory, as can water if mixed with appropriate percentages of ethyl alcohol. This is a phenomenon demonstrated millions of times with living forms, presumably information recognized and utilized by nervous systems. Faraday and many others worked with strange E/M phenomena for centuries, finally formuated by James Maxwell and accepted. I can also assert that viruses do not exist, as I cannot observe them with my microscope. However tools provided by applying E/M theory can demonstrate their presence and structure. Similarly, long-recognized Homeopathic remedies, coming from another realm of observation, can help living animal neuro-immune systems recognize, adjust and cope with the effects of attacking viruses in the earlier stages. This is simply another tool of Nature, not to be ignored simply becasue it does not fit into one’s closed construct of reality.

    • I think you are dreaming.
      that memory you are thinking of, how long does it last? how does it affect health? where is the evidence that it is clinically effective?

      • The evidence is in homepathic group provings. A group of people repeatedly take the same unknown (to them) remedy over several days and start to develop mental, emotional and physical symptoms that they have never experienced before, which wear off after they quit taking it. The evidence that this same remedy can cure a similar constellation of symptoms is in 220+ years of well documented clinical case histories. This is a repeatable scientific experiment that anyone, even you, could do.

        • Provings = a group of homeopathy fans engaging in an act of collective self-delusion followed by a fellow fan sifting through the delusions to find some which will conform to his existing biases.

          Provings prove only one thing. The ludicrousness of a belief in homeopathy.

    • @Ronald

      This is simply another tool of Nature, not to be ignored simply becasue it does not fit into one’s closed construct of reality.

      You’re right, don’t ignore it just because it doesn’t exist in reality. Makes sense. Which is why the monsters under my bed are still so scary. Consider me a fan.

      • It doesnt exist in _your_ blinkered reality, the long outmoded mechanistic paradigm. Do a homeopathic proving and it will become part of your reality too.

        • @Roger

          I know this will bounce off of you like a ball bounces off the pavement but provings don’t matter, Roger. Provings are the worst kind of anecdote. What do we always say?

          A one, a two, a one, two, three four “ANECDOTES ARE NOT EVIDENCE.”

          Come on, Everybody sing along:

          “ANECDOTES ARE NOT EVIDENCE”
          “ANECDOTES ARE NOT EVIDENCE”
          Do-dah, do-dah.

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