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

It seems that some people are pushing the notion that Boiron’s homeopathic product

Oscillococcinum®

might be helpful for the prevention and/or treatment of the Corona virus infection. To get an idea how implausible this assumption is, read my previous post on the subject.

The website of Boiron, the producer of the product, seems undeterred by plausibility and states the following:

Clinical studies show Boiron Oscillococcinum (Oscillo®) reduces the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms when taken at the onset of symptoms.1-2 Oscillo does not cause drowsiness and has no known or reported drug interactions.

Uses*

  • Temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue
  • Non-drowsy; no drug interactions
  • Easy-to-take, quick-dissolving pellets
  • For everyone 2 years of age and older
  • Make sure your patients always have Oscillococcinum on hand—it works best when taken at the first sign of symptoms. Help your patients feel better before they feel worse.

While this text does not state that Oscillococcinum works for the coronavirus, one could easily read it as implying it, particularly if one also considers this tweet:

Oscillococcinum USA
@OscilloUSA
Getting sick when travelling can ruin the best of vacations. Take non-drowsy Oscillococcinum the moment you feel body aches, headache, fever, chills or fatigue coming on. http://bit.ly/2BGCmCz
________________________________________________________________________________
On the Internet we find many much more direct claims. Take this website, for instance:

The commonly indicated Homeopathic remedies for Coronavirus are: –
• OSCILLOCOCCINUM
• Arsenic Album
• INFLUENZINUM

**However, for best results contact a Qualified Homeopathic doctor so that correct medicines can be prescribed.

And even some politicians promote such irresponsible nonsense.

________________________________________________________________________________

All the claims about Oscillococcinum have one thing in common: they are not evidence based! Any notion that it might work against the coronavirus is pure fantasy. And the above statement by Boiron is based on two cherry-picked studies. The totality of the evidence, however, does not show that Oscillococcinum is effective. The current Cochrane review says about its effectiveness: There is insufficient good evidence to enable robust conclusions to be made about Oscillococcinum(®) in the prevention or treatment of influenza and influenza-like illness. Our findings do not rule out the possibility that Oscillococcinum(®) could have a clinically useful treatment effect but, given the low quality of the eligible studies, the evidence is not compelling. There was no evidence of clinically important harms due to Oscillococcinum(®).

The reason, I guess, why this conclusion is not more forthright stating THERE IS NO GOOD EVIDENCE THAT OSCILLOCOCCINUM HAS ANY EFFECT can be found in the list of conflicts of interest of the paper’s authors:

All three review authors are research‐active in the field of homeopathy. They were members of the International Scientific Committee for Homeopathic Investigations (ISCHI), whose membership also included two employees of Boiron (the manufacturers of Oscillococcinum®), and whose committee activities ceased in July 2013. Progress with the Cochrane Review on Oscillococcinum® was presented briefly at ISCHI meetings in 2010 and 2011. The drafting of this Cochrane Review was carried out independently of those communications and of the authors’ other ongoing research activity. ISCHI has not run or sponsored any research on Oscillococcinum®.

Robert T Mathie: Dr Mathie is Research Development Adviser, British Homeopathic Association. He was a member of the International Scientific Committee on Homeopathic Investigations, which ceased its committee activities in July 2013. Joyce Frye: Part of Dr Frye’s salary was supported by a research grant from the Standard Homeopathic Company, paid to her employer, the Center for Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Maryland, USA. Support ended in June 2013 when Dr Frye resigned from the University of Maryland. Standard Homeopathic Company does not manufacture Oscillococcinum or any similar product, and had no interest in the outcome of the review. Dr Frye received honoraria from the International Scientific Committee on Homeopathic Investigations, which was dissolved in July 2013. Peter Fisher: I am Expert Adviser on Complementary and Alternative Medicine to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which may take an interest in the evidence in this review. I am Editor in Chief of an international, peer‐reviewed journal dedicated to homeopathy. All payments and reimbursements for lectures have been from universities or professional or learned societies. None of these lectures has been dedicated to the subject of this review. Some meetings have been supported by grants from commercial interests, including the manufacturer of the product that is the subject of the review.

So, to be clear: oscillococcinum does not help against the corona or any other virus. Those who claim otherwise are either mistaken, or have a commercial interest, or both.

63 Responses to Oscillococcinum, the homeopathic solution to the coronavirus threat?

  • Ah, yes, oscillococcinum… a homeopathic ‘flu remedy’ from 1918, based on non-existing bacteria ostensibly observed by an incompetent microscopist who couldn’t even distinguish between air bubbles and microbes – microbes that could not possibly the cause of the flu anyway because viruses hadn’t been discovered yet – and whatever did cause the flu could not possibly be found in liver and heart tissue of ducks (it is found in the intestine and airways instead) – which nevertheless is what is used as the base material for this ‘remedy’ up to this day, but diluted into oblivion to the extent that one would need to consume approximately 10 to the power of 320(!) universes(!) to ingest one particle of the ‘active substance'(*).
    That oscillococcinum…

    *: Not to mention the fact that even the base material (‘mother tincture’) of putrified duck organs has no single specific characterizing ‘active substance’ – it is a largely undefined mess of microbes, fungi, enzymes, proteins, minerals, salts, and other chemical compounds – a mess that can’t even be diluted consistently without significantly altering its composition in the process.
    And oh, those ducks that serve as the, erm, ‘donor’ for oscillococcinum cannot possibly harbour flu viruses to begin with, because regulatory standards are very strict, and mandate that any fowl and poultry is to be destroyed at the first signs of avian flu.

    Summarized: oscillococcinum may well be the most hilariously stupid screw-up of homeopaths ever, stacking error upon mistake upon blunder from beginning to end, even when taking the principles of homeopathy seriously. Yet they still maintain that it is a viable ‘remedy’. Yeah, right …

    • So sorry you are stuck on our present pharmaceutical toxic treatment as diseases increase. I’m a retired nurse, who 40 years ago heard no cure for any of the Chronic Fatigue Syndromes (Myalgic Encephalitis/fibromyalgia) and knew I had to find a way to live, even if the answer was to subdue, lessen and shorten the symptom of the constant reactivating of infections, despite blood tests showing no immune dysfunction. I am most likely one of the oldest and longest survivor of this. My main weapon, OSCILLOCOCCINUM!!!!!!! It’s growing popularity, and people I’ve referred it to with thanks for the results, is testament to this. People without immune compromise, were shocked at the shortened duration of the common cold, and the flu, in addition to the subdued symptoms. Really, is medicine in this country so excellent. Give me a break. Hospitals and MD’s are deficient in diagnosing even the simplest of problems. Want a list? I have no idea how it would behave in the Corona virus. For anyone with the common cold and flu, it is extremely important to begin treatment at the very first sign of an impending infection. This will also shorten the suffering and time of infection. I’ve learned to increase the amount of doses per day the stronger are the symptoms. Take it when symptoms increase if you must. If you catch it early, you will feel better soon. Incidentally, homeopathic remedies are used and appreciated all over the planet. But, in the US, what would the pharm industry do if there were better remedies than theirs?

  • I see Wiki takes a clear position on Oscillococcinum

    Oscillococcinum /ˌɒsələˈkɒksɪnəm/ (or Oscillo[1][2]) is a homeopathic preparation fraudulently marketed to relieve flu-like symptoms. It does not provide any benefit beyond that of sugar pills. It is a popular preparation, particularly in France and Russia.

    Very worrying is the possibility that increased production of Oscillococcinum could negatively affect the fois gras supply.

    • Very worrying is the possibility that increased production of Oscillococcinum could negatively affect the foie gras supply

      Which is rather puzzling – as just one duck’s heart and liver should provide enough base material for the production of as much oscillococcinum as the world could ever be SCAMmed with, for all eternity.
      Practically speaking, all Boiron has to do is to safely store one litre of the 12C dilution (which, after all, is just plain water that should keep indefinitely), and take e.g. one millilitre annually for further processing, potentially increasing its volume hundredfold with each of the subsequent 188 dilution steps.
      Killing lots of ducks for this quackery (pun not even intended) is just plain stupid.

      Then again, even the most sensible people seem to leave their brain at the entrance when entering homeopathy’s fairytale land of sugar crumbs and shaken water.

      • My understanding is that all the Oscillococcinum is derived from the same mother tincture as no one will ever be able to find the “bacteria” again

        • A Dutch TV consumer programme once aired an episode on oscillococcinum, where they attempted to follow it all the way back from the pharmacy’s shelf to the primary source, the actual ducks.
          Only to hit a concrete wall (i.e. closed doors and total silence) when they arrived at Boiron’s offices. No, they could not film anything on the premises, and no, there were no employees who could tell them anything apart from the official statements also found on the Web site, for reasons of ‘trade secrets’ with regard to the production process.
          Which of course is strange, as all of homeopathy involves just one childishly simple production process: dilute-and-shake.

          Then again, they may even forego the whole process with ducks, mother tincture etc. altogether, and simply sell the same, unprocessed sugar crumbs they bought or manufactured to begin with. After all, it is literally impossible to tell the difference. (Although employees might of course blow the whistle on this, so probably there is at least some diluting ‘n shaking going on at Boiron’s, if only to keep up appearances internally…).

        • But would not this potentiate Oscillococcinum to a dangerous level?

          Oscillococcinum is starting to sound as dangerous as fentanyl but I am relived that the supply of fois gras seems safe.

    • I don’t leave comments unless I have something that matters and might help others. I believe in medical doctors. I have a great family physician and have been to her for bronchitis and pneumonia over the years. I have always followed her advice and she has helped me heal most of the time. I am in my 50’s now and also know my body and have used alternative methods to heal. (chiropractor and supplements) Two years ago a friend introduced me to Ocillococcinum. I used it first as a preventative when I was flying frequently during the winter months to see my son out West in 2018. We are from Michigan. That winter I never got the flu. Last winter 2019 I was close to home supporting parents who were dying from cancer at the same time. I was in and out of the hospital for three months straight. I have several incidences where I felt that cold/flu like symptoms coming on. I took Oscillococcinum as directed and symptoms disappeared right away. This fall my husband and my son each came home within days of each other with cold symptoms. I immediately had them take the Boiron medication for colds. The next day all symptoms where gone and have not returned since them. Today is March 29 and now Detroit is a Cova19 hot spot. We are very worried about contracting the “Virus”. We are basically quarantined in our home except for grocery store runs. My whole family is taking the Oscillococcinum as a preventative. I know there isn’t any evidence these homeopathic medications work but I want you know they have worked for us. If we did get sick and needed medical care we would seek it out. I also believe in taking elderberry and liposomal vitamin C and vitamin D. We take these supplements regularly in our home. I wish you well on your journey to stay healthy during this pandemic.

      • Responding to Chris:
        Hi Chris,
        I, and my family, also have had amazing results from oscillococcinum over the years for flu-like symptoms, e.g. body aches, headache, fever, chills, fatigue. Whether or not it is indicated for covid-19 if symptoms are other than those listed above is not yet known to me at this time. I however, keep it on hand just in case because it can’t hurt, and could help with covid-19. At $15, it is worth it to me to keep it around and to use at the first signs of symptoms especially fever and fatigue which are often mentioned as covid-19 symptoms. Oscillo is offered as a remedy to reduce the severity and shorten the duration of flu-like symptoms. Clinical study for Oscillococcinum:Vickers A, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001957. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001957.pub3.

        In response to your comment that there is no evidence that homeopathy is effective, skeptics and naysayers would like us to think that, but there actually is a plethora of evidence from human records, studies, trials, and human experience such as you have witnessed with countless other human beings over the past 200 years. The track record for homeopathy during epidemics and pandemics is impressive. Mortality rates were extremely reduced among those who were treated with homeopathy. (Refer to links below) The scientific community has a difficult time because it is not yet known how homeopathy works which is troubling to them. However, in the example below, sometimes science is forced to accept human experience without understanding the mechanism. Case in point follows.

        During the 1918 influenza epidemic that killed approximately 600,000 Americans, the inexplainable human experience was there 600,000 (plus or minus) times. It needed no scientific proof. It was real, but science could not explain the cause, or the mechanism, only the human response. Science did not yet have the tools to discover viruses. Microscopes were not yet powerful enough to see the viruses, and it couldn’t explain it, nor treat it, yet the human experience was there daily…hourly!

        Here is a PBS Documentary about influenza pandemic in the US. It is not about homeopathy:[https://www.pbs.org/video/american-experience-influenza-1918/]

        Homeopathy and its successes and the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu), excerpt from 2nd link below:
        “Perhaps the most recent use of homeopathy in a major epidemic was during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. The Journal of the American Institute for Homeopathy, May, 1921, had a long article about the use of homeopathy in the flu epidemic. Dr. T A McCann, from Dayton, Ohio reported that 24,000 cases of flu treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2% while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05%. This last figure was supported by Dean W.A. Pearson of Philadelphia (Hahnemann College) who collected 26,795 cases of flu treated with homeopathy with the above results.”

        Links for homeopathic historical human records, studies, and trials…historical perspective in pandemics:
        http://www.homeopathycenter.org/homeoprophylaxis-human-records-studies-and-trials
        [http://www.homeopathycenter.org/treatment-epidemics-homeopathy-history

        On a personal note, if you have concerns about contracting the covid-19, besides the common protocol of washing hands and social distancing, self quarantining, etc., I suggest the following things: research on line which foods, vitamins and minerals support the immune system and especially the respiratory system and indulge. I personally use high potency vitamin C daily, and garlic (helps with social distancing! 😉 and ginger, both of which are good for the lungs. I cured a severe case of bronchitis many years ago with a strong tea of fresh garlic cloves (tastes awful!) alternated with a strong tea of fresh ginger with honey. It started to break up congestion immediately in fact I experienced that a few weeks ago when I started taking garlic. Seems to be cleaning out my lungs! That being said, I would also get in touch with a reputable homeopath for suggestions of what you personally do for protections. Nice to have one as a fall back! Wishing you well, and everyone who reads this. Onward to good health!

        • Beverley

          Have you looked at any of the links you posted and what they say? How about Vickers and Smith

          “Current evidence does not support a preventative effect of Oscillococcinum‐like homeopathic medicines in influenza and influenza‐like syndromes.”

          The difference in the 1918 pandemic figures is simply explained by the lack of aspirin which is thought to have increased mortality.

          Homeopathy is nonsense, Beverly. Bunkum. Twaddle. It has been laughed at since Mad Sam first dreamed it up. It has had 200 years to prove itself. It has not done so and never will. It will continue to have no place in any reputable healthcare system. But the believers will remain. And we will continue to laugh at them.

          • There was also a large demographic influence, with the less well-off having a much higher mortality rate then their more affluent compatriots (who would be the only ones able to afford to see a homeopath).

  • The following is what is known of this remedy from clinical experience. It may offend your tender sensibilities but It doesnt matter if the remedy was made from duck livers or duck soup or duct tape. if the patient meets these criteria in a significant way the remedy will work. And more recently the early stages of flu has been added to the criteria, from clinical experience.

    Quote: There is no pathogenesis of this remedy according to the Hahnemannian method [i.e. no homeopathic proving has been conducted]. We are, however, trying to give a clinical pathogenesis base on the works of P. Chavanon, our own clinical experience and the case reports of Hui-Bon-Hoa.

    Generalities
    Anxiety, paleness, chill.
    Sensitiveness to hygrometric and meteorologic changes.
    Tuberculous patients sensitive to cold. Luetosic subjects with fixed ideas, obsessions.
    Yellow conjunctiva

    Neuro-endocrino-psychic system
    Agony, anxious without any motive.
    Obstinate.
    A busy body, maniac, cannot bear disorder, fear of dirt, fear of being polluted.
    Has the need to wash his hands very often and is afraid of giving his hand to others for the fear of pollution, contagion.
    Is afraid of storm.

    Digestive apparatus
    Tongue white.
    Swelling of the stomach.
    Can digest neither milk nor eggs.
    Putrid regurgitations.
    aqueous or food vomiting.
    Abdominal cramping pains followed by foetid diarrhoea.
    Sometimes stubborn constipation.
    Icterus or pains in the appendicular region.

    Cardio-hemo-vascular system
    Hypotonia.
    Lipothymia.
    Thermoregulation Bruised sensation, chill, hyperthermia, headache with considerable throbbing.

    Respiratory apparatus
    Oculo nasal catarrh.
    Stuffed nose, nasal obstruction, sneezing.
    Serous discharge from the nose, then muco-purulent.
    Pain in the frontal and maxillary region.
    Nasal voice, aphonia, dry painful cough.
    Muco-purulent expectoration with humid cough.
    Pains sometimes as if from needles in one or both the ears
    Diminution of auditive acuity.
    Retro-auricular pain, spontaneous or felt on pressure.

    Uro-genital apparatus
    Turbid urine, less abundant, deep colour.
    Sometimes painful micturition.

    Skin, phanera
    Varicose type of ulcers of the legs.

    Modalities
    Aggravation of symptoms By milk, by eggs.
    Amelioration of symptoms By heat, by rest.

    • Roger

      You do realise that we’re laughing at you, don’t you?

    • @Roger
      ROFL

      Roger, if I wrote “The following is what is known of this remedy from clinical experience.” would you not consider me slightly out of order if I failed to state whose clinical experience?

      And if I wrote “Quote: There is no pathogenesis of this remedy according to the Hahnemannian method” would you not consider me amiss if I didn’t tell you where the quote came from?

      But I’m just being pedantic, expecting everyday scholarship from a supporter of homeopathy. As it stands your comment is a masterpiece of hilarity, so I’ll just copy and paste it to my database of snicker-worthy comments that appear in this blog.

      • You wouldnt know the homeopath, O. Julian, anyway, so why should I bother? Are you going to suddenly take up a study of homeopathy? You havent until now apparently. Why should you start?

        • @Roger

          No, I don’t know O. Julian. But you’re not exactly making me want me to learn about him, anyway. Where did he publish this bollocks you refer to as his “clinical experience”? Did his apparently ignorant pronouncements (e.g. remedies don’t have a pathogenesis — diseases do) receive any kind of peer review or editorial input from a reliable source?

          why should I bother?

          It’s fine by me if you don’t bother posting here ever again. Your daft comments are routinely laughed at by their readers (with the obvious exception of the master of tu quoque, RG). Please bother no more, by all means.

          • In homeopathy remedies Do have a pathogenesis. Like Cures Like. What something will Cause in a healthy person, it will cure in a sick person. Somebody on this list has to understand homeopathy and respond to the ignorant attacks on it. I get to laugh at your ignorance.

            Homeopathy is reviewed every day by practitioners who make use of fellow practitioner’s advice. Advice that doesnt hold up over time gets downgraded in importance. Thats why there is a rating system for remedies in the homeopathic repertories. That is why homeopathic software allows the practitioner to ignore the input from certain authors.

            We are not playing with toxic drugs so if improper advice is acted upon the only downside is that the remedy wont work.

  • Unless made from that particular strain, it will not work. Homeopathic Educational Society, Barkley, CA, USA suggested THYMULIN 9C for novel corona virus prevention. THYMULIN is the hormone which triggers T-cell production against Viral infections

  • Amid claims that homeopathy or oscilloccocinum in particular is not scientifically proven is debatable but let’s go with your belief that it is not scientifically proven. Big Pharma would want you to be deeply intrenched in that belief so like a couch potato you apparently don’t do unbiased research or try the harmless substance to find out for yourself. Instead you spew out supposed lofty opinions with sand in your mouth (see below).

    Humans that hold to science as their ultimate master will miss the many truths and experiences that science has not yet explored nor has yet caught up. They can be compared to an ostrich with its head in the sand. Was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity only true because he discovered it? Or did he discover it because it was true and already existed?

  • I am a professional homeopath with a lifetime of experience – over 40 years – of effectively treating *and relieving* symptoms of many minor and major illnesses, everything from the common cold to gallstones, myalgias, cardiac arrythmias, migraines, even temporary but highly effective relief from impending myocardial infarction (angina), and so much more. What is my proof? I am living proof. I have survived these many illnesses and more with the help of homeopathic remedies, usually self-prescribed, but other times prescribed by other homeopathic healers.when I was in need of their assistance. Homeopathy is a great boon to humanity, and can be a lifesaver in the hands of a professional or when applied by a knowledgeable lay person.
    And especially at this time it needs to be noted that the use of the homeopathic flu remedy Oscillococcinum during flu season can deter the development of major flu symptoms. Personally I have never developed a full-on case of the flu after applying recommended doses of
    Oscillococcinum. My proof may be subjective,, but valid in that I am relaying honest records of my experiences. Oscillococcinum successfully short-circuits the development of the flu when taken immediately upon becoming symptomatic. I am now in my early 70s and due to the many successful cures I have witnessed, Oscillo will remain my go-to remedy of choice when symptoms of any flu-like illness become apparent.
    The naysayers of homeopathy are mostly ignorant of homeopathy in its essence and one should carefully scrutinize them for their slander. Have they ever read a book on homeopathic principles? Most don’t know a thing about how or why it works.. Anyone who has studied homeopathic principles will attest to the truth of the science behind the art of homeopathy, it is serious medicine.
    Keep oscillococcinum on hand during the flu season and especially during this corona virus scare. You may see for yourself the amazing effects of applied principles of homeopathy if you should develop initial symptoms of the flu. Those who are intent on trying to destroy its credibility need to at the very least read a book written by one of the masters such as by the creator and Father of homeopathy himself, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann or by any of the many great healers and teachers alive today. I wish you all continued good health and keep homeopathic remedies on hand, you will never regret it. 🙏

  • You state, “So, to be clear: oscillococcinum does not help against the corona or any other virus. ” What evidence do you have? What studies are you citing?

    I am a study of n = 1 (if you know what that means) that Oscillococcinium and homeopathic remedies work.

    Please stop spreading narrow-mindedness.

    • you are certainly NOT a n=1 study

    • @Amyless: prior to chiming in and allowing us to recognize both your lack of erudition and inflated ego it might be wise to actually read at least ONE of the professors many in-depth, well researched and referenced books. Perhaps then you could formulate a question that he could actually answer. I assume you can read…..?

  • It works! If you haven’t used it at the onslaught of the flu as recommended how can you say or even know otherwise. It works, I use it. I don’t know how it works but I’m happy and grateful it does.

  • A response to Frank Odds, {{Buy out the companies selling the better remedies and sell them themselves.

    (Hint: the fact that this never appears to happen is evidence that the remedies you’re thinking of are not actually “better” in any definable way.)}}

    If that is meant to be a logical argument that supports the lack of the efficacy of homeopathy, please reconsider [I am not addressing the efficacy of homeopathy in this post (that will be left for another time), but rather I am addressing what you consider to be a logical argument in debunking the efficacy of homeopathy.]

    If something, in this case, homeopathy, were more effective than the pharmaceutical drugs,
    …the need for the treatment would be reduced because people would be getting well, therefore a decrease in the need for continued use of a medicine to stay well,
    …pharmaceutical drugs create side effects that then require another drug, that then require another drug, etc., etc. Kachink, kachink, kachink.

    A decrease in the need for continued use of a medicine, and elimination of additional medicines for side effects, therefore creates reduction in sales, therefore a decrease in revenue, therefore no monetary incentive to outdo the existing pharmaceutical system. Anything that threatens to out perform the pharmaceutical system and its extreme monetary returns, it is reasonable to assume, will be debunked, and as experienced in our political system, be undermined and suppressed.

    Other things to consider:
    Homeopathy is not a company to buy, it is a system of medicine
    Homeopathy is a system of healing different than pharmaceutical drugs
    Homeopathy remedies are inexpensive compared to pharmaceutical drugs.
    Homeopathy is simply not a money maker compared to the pharmaceutical industry
    Homeopathy has no side effects requiring another remedy

    • @Beverly Smith

      You show admirable faith in the value of homeopathy but total naivety in business practice.

      Homeopathy is not a company to buy, it is a system of medicine

      I have often asked before: how many “systems” of medicine do we need? Why do you not consider colloidal silver, TCM, orthomolecular “science”, unani and essential oils — these are all “systems” listed in a recent post on this blog as able to play some sort of positive role in management of COVID-19 infections — at least as good as homeopathy? Please give us an indication of the evidence that persuades you homeopathy is superior to the many other “systems of medicine” we read about regularly on this blog.

      As for homeopathy not being a company to buy: you can’t have a different “system of medicine” without companies inevitably springing up to provide the materia medica for that system. Where homeopathy’s concerned, the names Boiron, Helios, Similasan, Hevert and Nelson are names that spring to mind, but they all combine to create a market with an estimated worth of 17 billion dollars by 2024.

      The companies whose names I have mentioned are affordable for takeover by ethical pharmaceutical companies. The latter regularly buy out small and medium drug and appliance companies selling products that appear to have therapeutic potential. Even the biggest manufacturer of homeopathic medicines, Boiron, would be easily affordable to the likes of Pfizer, Merck and J&J, yet these have shown no interest in buying them. Please ask yourself why?

      You wrote

      Homeopathy remedies are inexpensive compared to pharmaceutical drugs.

      Pharmaceuticals that have been around for decades and are used widely tend to be very cheap. Considering there’s nothing in a homeopathic “remedy” they’re all overpriced. Consultations with homeopaths do, of course, cost prices comparable to consultations with qualified MDs.

      Homeopathy is simply not a money maker compared to the pharmaceutical industry

      I think a $17B industry is worthy of the title “money maker”. Sure, $17B is small compared to the $1170 billion estimate for the pharma market next year, but to claim that homeopathy has no monetary considerations is simply naïve.

      …pharmaceutical drugs create side effects that then require another drug, that then require another drug, etc., etc. Kachink, kachink, kachink.

      This is a tired old trope that supporters of homeopathy (and supporters of other, different “systems of medicine”) like to trot out on regular occasions. The majority of side effects of pharmaceuticals are trivial and require no extra prescribing. For the serious side effects, years of research have identified the patients most at risk of experiencing them and taking the appropriate steps to eliminate them (or simply prescribe an alternative drug).

      Anything that threatens to out perform the pharmaceutical system and its extreme monetary returns, it is reasonable to assume, will be debunked, and as experienced in our political system, be undermined and suppressed.

      I repeat what brought us to this exchange of views. Anything that threatens to out perform the pharmaceutical system and its extreme monetary returns, it is reasonable to assume, will be debunked, and as experienced in our political system, be undermined and suppressed handled commercially in the typical style of all types of industry — particularly in the USA where “Big Pharma” is allowed, incongruously, to advertise its products directly to sick patients.

      Your obvious affection for the witchcraft of homeopathy seems to have blinded you to the realities of commerce. Homeopathy (and other forms of pseudo-medicine) are not really as innocent as you like to believe. I wish the world were a place more akin to your dreams, but it’s not.

      • For many years I would get the flu almost annually experiencing typical aches, fever, chills, headache, fatigue later developing a cough that would last several weeks. I dreaded the experience and it wore me down and interfered with my busy life. Someone told me to try Oscillococcinum at the first symptom. The next time those symptoms came on, I took a vile and went to bed, covering up with a blanket. I resisted taking anything for fever as the remedy works best by increasing the body temp to a point that kills the virus. After 6 hours I took another dose and then 6 hours later a third. By the next morning I was better with no residual symptoms such as cough or nasal congestion. I’m a registered nurse and from the time I began taking this remedy for flu I have never missed a day of work. I also found the the episodes of flu became further apart. I feel sorry for people who would rather be severely ill than to try this simple effective homeopathic remedy. I have plenty of it on hand during this Coronovirus scare and have handed it out to my elderly neighbours. The only defence to fighting this virus is your own immune system so what do you have to loose.

      • Response to Frank Odds.
        Sir. One of the things that is a phenomenon of human beings is to accuse another of something that is true of themselves. Watch it happen. It is extremely common. While I don’t want to be rude, you have accused me of being naive.

        My original point was addressing what I consider faulty logic regarding homeopathy and pharma industry. We were not addressing other modalities. I am addressing your logic, not whether or not homeopathy is effective. You stated that the fact that pharma has not bought homeopathic companies is EVIDENCE that homeopathy is not better in any definable way. I stand by my arguments.

        You call homeopathy witchcraft. I consider that a cope out comment. But let’s just go with your definition, it is pretty damn powerful witchcraft! ( ; After pharma failed me many years ago, I’ve been using homeopathy for the past 50 years for myself, my family, and my animals with remarkable results.

        FROM YOUR POST: “But, in the US, what would the pharm industry do if there were better remedies than theirs?

        Buy out the companies selling the better remedies and sell them themselves.

        (Hint: the fact that this never appears to happen is evidence that the remedies you’re thinking of are not actually “better” in any definable way.)”

        • Beverly, well said. Homeopathy WORKS and doesnt cause the side effects traditional medicine does. Big pharma is only interested in the almighty dollar. So what if the miracle drug has side effects, now theres a need for a NEW drug. Again well said Beverly!!

          • @Beverly and Diane

            I’m really getting tired of people who are completely blind to the workings of “Big Pharma” (and all other modern forms of industry). The biggest pharma companies all have teams of people paid salaries to be on the lookout for “promising developments” in medical treatments so they can beat their competition to it.

            I just googled “which smes [small and medium-sized enterprises] did merck buy in 2019” and was rewarded with this page as a first hit. It shows that last year Merck bought no fewer than 27 other companies (the webpage lists only 10 — you have to pay to register to see the other 17). You can see the details of what Merck got for its money by clicking on the name of the company taken over.

            I chose Merck entirely at random. You can google other Big names in the Pharma industry to find what acquisitions they made in whichever year you choose.

            A company like Merck could buy up Boiron for petty cash. Its manufacturing costs are low, as you correctly state; the side-effects profiles of its products are in no way discouraging, as you correctly state. If homeopathy per se is as blindingly effective as you claim, why hasn’t any Big Name in the Pharma industry rushed to acquire a Boiron or a Heel or a Nelson or a Hyland’s?

            Don’t bother to answer they would not be profitable enough: your constant complaint with Big Pharma is the way they charge (at least in the USA) ridiculously high prices for their products. You can’t suddenly make exceptions for homeopathic medicines. They’d be cash cows to Big Pharma — if they worked as claimed.

            You really can’t have it both ways. Does homeopathy not offer any remedy for people with chronic head-buried-in-sand problems??

          • I’m unsubscribing. Big pharma is a lot of the reason why health care is so expensive in this country. GREED in adulterated GREED

          • and the most expensive is homeopathy: contains NOTHING and still costs quite a bit

          • @Frank Odds

            Frank, that is the most flawed reasoning I’ve ever heard on why corporations don’t buy smaller companies that are profitable.

            You just showed us your ignorance.

          • “that is the most flawed reasoning I’ve ever heard”
            in this case, you ought to read some of your own comments!

          • @EE

            Edzard, I see you know nothing also. You and Frank can go and sit in the corner.

          • some humour at last!

          • @RG

            Point out the flaws, then. And explain why Frank is incorrect.

          • RG
            We are still waiting to hear your explanation of how professor Odds is wrong. We do not find any flaw in his reasoning.

          • Responding to Bjorn Geir regarding Frank Odds argument claiming that the fact that Pharma has not bought out homeopathic companies is PROOF that homeopathy does not work. I happened on the following link today. It does not address homeopathy per se. It does, however, support my arguments in a prior post addressing Frank’s logic, but with more supporting evidence regarding pharma, revenues, investors, and medicines that cure. I suggest you read it carefully and thoroughly, Frank, as it addresses your unsubstantiated follow up comments debunking my reference to the price of pharma drugs, and recurring need for a medicine, and medicines to mitigate side effects impacting revenues:

            https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/revolutionandrevelation/72407

            My point here is to address Frank’s logic, whether or not I am a proponent of homeopathy. Using Frank’s logic, one could also come to the opposite conclusion after reading the above article regarding medicines that cure.

          • @Beverly

            I’ve been retired for quite some years now, but I used to teach a bit of pharmacology to medical students in the course of my lectures on infectious diseases. At the start of the first lecture I always asked the class: “What would you define as the ideal pharmaceutical?” They would consistently conclude along the lines: “One without side effects that cures its target disease with a single dose.” I explained they were wrong. That for a drug company to sustain its bottom line what it needs, ideally, is drugs that have to be taken at least once a day for a patient’s lifetime. Such drugs will provide smooth and steady profits for the company.

            The article you linked to (by Milton Packer) is a kind of action replay of this script. We’ve known all this for very many years in the context of antibiotics. Consider the reasons why we currently face a huge global problem with bacterial resistance to antibiotics. We understand the scientific difficulties surrounding discovery of novel agents that can overcome resistance mechanisms. But when you throw in the considerations that (a) governments will almost certainly restrict the use of such effective antibiotics to patients infected with resistant strains of microbes and that (b) the new drug, being highly effective, will reduce the population of treatable patients and therefore the market for the drug, you can see — from the drug company’s point of view — that their wonderful new medicine will not be so commercially wonderful after all. That assumes, of course, that “commercial wonder” depends on very high “one-off” profits.

            An example of this situation concerns peptic ulcer. When, in the 1990s, physicians finally came to accept that peptic ulcers were an infectious disease caused by Helicobacter pylori, the usual research race began to find novel antibiotics that would eradicate H. pylori from the stomach and thus cure ulcers. No novel agents resulted from this race, but it was found that two or three long-known and therefore inexpensive antibiotics in combination were so successful at treating peptic ulcer that the pool of patients with ulcers shrank.

            Drug companies that have been around for many decades typically see their strengths in having not only blockbusters but a portfolio of products as broad as possible. Your J&Js, Mercks, Pfizers, Bayers, GSKs, etc. don’t depend on one-hit wonders. While I’m sure that, when it comes to pricing, they all push as far upwards as possible for drugs that can be definitively shown to save lives where other drugs fail, but they’re still content to earn smaller but steady revenues from pharmaceuticals like aspirin, also from non-pharmaceuticals (J&J baby powder still sells well despite its recent problems in the law courts) and medical appliances.

            Shrewd CEOs in the pharma world know that, while one-hit wonder drugs may boost their profits in a short period of time, they can’t be depended upon for consistent income, for the reasons stated in Milton Packer’s article. I see analogies to this in other areas of commerce. For example the Apple iPhone and Tesla Model S electric car, while not direct equivalents to 100% effective drugs, were sufficiently superior to their competitors at the time of launch that they commanded very high prices. But their prices have now fallen back as the competition has grown. Luckily for Apple, Inc. and Tesla, Inc. they do have other products to smooth their bottom line.

            What does all this have to do with homeopathy? Well, in your latest comment you wrote:

            My point here is to address Frank’s logic, whether or not I am a proponent of homeopathy. Using Frank’s logic, one could also come to the opposite conclusion after reading the above article regarding medicines that cure.

            That would be true only by the most contorted wringing of the neck of logic. Milton Packer essentially argues (supported by Goldman Sachs’ advice to investors) that no company would want to touch selling a totally effective (perfect) drug because the vast profit it can make would vanish, particularly if the pool of treatable patients were small. Packer confirms that “sustainable cash flow” is the ideal position for a company to cherish, but that it’s unsustainable with a “perfect” drug.

            He writes an imaginary discussion as follows: “The obvious suggestion: Could you possibly make the drug a bit less effective, so that people would need to continue to take it on an ongoing basis, so you would be able to generate more money? The company says no.”

            Beverly, you imagine a world in which business is run by idiots, not by the astute “relentlessly chase a buck wherever you can find it” people we had assumed were in charge of our investments. A CEO should surely be out to support a product portfolio as broad as possible. And to include less than perfect products with the blockbuster, 100% effective products exemplified in your linked article.

            Never mind Milton Packer’s view, which relates to very recent developments in which we actually have a few near-perfect pharma products to discuss. How about the previous >200 years in which homeopathy has been fondly proposed by its supporters as a novel “system of medicine” whose principles are valid competitors for real medicine. Regardless of this hype, homeopathy still requires saleable products. It calls them “remedies” in an effort to confound those who would call them “medicines”; but they’re all stuff in bottles that have to be manufactured and sold. So why in their >200-year history have these remedies never been added to the portfolio of a large ethical pharmaceutical company?

            Surely it can’t be that the theoretical principles of homeopathy are flawed? As was first pointed out by people like Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. in 1842 (Homoeopathy and its Kindred Delusions) and Dan King, MD in 1858 (Quackery Unmasked). In today’s evidence-based society we refer more politely to the “prior probability” of homeopathy as very low. And surely it can’t be the absence of evidence from (the few) robustly designed clinical trials that the homeopathic remedies are simply not effective? It must be that the wise, far-sighted managers of large drug companies can envisage that homeopathic remedies are so super-effective that they’ll cure all diseases in a very short time and thereafter cease to generate any profit for the company that makes them.

            Now we come to the point in the context of this entire blog. If homeopathy is so wonderfully effective why hasn’t it already reduced the pool of patients to zero in the very long time it’s had to demonstrate its effectiveness? You’re trying to counter my perfectly straightforward, rational and reasonable case with daft logic — that homeopathy is far too good a system of medicine to interest any commercial entrepreneur. Daft in the extreme, I suggest. Because it already has attracted the small-scale commercial interests of Boiron, Helios, Similasan, Hevert, Nelson and the many other companies that make a fast buck out of the remedies.

            Please write to the CEOs of these companies advising them that they ought to disinvest from their homeopathic remedy businesses as fast as possible lest they become overwhelmed by the efficacy of their products and lose their customer base faster than a coronavirus pandemic clears the city streets of people.

  • @Frank Odds

    I am working in a medium-sized pharmaceutical company in southern Germany. We are service providers and contract manufacturers for the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies, so I understand your arguments perfectly.

    As hard as you try, you will not be able to convince the homeopathy-loving Dianas, Cathys, Beverlys of this world. To them, big pharma is THE evil for the human well-being and health. Big Pharma are impersonal technocrats who are longing for money and are only out to get rid (figuratively speaking) of the hard-working philanthropic homeopaths.

  • I swear by Oscillococcinum, yes I do. We all use it here and whatever y’all want to say against it~ So be it. My suggestion is you try it. My son gets high fevers (he’s now 20). One night he was younger (12) and miserable with a high 104 temp on a Sunday… What to do? Pack him up and take him to the ER or urgent care filled with sick germs? My homeopathic Dr. friend said “Oscillo and Elderberry.” Broke fever by morning. It is a go to in our home, especially for fever. Elderberry syrup as well. Thieves. Give it a try. 🙂 I am the one who is smiling! ***NOTE: We have a regular doctor. My children are vaccinated. We use REGULAR mainstream remedies as well when needed~ But when something works, it works! Why has it been around since 1918??? That’s a lot of hoaxing! Lol~ Hmmm….maybe it actually DOES do something.

  • Edzard. Question. Regarding the clinical trial which you were “among authors, i.e.”Homeopathic Arnica for prevention of pain and bruising: randomized placebo-controlled trial in hand surgery Stevinson C, et al. J R Soc Med 2003 – Clinical Trial. Among authors: Ernst E. PMID 12562974 Free PMC”

    I’m wondering if you had a reputable homeopath consulting how to use the remedy? The reason I am asking, is from my knowledge as a long time user of homeopathy, I question the protocol of the trial. My experience with homeopathy is that it is curative of symptoms, generally not used as prevention except with neosodes, or perhaps in this case reduction of bruising, but that would be an outcome from treating the pain symptom first. My best results and what I have gleaned from the experts over the years is that homeopathy is a remedy for symptoms that have occurred, and the remedy ONLY repeated if there is a plateau in improvement, or symptoms worsen. I personally would never use Arnica especially 30C for that many days in a row. I would suspect I was in fact causing the symptoms by overdosing rather than mitigating the symptoms. More is not better in homeopathy. So from my perspective the test appears flawed. I would rather see a test where the participants used it only when symptoms arise and only repeated if improvement stops, or symptoms regress which is the more traditional use of homeopathy as a remedy. Sometimes it takes time. For dental pain, Arnica was brilliant after 15 minutes; when a horse stepped on my foot, (OMG ouch!) I sprayed arnica on it, and took a 30C internally. Thinking my foot was broken and I would be on crutches forever (; , the pain abruptly stopped in an hour and I could actually walk. Then I took again when pain recurred a little later; each time the time gap widened until there was no ore need for the remedy. I also discovered that I fell into a normal and predictable pattern of the time for the remedy to kick in, and for a recurring dose for acute situations. Constitutional remedies are different discussion. Since there is way too much evidence and experience that homeopathy does work, I am curious why results are flawed in clinical trials that debunk and ignore the high success rate in those that use homeopathy properly; in this trial, I suspect the way the remedy was used is the culprit for lack of response or for likelihood of causing the symptoms to perpetuate or worsen.

    So far, all of the clinical studies that I have checked that debunk homeopathy have an obvious flaw because the principles of homeopathy are not understood by the ones doing the trial, and the protocol is flawed, or in some cases studies are skewed purposely in an effort to debunk homeopathy. It can not be tested in the same way as conventional medicine. Less is better, and the way it is administered is important. A clinical trial is not valid unless based on the principles of homeopathy which is treating symptoms only when they arise, and repeating a remedy only when needed until the acute phase has passed. There are a few other factors that lessen the effectiveness of a remedy which may or may not be taken into consideration in a trial.

    Arnica is one of the more successful remedies even with skeptics. Anecdotal experience is not to be ignored. If a clinical trial does not support overwhelming anecdotal experience it is to be questioned. Science has limitations when it does not understand, nor have the appropriate tools to discover and is inherently flawed when it ignores abundant anecdotal effectiveness when homeopathy is administered properly. More about that coming up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

If you want to be able to edit your comment for five minutes after you first submit it, you will need to tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”
Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories