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.

119 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?

      • so sorry that, as a healthcare professional, you have not learnt the difference between anecdote and evidence
        https://edzardernst.com/2012/11/what-is-and-what-isnt-clinical-evidence-and-why-is-the-distinction-important/

      • @Gail

        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.)

        • The pharma industry has done everything it could to prohibit use of tested homeopathics in this country. Besides who would really trust many of their side effect toxin concoctions, if they tried to duplicate this novel process, they would dilute, add unnatural substances, and raise the price significantly beyond it’s true cost.

      • My body, my anecdotal. For almost forty years. I’ve been taking Oscillcoccinum at the first signs of a cold or flu . . . and it has been effective in preventing or at least alleviating any further symptoms. So, it may not work for you, but it certainly has worked for me.

      • Bravo Gail. Western medication almost destroyed my daughter’s immune system when she was just 4 and was suffering from chronic ear infection. Only when I switched to homeopathy did she regain her health and went from about 20 infections per year to a mere 2 or 3 at most and much less severe than before. The placebo and sugar pill stories are a joke. SHE WAS 4! Didn’t understand homeopathy, which is even used on pets. Big pharma feeling so threatened and rightly so. No you don’t have to destroy one organ to cure another. What a concept!

        • SHE WAS 4! Didn’t understand homeopathy, which is even used on pets.

          No, but the person administering the sugar pills thought they did.

          Ladies. Anecdotes are the lowest tier of evidence. Carry on in your little circle-jerk of self-delusion and I hope your kids don’t suffer.

        • Gail,

          Western medication almost destroyed my daughter’s immune system

          What do you mean by this? Low white cell count? Agammaglobulinaemia? Bone marrow dysfunction? Or do you simply mean that she had a lot of infections. Western medicine is unlikely to “almost destroy” anybody’s immune system unless they are given strongly immunosuppressive drugs (unlikely in a 4-year-old) or chemotherapy.

          when I switched to homeopathy did she regain her health and went from about 20 infections per year to a mere 2 or 3 at most

          20 infections per year over four years is 80 infections. Is that really true? Or have you simply picked out one year when she had a lot more infections than usual? Were there really 20 separate episodes or was it a chronic infection that took some time to resolve? Either way, it is hardly surprising that subsequent years were better.

          I should also point out that viral infections are very common in young children, particularly when they start kindergarden, as they are exposed to a great many viruses that they have never previously encountered. As immunity builds up against each of them the number of infections falls to the adult level of 2 – 3 per year.

          Finally, ear infections are also very common in small children as the eustachian tube (connecting the middle ear to the nose) is oblique and narrow and easily blocked by mucosal swelling during a viral infection; the air in the middle ear is then absorbed and the ear fills with fluid, providing a ready environment for bacteria to grow and cause a secondary infection; this situation often persists for long enough to cause serious hearing problems and poor performance at school, though it is readily treated (e.g. by putting grommets in the eardrum). As the child gets older the facial bones grow and the eustachian tube becomes wider and less oblique, and therefore less easily blocked.

          Are you sure that what you are describing in your daughter was due to immune dysfunction? And are you sure that her recovery wasn’t simply due to normal growing up? If so, she must be pretty unusual.

          Anybody who really does have a problem with their immune system who then develops an infection requires urgent treatment to prevent rapid deterioration and the risk of death. To rely on homeopathy rather than proper treatment (which in this situation may well include intensive care) is reckless and may lead to a manslaughter charge.

  • 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.

      • Nobody ask you to take it.Do whatever the f.you want.I have used it and other people did and it obviously works.Otherwise it wouldn’t survived on the market for so long .So no one cares about you stupid scientific research and i am not talking about other homeopathic drugs.Just about this one.And i couldn’t care less HOW it works.People do so much more other “stupid” shit,but they won’t regret this one.This is about your health it won’t hurt you to try anyway.Science don’t know everything as you know they can’t cure so many diseases.Stop being a d-k and support pharmaceutical companies.And most importantly get the f-k out of here.

        • “I have used it and other people did and it obviously works. Otherwise it wouldn’t survived on the market for so long.”
          WHERE DID YOU LEARN HOW THINK SO FALLACIOUSLY?
          never let some logic come between you and an old fallacy!
          WEEL DONE!

          • So you are saying i should not use it even if it works.It doesn’t matter what kind of logic i use .The results are important .. I am not fallacious if it work for me in this case .Looks like you are fallacious for making a comment like that …

          • how do you know it worked for you?
            it would have gone without the remedy!
            or perhaps it was the placebo effect?
            the only way to tell whether a treatment works is to conduct a controlled clinical trial.
            AND THESE STUDIES FAIL TO SHOW THAT IT WORKS!!!

          • How do i know ,i feel better the very next day or in couple of days with mild symptoms .And when i don t use it or miss to take when the first signs show i get real bad with terrible caught and body aches and running nose and been coughing for weeks.How about that .And don’t talk about trials unless you did it yourself and have proof .If you believe in everything blindly like that you are in trouble .If course pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t that remedy around cause they will lose money.They can manipulate those studies like they did it for sure so many times .Even if it is placebo i will spent my money with joy to feel better…

          • Axaxaxa.You don’t show my comments any more.That is nice.This
            is just shows me i am on to something.I am not very comfortable for you .You are the devil’s advocate.And you are doing a terrible job.Good Luck !

          • @EE

            It’s pretty simple Edzard, it’s called listening to you body.

            Just because it failed a study doesn’t mean it doesn’t work at all. Most studies need a preponderance of the evidence to obtain an approvable letter. So if a remedy failed because it didn’t work for enough of the group, you are discounting the 40% of the patients in the trial that it gave a benefit.

            Even IF, the illness went away due to placebo or time, who cares ? …. folks just want to be well.

            Take your science and shove-it !

        • Well said. My sons had the flu a day before a week long camp trip. We used this incredible stuff on him, he woke up symptoms free the next morning and off he went. Last night I had the first signs of a cold, took only one dose, this morning I feel great again. It works. They can shove their stupid comments down their throat, and will do the same with this miracle medicine.

          • yes, it would indeed require a miracle for such a dilution (200 times 1:100) to work.
            [but good to hear that you respond well to placebos]

          • @Ella

            How did you tell it was influenza your son was getting? Or a viral infection (“cold”) that you had?
            Did you have a test or just guess that the symptoms were due to influenza virus in your son and one of the many viral infections that go by the name “common cold” that you yourself got?

            Very many conditions can reesemble the initial symptoms but resolve spontaneously. Are you sure yu aree not deluding yourself?

          • @Bjorn

            Sir, do you ever assume in your own practice after treating your patients that symptoms could have resolved spontaneously. Are you sure you sure you’re not deluding yourself?

          • No, dear RG. We do not assume, we apply ever advancing science and accumulated knowledge and experience as much as possible. We evaluate the need and utility for treatment ‘before’ we do anything. We decide upon every intervention after informing the patient and with his consent if at all possible. If the condition is likely to improve without intervention, we wait and observe, reevaluate regularly and act only if necessary.
            We are by law required to keep up to date at all times. Look up CME.
            Things change and what was considered ok to do a decade ago may no longer be accepted. It is called progress and defines proper medicine from So Called Alternative Medicine, which is by definition not useful and does not improve.
            I am sorry that something in your experience seems to have led you to think all doctors are vile, lazy villains. Perhaps you are the victim of an incompetent MD? Like the ridiculous phenomenon, that the fool in the White House was promoting the other day, who believes in witchcraft over science and rambled incoherently in front of the world press about her ignorant belief in hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19? How she had obtained and held a job as a doctor in a supposedly regulated society is beyond belief. The USA seems regretably replete with idiots flaunting an MD title. Luckily we have better regulatory systems in my part of the world and fever doctors without sense. But incompetents exist, just as in other professions.

            Now why don’t you stop worrying about complicated medical matters that you lack the knowledge and anaytical mind to understand and let those who have the proper education and training, decide what is best for patients? It must be difficult to be so constantly disgruntled, confused and unhappy about things beyond your capabilities.

          • @Bjorn

            Bjorn said to Ella:
            ” Very many conditions can resemble the initial symptoms but resolve spontaneously. Are you sure your are not deluding yourself? ”

            RG said:
            “do you ever assume in your own practice after treating your patients that symptoms could have resolved spontaneously”

            Bjorn said”
            “No, dear RG. We do not assume”

            More double standards…. Bjorn, your full of them.
            “good for thee, but not for me”

          • 😅

    • 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).

          • Oscillococcinum works for me and my family EVERY time if taken at the earliest signs .
            It’s amazing . Maybe try it before you knock it !

          • Irene Ingalls:

            Oscillococcinum works for me and my family EVERY time if taken at the earliest signs .
            It’s amazing . Maybe try it before you knock it !

            People believe all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. That doesn’t make them true. I had a patient once who was quite vociferous in his advice to sleep with a potato in the bed to prevent gout. Should we all try that, too?

            If you try something and a certain outcome follows, how do you know that they are cause and effect? Most of the time it doesn’t matter, but when it comes to healthcare people’s lives and well-being are at stake, and it isn’t simply a case of trying something to see if you like it; nor are testimonials strong enough evidence here. The only reliable way of trying something is in a clinical trial, which is designed to distinguish between true effects of treatment and random happenings. So far no clinical trial has demonstrated a beneficial effect of oscillococcinum.

            We are hard-wired to look for cause and effect, and for patterns, and we have a strong aversion to the idea that our life is strongly influenced by random happenings. However, the mathematics tells a different story. It is a sad indictment of our educational system that so many people would rather believe in witchcraft than take the trouble to learn how to understand the behaviour of numbers.

            By the way, you haven’t even told us what the earliest signs are that lead you to take oscillococcinum, nor what you mean when you say it works. Or indeed how often the situation arises where you feel the need to take it.

          • it doesnt matter if you laugh at us,we dont care,simply put the old anti homeopathy message is that present science cannot see any cause and effect within homeopathy, so therefore present science actually claims to have a much better understanding then it really does,for i too wish to back up other anecdotal evidence of success with oscillococcinum reported here.
            Modern medicine goes back much further than todays profession gives it credit,and it was Paracelsus, one of the first european herbalist healers, who was calling many of the other strange practices like bloodletting,quackery, long before 20th century cause and effect science was getting angry that other methods were succeeding where it wasnt.Please consider that modern scientific understanding of the way the universe might work just might not be complete.

          • Sean Sullivan,

            Please consider that modern scientific understanding of the way the universe might work just might not be complete

            You have hit the nail on the head here. The recognition that our understanding is incomplete is what distinguishes scientists from non-scientists.

          • OMG! Dr. Julian, Let’s see if we can round up some scientists for this site! (Said teasingly. Sorta. My own form of sarcasm, Edzard!) My definition of a true scientist is one who is unbiased and not out to debunk, but wants to discover why a clinical trial does not support a history of strong anecdotal records and experiences as well as other clinical trials that do work.
            Questions:
            1. Edzard, what was the deal on the study you were involved with that did show that homeopathy was effective?
            2. Where do I find that study?
            3. Wondering how that one went?
            4. Also wondering what happened to the first Australian study headed by a “scientist” (who was a member of the anti-homeopathy lobbyist organization that debunked homeopathy and who stated with his signature that there was no conflict of interest) that showed homeopathy was effective, the study that didn’t get published?
            5. And what about the study that did get published that supposedly debunked homeopathy but is now in a lawsuit because it was a flawed and biased study?
            6. Where are the true and honest scientists like the ones at Oregon State University who understand that when a study
            does not reflect public opinion and experience, there is more to consider and learn about the studies, that maybe there are things that science is missing because it hasn’t yet evolved to a new understanding?
            7. Why is that not applied to homeopathy?
            8. Why not consider that just maybe homeopathy does work, and put your efforts into learning how to do a proper clinical trial, perhaps also using successful trials as a model?

            Okay, ‘nuf. I’ve got other questions percolating. Let’s get some real science going here!

          • 1. Edzard, what was the deal on the study you were involved with that did show that homeopathy was effective?
            2. Where do I find that study?
            3. Wondering how that one went?
            MY REPLIES:
            1. Not sure what you mean
            2. It’s published in a journal that meanwhile went bust. but I have discussed it here [if we both mean the same trial]: https://edzardernst.com/2015/07/professor-ernsts-very-own-positive-trial-of-homeopathy-oh-dear-have-i-been-found-out/
            3. see the post linked to above.

    • The only time I’ve been advised that this did not significantly aid in cold and flu is some peoples inability to use it correctly. It has it’s own protocol of administration, including sensitivity to very first symptoms and dose adjustment depending on the severity of the infection.

      • then, why do clinical trials not confirm your notion?
        perhaps it is wrong?

      • As ever with homeopathy, there’s always an excuse as to why it doesn’t work. Wrong remedy. Homeopath was distracted. The patient didn’t take it properly. The remedy was looked at by a nasty man which interfered with its magical energies.

        The last one seems to happen all the time when remedies are subjected to proper clinical trials which demonstrate their inertness.

        All of science says this must be the case. There is no reason to suspect that homeopathy has any effect.

        But homeopaths have to attempt to contort reality in order to make it conform to their delusions.

        It will continue to be ignored by medicine as an irrelevance and the fools who believe in it will continue to be mocked.

  • 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.

          • Roger,

            You seem to be using the word pathogenesis in a different sense from how it is used by doctors. Could you please provide a definition as I am not at all clear what you mean by the term?

  • 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?

    • wow, that’s deep!

      • Seriously man just quit.You are losing the debate.You can’t convince someone that something doesn’t work,when it works for someone.Even if it is a sugar pill i will pay money to make me feel better without any side effects.Just accept it.You are just annoying for trying to be the smartest guy in the room.

    • Was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity only true because he discovered it? Or did he discover it because it was true and already existed?

      Einstein’s theory of relativity came about because he was considering the implications of the speed of light being constant regardless of whether the person measuring it was moving or not. Subsequent observation has shown that it is a better approximation to the behaviour of the universe than Newtonian physics. However, there are some contradictions between relativity and quantum theory (which is also strongly supported by experimental evidence) so physicists believe that neither of them are “true”.

      Einstein, by the way, was awarded his Nobel prize for his work in the quantum nature of light, not for relativity.

  • 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.

    • The preventive effect on respiratory tract infections of Oscillococcinum®. A cost-effectiveness analysis

      Giorgio L Colombo, Sergio Di Matteo, […], and Gianfranco M Beghi

      In support of homeopathy which I have used for our family for over 30 years the above is the title of a published study on Oscillococcinum.

  • @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.

  • Some in this thread would have resisted handwashing too, despite the overwhelming anecdotal evidence of it saving moms in childbirth.

    Boiron also makes Cold Calm. It’s been so effective for me that I keep it in my bag, desk, bedside, etc. Cuz it works best at the first subtle symptoms.You can find hundreds of passionate fans online.

    I’m thinking some on this thread will also decline hydroxychloroquine too if coronavirus hits? You might be surprised how many pharmaceuticals are prescribed off label. Don’t suffer unnecessarily.

    I totally support drugs and as a RN with double certifications and a career with advanced heart care, etc,, I know that traditional allopathic medicine falls short with chronic illnesses, etc. Why do some MDs add homeopathy to their practices? Often they tried it for an unrelenting problem and were impressed. They don’t have to wait for germ theory and microscopes to start washing their hands.

    I came here for insight and I’m well served.

    • “Some in this thread would have resisted handwashing too, despite the overwhelming anecdotal evidence of it saving moms in childbirth.”
      a truly daft comparison!
      we have RCTs that show oscillococcinum to be ineffective

    • I’m thinking some on this thread will also decline hydroxychloroquine too if coronavirus hits

      Until we have the results of clinical trials that is the only rational thing to do.

      How do you square your belief in homeopathy with your career in advanced heart care? You should know from your training that the scientific basis of one is completely incompatible with the other.

    • @Lucydi

      “I totally support drugs and as a RN with double certifications and a career with advanced heart care, etc,, I know that traditional allopathic medicine falls short with chronic illnesses, etc. Why do some MDs add homeopathy to their practices? Often they tried it for an unrelenting problem and were impressed.”

      Thank you, this is a fact of much importance, that has been overlooked by the SBM community.

  • @Bjorn

    “I know that traditional allopathic medicine falls short with chronic illnesses”

    She and I are just a couple of the millions and millions world wide that have experienced SMB falling short of the mark…. and Bjorn…. you can not refute our experience.

  • I too am a retired RN and I too hate having a cold or flu. My sister told me about oscillococcinum many years ago. She insisted that it really did work. She told me that it shortened the duration and even stopped s/s of the flu or colds. I was skeptical of anything homeopathic but she gave me a pack and told me to at least try it the next time I started with flu symptoms. So I did and it worked! I started using it for myself and my children as soon as we started to get sick. It worked on all of us. Symptoms were very mild and we quickly were back to normal. I began to tell my friends and coworkers. Most were skeptical just like me but I started giving out a few packs also and said just try it and be sure that you take it as directed at first s/s. It worked for them also! They would come to thank me and want to know where they could buy more. I really don’t care about clinical trials. Personal experience is all I need. Oscilliococinum may not work toward the covid 19. I don’t know. But as for me and my house, we will be using it.

    • BRAVO!
      finally some clear words showing the way back into the dark ages.

    • May V,

      I started using it for myself and my children as soon as we started to get sick. It worked on all of us.

      May I ask which symptoms you use it for, and how frequently you feel the need to start a course? It is very common to get mild symptoms of all kinds, and probably if most people kept a detailed diary hardly a day would go by without some sort of snivel or itch. Even if these are due to viral infections (which bombard us continuously, and which our immune systems fight off very effectively), most of them never develop into anything much. Can you provide any evidence, other than your personal beliefs, that oscillococcinum modifies the course of any of these?

      I too am a retired RN and I too hate having a cold or flu.

      I have always been surprised at the number of nurses who, when they go home, leave all their professional training and education behind and behave as though they genuinely believe that somehow physics and biology are different depending on whether you are inside or outside a healthcare setting. Mind you, I know a few doctors like that, too.

      • Dr. Julian,
        I want to commend you for being respectful in your response. Debates can be enjoyable without personal insults. My question is, are you saying that anecdotal experience has no place in the scientific process? I understand when a limited number of people have an experience, the results are to be questioned, (however if something works for a person such as the potato example, so what if it works for that person?!) Seems harmless to me. It doesn’t have to be “witchcraft.” There is more to understand about the mind/body responses. However, with homeopathy, there are millions of people that have experienced positive results when taking a homeopathic remedy over 200 years. I realize that Edzard has a whole list of reasons why results might be from something other than homeopathy but millions? (The Cuba study for one – if you don’t know about it, I can provide a link) I have had 50 years of experience with homeopathy for myself, my family, and my animals (horses, cats, dogs). It is actually delightful and beautiful to experience when the correct remedy is found. Clinical evidence is difficult especially for scientists who do not understand the way it works. It is based on symptoms, not a diagnosis, and is most effective on an individual basis matching symptoms with an individual’s symptoms. A group of people could have the same diagnosis, but each person experiences the disease or malady in different ways though similar patterns may exist among members of subgroups which might require the same remedy but different than a remedy for another subgroup, and there would also be individuals that would require yet a different remedy. That makes clinical trials tricky. It can not be used nor evaluated the same way as allopathic medicines though in recent years, I have noticed attempts have been made to make it easier for the general public with a mixture of remedies that cover the most common symptoms for the most number of people.

        Also, with homeopathy more is not better as might be with allopathic medicines. With classical homeopathy, only one remedy is taken at a time and only when the symptoms worsen or cease to improve. The clinical trials I have examined that debunk homeopathy are flawed in the way it is used. For example, one trial gave participants that were asymptomatic the same homeopathic remedy and no effect was experienced. OF COURSE NOT! Remedies do nothing if there are no symptoms. The one or so persons that experienced a response may have actually had the symptoms that required that particular remedy or it was a placebo effect.

        Here is an example of scientific evidence that didn’t measure up to public experience. I love the honorable and wise conclusion from Oregon State University, the Linus Pauling Institute. This happens to be regarding vitamin C which is not my focus so don’t be distracted by it, just plug in “homeopathy” in place of vitamin C.

        It is widely thought by the general public that vitamin C [homeopathy] boosts immune function, yet human studies published to date are conflicting. Disparate results are likely due to study design issues, often linked to a lack of understanding of vitamin C [homeopathy] pharmacokinetics and requirements (19, 20). Pharmacokinetics the study of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of drugs and other compounds

        Oregon State Institute: Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center
        https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C

        In the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic in which approximately 600,000 Americans, science had not caught up with the cause because the microscopes were not strong enough to see viruses. Did that make the viruses nonexistent because they had not been discovered? Science has not yet caught up with homeopathy. Because science can not understand how it works, is not adequate reason to debunk it when there are millions who have experienced its efficacy. There are study design issues, and lack of understanding of the way to prescribe and administer it, and studies TO DATE are CONFLICTING.

        One more thing about Oscillococcinum. I too have found it effective as well as others that I know, however, I am not aware that Boiron has indicated it for Covid-19. I am surmising that it could be a liability problem because their own clnical trials experienced a 68% efficacy, meaning a percentage would find it not the right remedy and some might die of Covid-19 anyway, (I’m only speculating that as a possible reason), also what I am hearing is the common Covid-19 symptoms are different than those for Oscillo. However to say authoritatively it does not work, in my opinion is irresponsible because it has a history of working for flu-like symptoms and if someone experiences Covid-19 with the same symptoms listed on the Oscillo box, it could save their life; and to say homeopathy does not work is irresponsible because it does work and has a good track record with pandemics. Why turn away someone, anyone whose life might be saved because clinical or scientific results are contradictory. I believe if you were to sit down with me and an experienced homeopath, if you are open at all, you would be amazed at the system and how it works so beautifully with the body’s immune responses, but you have to step outside the allopathic regime.I find it brilliant the more I understand it, and my 50 years of experiences have been undeniable. Regarding Oscillo, I would still take it anyway for covid-19, because as with allopathic medicines, sometimes a medicine is farther reaching than what it was originally designed for. From my experiences with it, and friends that have used it, there is some indications that it may very well work that way to slow the virus.

        Phew! I’m done for now. I need to go fold laundry! Wish there was a homeopathic remedy for that!!

  • I’ve been retired from nursing for 9 months. I have been using Oscillo for approximately 17 yrs so I must have lost my professional training and education during that time and not after I was outside of a health care setting. I have Oscillococcinum in the cabinet now. Hopefully I won’t develop the Covid-19 but if I do develop any flu like symptoms I will be taking a round and contacting my primary MD.

    I just know from personal experience the Oscillo works.

    Have you ever personally tried it? Might be worth your while to have an open mind and at least give it a try next time you feel yourself coming down with a viral infection.

  • lt time the sceptics got up to date with the science,the debate around homeopathy always hotly centred around the lack of cause and effect,since around 2017 water memory was confirmed by nobel scientist Luc Monsignor,you can check this out on you tube!strange that the ‘scientific community”are not shouting about it

    • Some day, science might catch up…but I’m not going to sit around and wait!

      • no, science has caught up already – but you do not want to listen to it.
        FINE BY ME

      • Beverly

        Science has been ahead of homeopathy ever since Mad Sam first pulled the idea out of his arse. Homeopaths and the unfortunates who support them have continued in their collective circle-jerk of self-delusion ever since whilst science watches and shakes its head.

        If homeopathy worked as its adherents believe it does, the laws of science would have been re-written many years ago and Nobel prizes handed out. That’s how science works.

        It hasn’t happened.

        Homeopathy has had 200 years to come up with some conclusive proof of its effectiveness beyond placebo and has continuously failed to do so. That homeopaths and their adherents wish otherwise is homeopathy’s problem, not one of science and medicine.

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