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

THE TELEGRAPH is not my favourite paper, but occasionally it does publish something worth reading – like, for instance, yesterday when it carried this article:

The head of NHS England warned homeopaths had “crossed the line” after a Sunday Telegraph investigation revealed some were peddling myths that taking duck extract was as effective as the coronavirus vaccines.

Sir Simon Stephens warned people taking their advice from homeopaths were putting themselves at greater risk, and warned they would slow down the nation’s vaccine efforts. His calls were echoed by Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS medical director, who said the findings were the “latest in a long line of disturbing and potentially dangerous online myths”…

Sir Simon told the Sunday Telegraph: “It’s one thing for homeopaths to peddle useless but harmless potions, but they cross a dangerous line when making ridiculous assertions about protecting people from Covid infection. “Anyone who took those seriously would be putting themselves at higher risk of coming to harm from Covid infection.” Prof Powis added: “Spouting claims on social media about Covid cures that are not backed by scientific evidence and accurate public health advice is the latest in a long line of disturbing and potentially dangerous online myths. We urge everyone to ignore misleading claims and get vital protection against Covid when they are invited for their vaccine.” …

Helen Earner, operations director at the Charity Commission, said the findings were being examined as “a matter of urgency”. She added: “Any claims that a charity may be providing misinformation during this time of national emergency is a matter of serious concern to the Commission.” She added that a regulatory compliance case had been opened into the matter and that the commission will be liaising with other agencies as part of the investigation…

These days, I read such articles with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I applaud the fact that UK officials do take note of dangerous quackery and promise to take action. On the other hand, I cannot help feeling a bit frustrated and ask myself: WHY HAS IT TAKEN THEM SO LONG?

I know, for instance, that the Charity Commission has long been dragging its feet to do something about charities that promote overtly dangerous quackery. I have discussed such charities three years ago, and others have done so even before me. As to the UK homeopaths’ (and other practitioners of so-called alternative medicine, SCAM) dangerously bizarre attitude towards vaccinations, I started providing evidence and warning the public as early as 1995.

Perhaps they did not know about it?

Yes, perhaps – I only published these warnings in the

BRITISH JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE

and in the

BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL!

This gets even more frustrating when I consider that the anti-vaccination attitude in SCAM is merely one facet of a much bigger and much more important subject. Starting also in 1995, I published dozens of papers, gave hundreds of lectures on it, and often called it the ‘indirect risks‘ of SCAM. They can be summarised in one single sentence:

EVEN IF A SCAM IS TOTALLY HARMLESS, THE SCAM PRACTITIONER OFTEN ISN’T.

It is therefore tempting to shout:

I TOLD YOU SO!

But that would hardly be helpful. Instead, I let me beg Sir Simon Stephens, Prof Powis, Helen Earner, and anyone else in a position of power to take a minute and consider the wider implications of tolerating SCAM practitioners impose their overtly dangerous health-related views on the unsuspecting public.

25 Responses to Homeopaths (and other SCAM practitioners) are peddling dangerous myths

  • … that taking duck extract was as effective as the coronavirus vaccines.

    The only duck extract involved here is the quack.

    Oscillococcinum is arguably one of homeopathy’s more spectacular failures(*), and at the same time proof that you can fool a lot of gullible people for a long time – it has been sold for over a hundred years now, these days grossing some €300 million annually, without ANY evidence of efficacy whatsoever.

    *: One more time, just for kicks:
    – The oscillococci that Joseph Roy discovered do not exist – Roy was simply inept at operating a microscope.
    – Cocci (globular bacteria) have nothing to do with flu or flu-like symptoms whatsoever.
    – This, however, has not stopped homeopaths to this day from ‘obtaining’ these non-existing cocci from duck heart and liver, even though these organs typically are not involved in even avian flu. Poor ducks.
    – Neither has this stopped homeopaths and the current manufacturer (Boiron) from diluting it to an absolutely ludicrous extent of 1:10^400, which means that one would have to take a volume of 10^320 universes to find one part of actual ‘duck extract’ (which of course is impossible to actually define).

  • The product that 4Homeopathy was recommending was the Cuban Prevengho-VIR. Ingredients include –

    Anas berberiae 200
    Baptisia tinctora 200
    Bascilinum 30
    Pyrogenum 200
    Eupetorium perf 200
    Influezinum 200
    Arsenicum Album 200

    Influenzinum is iirc made from flu vaccine.

    The product is either illegally imported into the UK or manufactured in the UK and distributed illegally. MHRA certainly not happy about it.

  • Telegraph article paywalled.
    But why was this not headline news on the BBC and that fountain of all knowledge, the Daily Mail?

    The real offence here is that homeopaths who prescribe and pharmacies who sell Quackcoccinum 200C do not obtain informed consent from their customers.

    Quackcoccinum is in fact not made from the liver of a duck, but the sound the duck makes as it enters the abbatoir.
    It’s just as effective as all the other homeopathic remedies – and the manufacturers and sellers have bank statements to prove it.

    And some have warrants from HM the Queen and HRH the Prince of Wales to assest the value of their remedies.
    And some are endorsed by Dr Michael Dixon’s self-styled ‘College of Medicine’.
    Sigh.

  • It’s hard to know how seriously to take you now, after you campaigned so vehemently against President Trump, in favor of the party that brought us:

    Bill Clinton, who (with Tom Harkin) opened the “Office of Alternative Medicine” (now the NCCIH) unleashing quack medicines (including homeopathic ones) across America.

    Hillary Clinton, who destroyed healthcare by introducing HMOs, and was featured in Francis Wheen’s “How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World” for her own contributions to woo.

    Barack Obama, who won everyone’s heart by campaigning with Oprah Winfrey, the #1 promoter of NewAge, cults, conspiracy theories, and quackery in America.

    And now Joe Biden, who not only lied he had a vaccine plan for COVID, but who’s pick for Vice President was talked into bed by a guy who claims people can talk to the dead.

    Again – when you side with them (and I didn’t even include the rapists and murderers) – how seriously should I take you now? I mean, if you can’t tell the difference – between a President who made trouble for an obviously crooked party, and an obviously crooked party that made trouble for a President (like all of them – the party and their supporters – telling “Russian Collusion” lies for four whole years) AND YOU REJECT THE EVIDENCE I PROVIDE YOU – then how can I trust what you say about people who believe “dangerous myths”?

  • Ever since 1995, when my wife walked in the house and said she could walk through walls, I have been living in the NewAge, hoping the ride would stop and I can get off. Instead, it’s grown from wherever my wife was on Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road to our government. I thought President Trump was finally putting an end to it, but now it’s back with a vengeance – and with an emphasis on vengeance.

    It’s just not the same experience y’all are having at all. I’ve lost my wife to the homeopath who treated/killed my Mother-in Law. My sister just laughed at me over the phone because she’s now a reiki healer and I’m “closed-minded” and weak. My other sister and I don’t speak because she’s part of some weird religion. My Governor fucked his best friend’s wife and when he ran for office again the press asked her what kind of integrity he has – not her husband – just as they asked Bill Clinton to speak for Joe Biden, as Bill’s four rape accusers looked on.

    This is a living nightmare.

  • I’m triggered by most of the magazines in the supermarket check-out rack. Anything to do with yoga – especially pictures at inappropriate places, like the bank, of women on mountaintops with outstretched arms in the lotus position – I want to kill ’em. Cut-aways in movies to Buddha statues and other religious/spiritual imagery. People who think “karma” exists loose my respect instantly. As does thinking “everything happens for a reason” and holding to conspiracy theories.

    If the world can no longer tell the difference between water and medicine, then, we’re an idiocracy.

  • I don’t know what’s more fun, seeing a medium like The Telegraph that has a tendency to deny homeopathy and sell yellowing (it is clear that the journalist of The Telegraph is a useless one who has an unhealthy obsession with Boiron, because Cuba did not give Oscilloccocinum) or that your colleague Michael Marsh needs to make a lot of noise on twitter to achieve a quick criminalization of your recurring hate object. I have considered the information and the post that was exposed on the page of 4homeopathy does not deny the use of vaccination, it speaks of the results obtained with an experimental homeopathic drug designed and approved in Cuba. After this incident, it is clear that your colleague organized a hate campaign to denounce and censor a post on facebook, which only damages the already poor reputation in itself that you have, Ernst. It is not necessary that in all 2020 the antihomeopathy lobby suffered too many relapses and failures, that all its predictions had and for having failed. No need to remind you that the largest reviews of the literature in terms of clinical and physicochemical evidence, and dozens of experiments and trials were published in 2020 alone without you being able to do anything about it. You seem to be losing quite a bit of strength. I do not want to imagine the cries you will make the day that the data of the Cuban clinical trials are published, surely you will make a post trying to censor them and repeat your same empty comments trying, as you usually do, to include the authors in your list of systematic harassment.

    • in fact, my reputation is so damaged that I am not even aware of “the largest reviews of the literature in terms of clinical and physicochemical evidence, and dozens of experiments and trials published in 2020”.
      can you please provide the links?
      thank you.

      • Ernst, the broader review was published by Dr. Frass. I read your comment and it is unfortunate, you only disqualified it and even proved that you yourself did not read it, you even lied by saying that Frass had not included several negative reviews. Dr. Tournier’s physicochemical review also disqualifies her by alluding to rhetorical questions. The essay published in the journal The Oncologist also disqualified him saying that “it is impossible for homeopathy to work”. There’s a clear pattern that you’re just a bully that seems to reflect a deep hatred of your colleagues, professional envy and a mythomaniac character worthy of a dictator. It is very interesting to read your work not because it has scientific validity, but to detect the biases, lies and fabrications that can be found in your work. You’ll soon hear about this.

        • oh, dear!
          please link to the papers that you are referring to – because you got just about everything mixed up.

        • having re-read your comment, you sound as though there might be something seriously wrong with you; I advise you to seek professional help.

        • My best guess on the results of a Google search for “frass homeopathy review” would be:
          Michael Frass et al, Bias in the trial and reporting of trials of homeopathy: a fundamental breakdown in peer review and standards?, J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Oct;11(5):780-2.doi: 10.1089/acm.2005.11.780.
          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16296904/

          It’s hard to be sure, since not even the abstract is available to me. If I’m wrong, I’m sure the OP will correct me in similar detail.

    • You sound triggered.

  • What the Telegraph is criticizing is not homeopathy, it is allopathy. Homeopathy is prescribing potentized remedies according to the law of similars, the law of provings, and the law of minimum dose (potentized remedies). While I appreciate all perspectives, I think it is important to be sure that our facts are correct when we criticize a very effective treatment for many people.

    • you could have fooled me!
      that’s because, after 200 years of research and ~ 500 studies, the best evidence fails to show that homeopathy works beyond placebo.
      if you disagree, please show me your evidence.

  • P.S. I follow the results of Dr. Saine in Canada and Dr. Sherr in Africa. They have been had good success in using homeopathy according to its 3 principles in treating patients who have been diagnosed with Covid 19 infection or have had symptoms that suggest Covid 19 infection. The advantage of homeopathy over allopathy: when homeopathy is used correctly and the remedy is correct, a person’s immune system and overall health improves.

    • you are on a blog where we ask for evidence, not fairy tales.

    • Sharleen,

      The advantage of homeopathy over allopathy: when homeopathy is used correctly and the remedy is correct, a person’s immune system and overall health improves.

      What a pity then that practitiners using homeopathy .<correctly are so vanishingly rare.

      The aim of conventional medical practice is also to improve overall health. By necessity describing effects on the immune system by has to be nuanced as it is so complex.

      I don't know what the aim was of the blood-letters and the other quacks that Hahnemann had in mind when he coined the term in 1836.

    • Jeremy Sherr is particularly evil scum who has for years predated African HIV/Aids victims, so to learn he’s now scamming COVID victims too is no surprise. The only thing that is a surprise is that no-one’s done the decent thing yet; because some people in this world just really, really deserve to be fed to lions.

Leave a Reply to Richard Rawlins Cancel 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.

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