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

The fact that the NHS England has stopped reimbursing homeopathy in 2018 is probably quite well known. France followed more recently, and then Germany too reported trouble for homeopaths on various levels. About two years ago, the manufacturer of homeopathic products, Hevert (Germany),  threatened legal action against several German critics of homeopathy for expressing the fact that highly diluted homeopathic remedies do not work beyond placebo. Crucially, the medical associations of many regions in Germany have – one after the next – discontinued their training in and recognition of homeopathy.

Now similar difficulties are being felt also by Austrian homeopaths. In 2019, the Vienna medical school closed its course on homeopathy because students had filed a complaint about its unethical content. And recently, it was reported by the Austrian ‘Initiative für Wissenschaftliche Medizin‘ that at a secret webinar run by lobbyists in Vienna things were reported to no longer going well for homeopathy. Faced with such problems, the lobbyist, Dr. Jens Behnke, recommended in the above-mentioned secret webinar an alliance of all so-called alternative medicine (SCAM):

“…..and if we do not form this broad alliance now, in order to make appropriate professional PR and lobbying … then everything will fall apart….”

Now a union of pseudomedicine and politics is being forged with the aim of stopping the decline of quackery and paving the way for pseudomedicine in Austria. A resolution has been tabled in the Austrian parliament with the following demands:

  1. Institutionalising of the field of “Complementary Medicine” as “Integrative Medicine” in the academic education at all medical schools.
  2. Appropriate support for and funding of complementary medicine research, especially in the university sector.
  3. Establishment of a broad range of complementary medicine in the hospital sector, in outpatient but also inpatient healthcare.
  4. Promotion of active knowledge transfer in the area of integrative and complementary medicine within the Austrian medical profession.
  5. Securing of complementary diplomas by the Austrian Medical Association.

The motion was introduced by the Freedom Party (FPÖ, the Austrian far-right party) on 21.12.2020, forwarded to the Health Committee for consultation, and is now scheduled for consultation there. The application was introduced by the FPÖ-Nationalratsabgeordnete Mag. Gerhard Kaniak (Chairman of the Health Committee of Parliament, pharmacist), Peter Wurm (entrepreneur), Dr. Dagmar Belakowitsch (physician), and “other deputies”. It is supported by members of the “Initiative Complementary Medicine at Austrian Universities” of the Austrian Society for Homeopathic Medicine. The list of signatories of the motion reads like the “Who’s Who” of pseudo-medicine procedures in Austria – foremost homeopathy, but also anthroposophic medicine, ozone therapy, functional myo-diagnostics (= kinesiology), Ayurvedic medicine, orthomolecular medicine, TCM, etc. It almost goes without saying that it also includes Prof Michael Frass (a prominent member of THE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE HALL OF FAME), who regular readers of my blog would have met several times before.

__________________________

Instead of a comment (other than I sincerely wish that reason prevails in Austria and the motion is going to be defeated), I think I will quote the concluding phrases from my memoir (which incidentally also covers my most turbulent time in Vienna):

When science is abused, hijacked, or distorted in order to serve political or ideological belief systems, ethical standards will inevitably slip. The resulting pseudoscience is a deceit perpetrated on the weak and the vulnerable. We owe it to ourselves, and to those who come after us, to stand up for the truth, no matter how much trouble this might bring.

 

 

 

11 Responses to First England, then France, then Germany and now Austria: homeopathy is having a rough time

  • Nice quote at the end of this blog….sounds a bit like Carl Sagan: “At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes—an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.”
    — Carl Sagan

  • I am missing the Dungl family in this honorably list of SCAM supporters.
    https://www.dunglwien.at/
    and wasn’t this Dungl family the initiator for all the SCAM Master degree faculties at Danube University Krems, such as MSc. Osteopathy, MSc TCM etc.?
    https://www.donau-uni.ac.at/de/studium/traditionelle-chinesische-medizin.html
    and
    https://www.donau-uni.ac.at/de/studium/osteopathie/

  • What chance does the resolution have of being passed? And if it’s passed, does it have any force as law?

    According to Wikipedia, the FPÖ has only 30 seats in the 183-seat National Council (Nationalrat). They aren’t part of the government coalition (ÖVP – Austrian Peoples Party + Greens: strange bedfellows there!) who control 97 seats between them.

  • They want “Appropriate support for and funding of complementary medicine research, especially in the university sector.” I agree. The appropriate funding is low, because no valid positive results come out of it, but not zero, because impartial testing and analysis, such as your work at Exeter, is useful.
    Australia’s National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine mainly delivers false positive claims and should be defunded.

  • Whereas you aids-was-totally-not-because-of-azt lot are on the up and up amirite. You’re such a murderous quack, lmao, and you’ve found refuge in 20th century iatrogenia to channel your compulsions.

  • “homeopathy is having a rough time” Ha ha ha 200 years ago Oliver W. Holmes … 30 years ago Randi, and so they said the same thing. don’t you realize that censoring, as Simon Sigh’s group did in the UK, is only making the skeptic movement exhibit its two-facedness? A few years ago Monsanto’s lobbyists were predicting the demise of organic farming, but as soon as the Monsanot papers came out and the evidence accumulated against them, Monsanto has seen the worst moment of its existence after being acquired by Bayer. With homeopathy it is almost the same, the number of media outlets that gave pabulum to false notes like the ones you participated in, Ernst, decreased drastically since the end of 2019, before the pandemic. The only ones still insisting on censorship are trolls on Twitter, the same lobbyists from networks like GWUP and fringe groups that control various media outlets in order to supposedly be “politically incorrect” except when it doesn’t suit them. From there on, the supposed “defeat” of homeopathy is only in your imagination, and your blog is a clear example, since then you have had to see how scientific journals continue to publish research papers, the quality in research has improved notoriously, the number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses that conclude that homeopathy is superior to placebo is in the majority, even antagonistic journals such as those of Davide Donelli, Hawke (cochrane) and Rotella (psychiatry) reluctantly admit that there is some favorable evidence for homeopathy. What all this points to is that the “poor” skeptics who have lied for decades are slowly drowning in their own poison. Enjoy it, Ernst.

    • why don’t you cite some of those papers once you have stopped frothing from the mouth?

    • Oh dear. Another delusional fool with a religious faith in magic shaken water.

      “Censoring”

      Please show how “Simon Singh’s group” did this and what you imagine was being censored? The ASA stopping homeopaths from making unevidenced claims in order to protect the public is not censorship.

      the number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses that conclude that homeopathy is superior to placebo is in the majority

      Let’s see ’em, then

      even antagonistic journals

      You mean journals which insist on research papers being of good quality, not the risible tripe homeopaths produce to try and bolster their delusions?

      You cite Donelli and claim a Cochrane entry. I can’t find one. I did find this by Donelli, though:

      Health Soc Care Community 2019 Jul;27(4):824-847
      Reinterpreting homoeopathy in the light of placebo effects to manage patients who seek homoeopathic care: A systematic review

      And what does it conclude?

      Homoeopathy is widespread, and users claim to benefit from it. However, clear evidence of its efficacy over placebo is not available to date.

      Hmm. Doesn’t look like a ringing endorsement to me.

      The Hawke paper in Cochrane DOES exist. And what does it say?

      We found no evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathic medicinal products for ARTIs in children.

      You really need to check that there’s water in the swimming pool before jumping in, sweetie.

      What all this points to is that the “poor” skeptics who have lied for decades are slowly drowning in their own poison.

      What it all points to to me is a bunch of halfwits who continue to try to promote their worthless nostrums getting their knickers in a twist because science continues to show their claims to be false. Homeopathy remains now, as ever, comedy medicine.

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