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

Quackery is rife in India. On this blog, I have occasionally reported on this situation, e.g.:

Now the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana has pointed out that legislation needs to be brought in to save people “from falling prey to fraudulent practices in the name of treatment”. Speaking at the inaugural National Academy of Medical Sciences on ‘Law and Medicine’, the CJI said: “Quackery is the biggest disease affecting India” and that hospitals are “being run like companies, where profit-making is more important than service to society”. The CJI added, “another side of lack of accessible healthcare is giving space to quacks. Quackery begins where awareness ends. Where there is room for myths, there is room for quackery”. He continued, “Owing to the financial and time constraints, a huge majority of the Indian population approaches these untrained and uncertified doctors. Lack of awareness and knowledge, misplaced belief, and sheer inaccessibility have massive ramifications on the health of the country, particularly the rural and underprivileged Indian … The need of the hour is to bring in legislation to save people from falling prey to fraudulent practices in the name of treatment … Private hospitals are being opened at an exponential rate. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is a glaring need for balance. We are seeing hospitals being run like companies, where profit-making is more important than service to society.”

I am sure the CJI is correct; India does have a quackery problem. If nothing else, the fact that one website lists a total of 746 Alternative Medicine Colleges in India, leaves little doubt about it.

25 Responses to Quackery is the biggest disease affecting India

  • When I divide the number of total population of India (TP; in 2021 = 1,393,000,000) by the number of Alternative Medicine Colleges in India (AMC; your referenced number = 746), I get the following:

    TP / AMC = 1,393,000,000 / 746 = 1,867,292, which means in India there is 1 AMC per nearly 2 million Indian citizens.

    I would like to know from you what the TP / AMC is for Europe.

    I think that only then you may perhaps state something about ‘leaving little doubt’ about India.

    Can you then tell me whether there is a bias, or misplaced Eurocentristic view, in your today’s blog?

    • I wrote, “one website lists a total of 746 Alternative Medicine Colleges in India”. This does not mean that there are just 746 in the country.

      • Hahaha. How poor, this reply. Please respond to what I wrote, and not what you think is what I wrote.

        • HAHAHA
          you also discount the 12 posts I cite in my article.

          • So what?

            Is it all you can reply to my question “I would like to know from you what the TP / AMC is for Europe.”
            Until this moment you delivered merely a poor, empty reply.
            Again: I would like to know from you what the TP / AMC is for Europe.

            Only this way we blog readers can check you. That must help us all.

            Please do no revolve around it.

  • Funny, really funny, hahjaha, but you did not answer my initial question.

    Because you seem to be not willing to answer my initial question, this time I try myself:

    total population of Europe (TP; in 2022 around 748,700,000) divided by let us say at least as many Alternative Medicine Colleges as in India equalling your reference (AMC = 746), I get the followiong:
    748,700,00 / 746 = 1,000,935.
    which means in Europe there seem to be 1 AMC per a little more than 1 million European citizens.

    I rest my case.

  • Funny, really funny, hahaha, but you did not answer my initial question.

    Because you seem to be not willing to answer my initial question, this time I try myself:

    Number of total population of Europe (TP; in 2022 around 748,700,000) divided by let us say at least as many (!!!) Alternative Medicine Colleges as in India, equalling your reference (AMC = 746), I get the followiong:
    748,700,000 / 746 = 1,000,935

    This is half the outcome in case of India!

    Therefore, pleasae inform us (readers of your blog) about the real numbers instead of beating around the bush, so we can indeed form our informed opinion…

  • I bet a better case could be made that conventional medicine is a bigger disease affecting India. It has been made in the USA where studies have shown the iatrogenic disease is probably the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

    • @stan

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923397/

      “When fewer than 6 different drugs are given in hospitalized patients, the probability of an adverse reaction is about 5%, but if more than 15 drugs are given, the probability is more than 20%. Of the patients admitted to a General hospital, 2 to 5% are due to ADR and fatality in patients with ADR varies from 2-12%. ADR occurs in the elderly more frequently.”

      “Drugs causing haemolysis by direct action are phenacetin, PAS, sulphonamides: by immune mechanism are aminopyrine, chlorpromazine, quinine and tetracycline: and in G-6 PD deficient patients, antimalarials (primaquine) and antibiotics (nitrofurantoin).

      “Drugs that regularly produce bone marrow depression: busulphan, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, vinblastine, and 6 mercaptopurine. Drugs which rarely produce bone marrow depression: chloramphenicol, penicillamine, sulphonamides, isoniazid, NSAIDSs, analgin, thiouracil, anticonvulsants, anti diabetics, cimetidine, tranquilizers etc”

      “Complications occur in 2 percent of blood transfusions.
      a -Immunological reaction : Allergic-anaphylaxis, fever, haemolysis, non cardiac pulmonary oedema.
      b- Non immunological : Circulatory overload, thrombophlebitis and embolism, bacterial contamination, transmission of diseases like malaria, hepatitis, syphilis and AIDS and transfusion siderosis in multiple transfusion.”

      “Drug induced liver injury is a potential complication of nearly every medication because liver metabolizes virtually all drugs. Acute (acetaminophen, halothane) and chronic (nitrofurantoin, methyldopa) hepatocellular injury, veno occlusive disease (cyclophosphamide) and hepatocellular carcinoma (sex and anabolic hormones) can all occur. There are many new drugs like glyburide, ketoconazole, lisinopril, lovastatin, ticlopidine etc. which were also associated with hepatotoxic reactions. Among causes of fulminant hepatic failure certain drugs like halothane, acetaminophen, phenytoin and alpha methyldopa account for 20-50% of cases”

      “The list of drugs given in this article is in no way complete and only examples are given. Readers should look up the references to have more details. Drugs affecting the fetus or breastfed babies are not discussed.”

      Much more quackery on that page than I posted, too much to copy, read it for yourselves.

      • RG,

        As usual, what you say is totally irrelevant to the topic of this blog post.

        Are you trying to compete with jeroen and stan for the title King of Stupid and Irrelevant?

        • @Talker

          Not at all Talker

          The subject of the blog post is quackery, which I addressed.

          • https://www.britannica.com/topic/quackery

            quackery, the characteristic practice of quacks or charlatans, who pretend to knowledge and skill that they do not possess, particularly in medicine. The quack makes exaggerated claims about his or her ability to heal disease, generally for financial gain.

            RG,
            You do deserve the title “King of Stupid and Irrelevant” since you happen to be incapable of differentiating the risk of drinking cow urine to that of taking antibiotics.

            Perhaps you should drink a glass of cow urine every morning to improve your intelligence. Apparently, it has the unintended side effect of improving your digestion as well.

            https://www.easyayurveda.com/2011/05/10/cow-urine-therapy-benefits-indication-and-contra-indications/

            Benefits of cow urine
            Hot, pungent, reaches up to the deep tissues of the body.
            Increases Vata and Pitta, due to its bitter and pungent principles.
            Improves digestion and intelligence.

    • Wow Stan! You provided a ton of evidence that you pulled out of your keister, in support of your drivel. Therefore you may rest your case, as jeroen staring did.

    • @stan

      … studies have shown the iatrogenic disease is probably the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

      I’ll ignore the fact that you’re off-topic and lying – but for the past 2 years, the third leading cause of death in the US is Covid-19. And I believe that this shameful statistic is largely caused by people like you, by spreading lies about vaccination and at the same time downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic.

      Anyway, back on-topic: India’s biggest problem with quackery is that homeopaths and ayurvedic practitioners were elevated to the same level as real doctors, even when they can’t diagnose let alone treat even a runny nose so to speak. Then again, India is a poor country, and the nationalist government will happily sell their people this kind of quackery as ‘official healthcare’, simply because it is ostensibly cheaper than real healthcare. And oh, it’s also an important tool in nationalist propaganda.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if India’s public health ranking would drop even further in years to come.

  • The amount of ARROGANCE and IGNORANCE of people at this site is remarkable. We will next hear that every Asian country that uses acupuncture and herbal medicines are bastions of “quackery.” Today’s medicine is tomorrow’s quackery…and today’s quackery often becomes tomorrow’s medicine.” This IS medical history. History is a better guage of efficacy than what YOU call “science” (which is simply reductionism which has a poor record of guaging efficacy…once again, history teaches us this every day).

    • thank you Dana; you made my day: THIS MIGHT BE THE SILLIEST COMMENT YOU MADE SO FAR.

    • Mr Ullman, will you please name a laboratory that can distinguish homeopathic water from other water, which in this Blog you said “only fools or liars” doubted could be done?

      Forty-third time of asking……

    • today’s quackery often becomes tomorrow’s medicine

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

      The fundamental implausibility of homeopathy as well as a lack of demonstrable effectiveness has led to it being characterized within the scientific and medical communities as quackery and fraud.

      200+ years later homeopathy is still considered quackery and homeopaths continue to be quacks.

      I guess tomorrow never happened for homeopathy, but keep dreaming Dana. 🤣 😂 🤣 😂

    • Care to share any evidence to support that load of specious bumwash, Dana? Your imagination is not a credible source.

    • @Dana Ullman

      The amount of ARROGANCE and IGNORANCE of people at this site is remarkable.

      Ad hominem(*)

      We will next hear that every Asian country that uses acupuncture and herbal medicines are bastions of “quackery.”

      Straw man

      Today’s medicine is tomorrow’s quackery…and today’s quackery often becomes tomorrow’s medicine.”

      Wishful thinking

      History is a better guage of efficacy than what YOU call “science”

      Appeal to tradition

      … guage …

      Typo

      Here’s a bit of advice on writing comments here:
      – Avoid personal attack, fallacies and untruths.
      – Try to put in at least a bit of evidence for any claims made.

      *: Unless of course you’re talking about those who relentlessly and religiously promote shaken water as a ‘remedy’, yet ignore any critical questions. BTW, have you already found one (just ONE) 12C+ homeopathic preparation that shows unequivocal, robust effects (or even its mere presence) in independently replicated experiments? All real substances pass this test, but so far, not a single homeopathic preparation has managed it. Until such a homeopathic preparation has been found, it is fair to conclude that homeopathy is a fully ineffective(**) form of medicine. Thank you.

      **: Apart of course from the placebo effect. There is always the placebo effect. Oh, and regression to the mean, and self-limited conditions, and several other non-magical phenomena that explain why so many people believe that ineffective alternative treatments actually work.

  • Hahnemann himself wrote in § 260 Organon when HP does not work. In summary I suggest, that nowadays if one reads any “yellow press” and in a manyfoold of other situations HP will be useless according to the inventor of HP .

    Here is the english version

    http://homeoint.org/books/hahorgan/organ260.htm#P260E6

    § 260 Fifth Edition

    Hence the careful investigation into such obstacles to cure is so much the more necessary in the case of patients affected by chronic diseases, as their diseases are usually aggravated by such noxious influences and other disease-causing errors in the diet and regimen, which often pass unnoticed.1

    1 Coffee; fine Chinese and other herb teas; beer prepared with medicinal vegetable substances unsuitable for the patient’s state; so-called fine liquors made with medicinal spices; all kinds of punch; spiced chocolate; odorous waters and perfumes of many kinds; strong-scented flowers in the apartment; tooth powders and essences and perfumed sachets compounded of drugs; highly spiced dishes and sauces; spiced cakes and ices; crude medicinal vegetables for soups; dishes of herbs, roots and stalks of plants possessing medicinal qualities; old cheese, and meats that are in a state of decomposition, or that passes medicinal properties (as the flesh and fat of pork, ducks and geese, or veal that is too young and sour viands), ought just as certainly to be kept from patients as they should avoid all excesses in food, and in the use of sugar and salt, as also spirituous drinks, heated rooms, woollen clothing next the skin, a sedentary life in close apartments, or the frequent indulgence in mere passive exercise (such as riding, driving or swinging), prolonged suckling, taking a long siesta in a recumbent posture in bed, sitting up long at night, uncleanliness, unnatural debauchery, enervation by reading obscene books, subjects of anger, grief or vexation, a passion for play, over-exertion of the mind or body, especially after meals, dwelling in marshy districts, damp rooms, penurious living, etc. All these things must be as far as possible avoided or removed, in order that the cure may not be obstructed or rendered impossible. Some of my disciples seem needlessly to increase the difficulties of the patient’s dietary by forbidding the use of many more, tolerably indifferent things, which is not to be commended.

    § 260 Sixth Edition

    Hence the careful investigation into such obstacles to cure is so much the more necessary in the case of patients affected by chronic diseases, as their diseases are usually aggravated by such noxious influences and other disease-causing errors in the diet and regimen, which often pass unnoticed.1

    1 Coffee; fine Chinese and other herb teas; beer prepared with medicinal vegetable substances unsuitable for the patient’s state; so-called fine liquors made with medicinal spices; all kinds of punch; spiced chocolate; odorous waters and perfumes of many kinds; strong-scented flowers in the apartment; tooth powders and essences and perfumed sachets compounded of drugs; highly spiced dishes and sauces; spiced cakes and ices; crude medicinal vegetables for soups; dishes of herbs, roots and stalks of plants possessing medicinal qualities; asparagus with long green tips, hops, and all vegetables possessing medicinal properties, celery, onions; old cheese, and meats that are in a state of decomposition, or that passes medicinal properties (as the flesh and fat of pork, ducks and geese, or veal that is too young and sour viands), ought just as certainly to be kept from patients as they should avoid all excesses in food, and in the use of sugar and salt, as also spirituous drinks, undiluted with water, heated rooms, woollen clothing next the skin, a sedentary life in close apartments, or the frequent indulgence in mere passive exercise (such as riding, driving or swinging), prolonged suckling, taking a long siesta in a recumbent posture in bed, sitting up long at night, uncleanliness, unnatural debauchery, enervation by reading obscene books, reading while lying down, Onanism or imperfect or suppressed intercourse in order to prevent conception, subjects of anger, grief or vexation, a passion for play, over-exertion of the mind or body, especially after meals, dwelling in marshy districts, damp rooms, penurious living, etc. All these things must be as far as possible avoided or removed, in order that the cure may not be obstructed or rendered impossible. Some of my disciples seem needlessly to increase the difficulties of the patient’s dietary by forbidding the use of many more, tolerably indifferent things, which is not to be commended.

  • Medical pluralism is widely practised in India. That is not the problem. The problem is with the myth among some people that modern medicine is useless and have serious side-effects whereas other systems of medicines do not have side-effects-especially homeopathy. Homeopathy enjoys a good practice in India. Primarily because of the myth that it does not have any adverse side effects and it s also affordable. I wish the Ministry of AYUSH invests more in RESEARCH WITH SCIENTIFIC RIGOUR than just spending on the promotion of Indian systems of medicine. The Indian systems of medicine too should undergo the same procedures of research and regulations as modern medicine. And quackery in India, that is a huge topic. Improved healthcare accessibility and affordability can only bring about a good change. Not to forget bridging of the huge gap between the rich and the poor. The number of colleges in alternative medicine is not a case for argument in this context. Most graduates go on to work in hospitals (modern medicine) as ‘assistant doctors’ under team practice.

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