I recently came across a truly baffling article. As it is in German, I translated it for you:
Supply shortages have kept pharmacies on tenterhooks for months, with more than 400 common medicines missing. The German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ) suggests switching to alternative medicine as a solution: “We have homeopathic medicines that have been tried and tested in practice for more than 200 years and can replace many medicines that are currently not available,” says the president of the DZVhÄ , Dr Michaela Geiger.
The DZVhÄ is convinced that homeopathic medical practices can replace fever-reducing medicines, but in many cases also antibiotics and much more. However, Geiger qualifies: “Due to our medical training, we also know that cancer drugs such as the often cited Tamoxifen cannot be replaced by homeopathy”.
The homeopathic doctors respond directly to the sharpest argument of their critics: “But let’s assume that homeopathy only works via the placebo effect, as is being rumored, even then it would be an option, especially if other options are lacking,” says DZVhÄ vice-president Dr. Ulf Riker. Since homeopathically trained doctors can judge the general course of a disease, they can also distinguish a placebo effect from a medicinal effect.
If fever medication for children is lacking, parents should not be deprived of another “therapy option”, Riker said. “If you do not get your conventional fever medication in the coming weeks, visit a specialist pharmacy for naturopathy and homeopathy. If you are due for a medical consultation, experienced homeopathic doctors can prescribe a suitable homeopathic medicine for you,” he says.
Why do I find this so intriguing?
Essentially, what we have learned from the article is the following:
- “Tried and tested in practice for more than 200 years” is ‘homeopathy speak’ for “effective”, even if the evidence tells us otherwise.
- Homeopathic remedies can replace many evidence-based conventional medications such as fever-reducing medicines, antibiotics, and much more, even if the evidence tells us otherwise.
- Homeopaths know that cancer drugs cannot be replaced by homeopathy – except for those homeopaths who seem to have forgotten this simple lesson.
- Homeopathic placebos are a realistic option when there is a supply problem with effective drugs, even if the evidence tells us otherwise.
- Homeopathically trained doctors can distinguish a placebo effect from a medicinal effect, even if there is no evidence that any clinician can reliably do this.
- Homeopathic doctors prescribe suitable homeopathic medicine. Suitable for whom? As it is ineffective, it is unsuitable for the patient. Therefore, Riker is probably talking about the homeopath.
So, what have we really learned from this article? I don’t know about you, but I got the impression that the president and the vice president of the DZVhÄ do not seem to mind putting patients in danger, as long as they can promote homeopathy.