It has been reported, at the German Medical Congress (DÄT) a year ago, that it was decided to delete the additional title of homeopathy from the model further training regulations of the German Medical Association. And Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) tweeted applause: “Homeopathy has no place in modern medicine.”

Now the ‘ Bundesverband der Pharmaziestudierenden in Deutschland’ (BPhD), the German Pharmacists Organization, even goes a few steps further. The position paper distinguishes between evidence-based medicine (EBM) and unproven therapeutic methods. According to the BPhD, these include homeopathy, but also anthroposophy, traditional Chinese medicine, and traditional medicines.

Among other things, the BPhD is disturbed by the way homeopathy presents itself as an alternative, because an alternative means “a choice between two equally suitable possibilities” to achieve a goal, and this is not the case. Compared to evidence-based medicine (EBM), homeopathy is a “constructed, illusory concept” and “the principles of homeopathic teachings and principles” are to be rejected as “unscientific”. According to the BPhD, a designation as “alternative” for advertising purposes should no longer be allowed.

They would also like to see a demarcation from naturopathy; the clear distinction between homeopathy and phytopharmacy has been lacking up to now. The advertising attribute “natural” should therefore also be banned in order to prevent equalization in advertising, the position paper states.

Like doctors, pharmacy students point to the lack of proof of efficacy beyond the placebo effect. According to the BPhD, the dogma WER HEILT HAT RECHT, “he who heals is right” would “disregard all processes that work towards healing and glorify the result”. The “gold standard” of EBM – randomized, double-blind studies with placebo control – should in future also have to be fulfilled by homeopathic medicines, experience reports are not sufficient, it continues.

Homeopathic medicines are only registered as medicinal products without indication, which requires neither proof of efficacy nor clinical studies. The BPhD, therefore, demands that a warning be placed on the preparations that they have “no proven efficacy beyond the placebo effect”. Up to now, without this warning, patients have been “deceived about the efficacy”, and there is an “urgent need for detailed public information and counseling on homeopathy since its unjustified reputation poses a danger of not seeking treatment”. The BPhD also demands that the status of homeopathic medicines is withdrawn and that the pharmacy obligation for the preparations is abolished…

“In the health professions, no trivialization of unproven therapeutic procedures should be tolerated, as inadequate counseling or ignorance poses a danger to patients,” the BPhD said.


When I first read this article – I translated and shortened it for those who cannot read German- I was truly dazzled. These are the suggestions that I have been making for around 20 years now, not specifically for Germany but for pharmacists in general. For many years, the Germans seemed the least likely to agree with me. But now they seem to be ahead of everyone else in Europe!

How come?

I suspect and hope that our recent initiative might have something to do with it.

Let’s hope that the pharmacists of other countries follow the German example.

22 Responses to Homeopathy is an “illusory concept”, and “poses a danger to patients”

  • “an alternative means “a choice between two equally suitable possibilities” to achieve a goal, and this is not the case.

    An alternative means an alternate choice. Even if 1% of the population chooses that alternative, shouldnt that be allowed? Or now we have “consensus” medicine like we have “consensus” science which is not science at all, but the ruling out of discussion of the issues? Disagreement on the issues is the very basis of science. Without it you have some sort of enforced orthodoxy like the catholic church had for centuries. Why is the So-called Skeptic crowd so hell-bent on control and censorship? Are you going to be calling for a Medical Inquisition next?

    • where do you see sensorship of homeopaths?

    • @stan
      Your ‘reasoning’ is – once again – deeply flawed.
      There is no discussion needed about homeopathy. To the best of our very extensive scientific knowledge, IT CANNOT AND DOES NOT WORK, and therefore should NOT be a part of any form of healthcare, period.
      Only if homeopaths can come up with compelling new evidence that their shaken water exhibits clear and consistent(!) effects in independently(!) repeated(!) scientific experiments, could the discussion be reopened.

      Why is the So-called Skeptic crowd so hell-bent on control and censorship?

      Wrong again. Correction ≠ censorship. We are hell-bent on avoiding wasting precious scientific and healthcare resources on magical claims from SCAM artists who sell shaken water as a medicine. We are also hell-bent on educating the public in these matters, so that they can make a truly informed decision about aforementioned shaken water and the claims with which it is sold.
      There is no censorship: you are free to express your belief in homeopathy, and we are free to express our scientific point of view, i.e. that you are lying when you claim that there is scientific evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy. In fact, when exploring the market for my recently published book, it would appear that there are far more pro-homeopathy books on sale than anti-homeopathy books. So please stop your stupid, hypocritical whining about being ‘censored’. And when discussions about homeopathy are cut short in a scientific or medical context, then that is not censorship either, but just good sense, as homeopathy simply has no place there. It is magical belief practised by people who are utterly incompetent in both science and medicine.

    • Where’s homeopathy “not being allowed”, Stan?

      It’s still available. It’s just that the truth about it will be printed on every bottle.

      What’s the best homeopathic remedy for paranoia and seeing things which aren’t there?

      • @Lenny

        Well, evidently all you here want to put an end to homeopathy and take away patients’ choices. Please don’t deny it…. it’s quite evident.

        I personally don’t subscribe to much homeopathy, but I respect people choices and freedoms.

        • You are fantancizing again.
          We/I want people to be informed.
          I want homeopathy to be available but not at my cost.

        • @RG

          Well, evidently all you here want to put an end to homeopathy and take away patients’ choices.

          A ‘choice’ based on lies is not a real choice, but is known as ‘deception’ (or ‘fraud’, if money is involved – which is indeed the case).

          Arguing that homeopaths should be left alone so that patients can be free to ‘choose’ to pay for their services is like arguing that swindlers and scammers should be left alone so that their customers can ‘choose’ to pay for whatever fake products or services those crooks are peddling.

          • People can make the same arguments for State sponsored abortions and pregnancy prevention devises, care and counseling. They don’t think they should pay either.

            I’m not advocating that you pay for anything you don’t benefit from. But don’t those patients you speak of using homeopathy help pay for the healthcare system benefits also?

          • But don’t those patients you speak of using homeopathy help pay for the healthcare system benefits also?

            Great question RG. I want my insurance plan to include the witch doctor (I see regularly to get meds for my delusions) as an in-network provider.

          • @RG

            People can make the same arguments for State sponsored abortions and pregnancy prevention devises, care and counseling. They don’t think they should pay either.

            This sounds like a politically motivated troll comment(*).
            Reproductive healthcare is one of the best evidence-based forms of healthcare. Both contraceptives and abortion have huge amounts of very high-quality scientific data showing their efficacy. No-one is deceived about it – quite unlike homeopathy.

            But don’t those patients you speak of using homeopathy help pay for the healthcare system benefits also?

            Well, that makes the problem worse, now doesn’t it? People want to pay for effective, science-based healthcare, but those misguided people who believe what homeopaths claim also pay for ineffective healthcare – as homeopathy is not effective healthcare.
            So I think you will agree with me that we should prevent people from paying for ineffective healthcare. Which basically is what we are trying to do here.

            *: To address your troll comment: countries (and US states) with the best access to sex ed, contraceptives and (yes) abortion also have lower unwanted pregnancy rates, lower child poverty problems, and lower child abuse problems. And oh, even lower abortion rates (because of all that sex ed and contraceptives …). In fact, it even turns out that children who received comprehensive sex ed (not just the mechanics) go on to do far better in matters of consent, and tend to have better sexual and personal relationships at a later age. And oh, it also saves tons of money – as every unwanted child born in a poor family will have cost the taxpayer about $100,000 by the time it reaches adulthood. And, oh, every woman who is forced to give birth to an unwanted child of course can’t contribute to the economy, as she is also forced to bring up her unwanted child. (Although many of those women desperately try to make the best of it by working two or sometimes even three jobs – just to provide for themselves and their unwanted children.)

            So all those conservative people who are trying to ban abortion, contraceptives and sex ed are in fact achieving the very opposite of what they preach – and note that I haven’t even got started on the rights of women as living human beings, rights which are in fact trampled by all those ‘pro-life’ idiots. At this very moment, there are several US states with abortion laws that seriously endanger the life (not to mention the livelihood) of pregnant women just to make a political point of keeping a fetus alive until birth – after which both mother and child may drop dead for all these conservative ‘pro-life’ idiots care.

          • @Talker

            haha… witch doctor. That is merely your opinion.
            In the world we don’t all think the same, what a boring place it would be if we did. You are a type of person that loves to control what others can think and do.
            Where did you learn your fascist ideology ?

          • what is fascist about what RR wrote?
            get your act together, look up the term!

          • RG,

            Where did you learn your fascist ideology ?

            Are you a moron? Read my comment again. I agree with you. I pay my insurance premium and I want the services offered by my witch doctor to be covered under the plan. Like you said, if someone is paying for benefits, it should cover whatever healthcare modality they want to use. You came up with that ideology that you are calling fascist.

          • @Richard Rasker
            Yes Richard, I’ve heard all the arguments previously. I’m not going to rehash it all here and now. No, I wasn’t trolling.
            My point was that to many people, the concept is the very same (paying for services for which they don’t agree should be covered) …. no matter how you spin it.

          • @EE

            OK sir, I took you advice and looked up the term. Seems to fit.

            an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

            extremely authoritarian, intolerant, or oppressive ideas or behavior:
            “an outright ban is just fascism”
            very intolerant or domineering views or practices in a particular area:
            “this is yet another example of health fascism in action”

          • good
            and now, please withdraw your remark.
            thank you.

          • @RG
            (I shall ignore your completely gratuitous use of the word ‘fascist’.)

            My point was that to many people, the concept is the very same (paying for services for which they don’t agree should be covered) …. no matter how you spin it.

            You are wrong (as usual), and so are those people. And no, I don’t spin anything. Healthcare insurance should cover ALL aspects of proven effective healthcare, regardless of what some of the insured people think or believe(*).
            Reproductive healthcare is both science-based and evidence-based, and proven effective, completely contrary to forms of SCAM such as homeopathy. That should be the only criterion to apply here.

            Furthermore, insurance is almost by definition not ‘fair’: most people pay insurance fees for things that won’t (and sometimes even can’t) happen to them. But it would be much less fair still if people got to pick and choose for which aspects of (non-elective) healthcare they wish to pay.
            For instance I have a healthy weight and lifestyle. So should I pay for all those overweight people who need extra healthcare? Should I pay for people who need treatment for liver disease due to alcohol abuse? And for those with lung disease as a result of smoking? And oh, being of the male persuasion, should I pay for all those breast cancer diagnostics and treatments? Etcetera etcetera. (And conversely, should all those people pay for my increased risk of accidental injury, as I spend an hour per day on my bike?)

            So yes, if you want to have health insurance, then that insurance should also cover reproductive care. But not homeopathy.

            *: Unfortunately, right-wing and religious extremists in the US have hijacked, politicized and polarized reproductive healthcare, with no other goal than to foist their extreme ideas on the greater public.
            One could in fact argue that recent anti-abortion legislation in the US amounts to nothing less than state-mandated life-threatening quackery(**): proven effective, almost risk-free treatments are forbidden, and replaced by things that may seriously damage women’s physical and mental health.
            Most notably, women are forced to carry pregnancies to term that are completely non-viable and sometimes even life-threatening. In one particularly egregious case, a 10-year old pregnant rape victim was denied an abortion in her home state. And now the doctor who gave her the abortion in a neighbouring state is being punished by a newly instated, all-republican medical board, even though legally speaking, it appears that she did everything by the book.

            **: I would almost be tempted to write a guest post on this type of politically and religiously inspired quackery …

        • Those who tend to croak about patient’s choice to use Homeopathy and censorship of homeopaths and their supporters should read the following and tone down their faux outrage

          “Homeopathy Products Market to Hit US$ 37.53 billion by 2033 | Fact.MR Report”

          “The global homeopathic products market size was valued at US$ 6.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach over US$ 19.7 billion by 2030, poised to grow at a noteworthy CAGR of 12.3% from 2021 to 2030.”

          Looking at the above projections, the swindlers are swindling very effectively, unfortunately.

          • @Talker

            The first sentences of the first paragraph says it all.
            “The global homeopathic products market is driven by the rising inclination of the population towards non-invasive treatment. The invasive remedies are considered to be the last resort by the majority of the people especially those who increasingly use the homeopathy medications. Moreover, the homeopathic products are free from any side-effects that create a very positive image among the consumers and boost the demand for the homeopathic products across the globe.”

            In other words, patients don’t want interventions that harm them, as I’ve given witnessed to myself many times here. Free market capitalism is what patients want, for better or worse, sickness or health. They simply don’t want to pay an MD to harm them or give them pills that last a lifetime to be effective. (somewhat effective)

          • RG,

            The paragraph you quote says nothing new followed by you usual rant that we have heard a million times.

            You were screaming like a banshee about how patients’ choice is being limited w.r.t. homeopathy. How exactly is patients’ choice limited when homeopathy market is projected to grow significantly in the coming years?

            Try to keep uo with the conversation.

        • RG

          Where have I said that I want to do away with homeopathy?

          Everyone is entitled to their choices. But wouldn’t you accept that they should be informed choices?

          • Good luck getting an answer from RG. Far too many times he demonstrated that he doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “informed”.

Leave a 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.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

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.