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!
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.
In response to yesterday’s post, I received a lengthy comment from ‘Stan’. Several readers have already commented on it. Therefore, I can make my arguments short. In this post, will repeat Stan’s points each followed by my comments (in bold). Here we go:
Seven Reasons Homœopathy is Not Placebo Effect
Sorry, Stan, but your heading is not proper English; I have therefore changed it for the title of this post.
1. Homeopathic remedies work on babies, animals, plants and people in a coma. Biodynamic farmers use homeopathic remedies to repel pests and treat plant diseases. Some organic ranchers rely on homeopathic remedies to treat their herds. Some “placebo by proxy” effect has been shown for children but its doubtful that it could be shown for a herd of cattle or crops in a field. Farmers can’t rely on wishful thinking to stay in business.
As discussed ad nauseam on this blog, homeopathic remedies do not work on babies or animals better than placebos. I don’t know of any studies with “people in a coma” (if you do, Stan, please let me know). The fact that ranchers rely on homeopathy is hilarious but does not prove anything.
2. The correct curative remedy will initially cause a worsening of the condition being cured if it is given in too strong (i.e. too dilute) a dose. A placebo might only cause a temporary improvement of the condition being treated; certainly not an aggravation.
The ‘homeopathic aggravation’ is a myth created by homeopaths. It disappears if we try to systematically research it; see here, for instance.
3. One can do a “proving” of an unknown homeopathic remedy by taking it repeatedly over several days and it will temporarily cause symptoms that one has never experienced previously – symptoms it will cure in a sick person. This is a repeatable scientific experiment used to determine the scope of a new remedy, or confirm the effects of an already proven remedy. A placebo might possibly have an effect if the individual taking it has been “prepared” by being told what they are taking but it likely wouldnt match previously recorded symptoms in the literature.
Homeopathic provings are rubbish and not reproducible when done rigorously; see here.
4. One can treat simple acute (self-limiting) conditions (e.g. minor burns, minor injuries, insect bites, etc.) and see unusually rapid cures with homeopathic remedies. A placebo might only cause a temporary improvement of the condition being treated while taken. Placebos have been found mostly effective in conditions with a strong psychological component like pain.
You mean like using Arnica for cuts and bruises? Sadly, it does not work.
5. One can get homeopathic treatment for long term chronic (non self-limiting) conditions and see a deep lasting cure, as has been documented clinically for a couple centuries. A placebo might only cause a temporary partial improvement of the condition being treated while the placebo is being taken.
You mean like asthma, eczema, or insomnia?
6. There is over 200 years worth of extensive documentation from around the world, of the clinical successes of homeopathy for both acute and chronic conditions of all types. As Dr Hahn has said you have throw out 90% of the evidence to conclude that homeopathy doesnt work. The Sheng et al meta-analysis in 2005 Lancet that was supposedly the death knell of homeopathy used only 8 studies, excluding hundreds of others. Unsurprisingly homeopathy was found wanting. So-called Skeptics see what they want to see in the science. There is relatively little documentation of placebo usage. A few recent studies have been done showing the limited temporary benefits of placebos.
What Hahn wrote is understandably liked by homeopaths but it nevertheless is BS. If you don’t trust me, please rely on independent bodies from across the world.
7. Homeopathic remedies have been shown to have a very weak electromagnetic signature and contain some nano-particles. Some believe this explains their mechanism. An exciting new potential field of research is the subtle cell signalling that has been found to direct the development of stem cells. Scientists have created double-headed planeria worms and this trait has been found to be inherited by their offspring without any change in the genes or epigenetics. Until now we had no idea how a single fertilized ovum could evolve into a complex creature that is bilateral and has multiple cell types. It is possible that the very subtle electromagnetic signature or some other unknown effect of homeopathic remedies is effecting this subtle cell signalling.
The homeopathic nano-myth is nonsense. And so is the rest of your assumptions.
Every conventional drug has “side effects” that match the symptoms for which it is indicated! Aspirin can cause headaches and fever, ritalin can cause hyperactive effects, radiation can cause cancer. Conventional doctors are just practicing bad homeopathy. They are prescribing Partially similar medicines. If their drugs were homeopathic (i.e. similar) to the patients symptoms on all levels they would be curative. Radiation sometimes does cure cancer instead of just suppressing it per usual.
Even if this were true, what would it prove? Certainly not that homeopathy works!
Dr Hahneman did forbid mixing homeopathy and conventional medicine. In his day doctors commonly used extensive blood letting and extreme doses of mercury. Its not Quite as bad now.
You evidently did not read Hahnemann’s writings.
Just because we dont know how extremely dilute homeopathic remedies work, doesn’t discount that they Do work. Homeopathy seems to fly in the face of Known science. In no way is it irrational or unscientific. There are lots of phenomena in the universe that cant be explained yet, like dark energy and dark matter effects and even consciousness!
Not knowing how a treatment works has not stopped science to test whether it works (e.g. Aspirin). In the case of homeopathy, the results of these endeavors were not positive.
The assumption that the moon is made of cheese also flies in the face of science; do you perhaps think that this makes it true?
The actions of homeopathy can and have been well-explained: they are due to placebo effects.
Stan, thank you for this entertaining exercise. But, next time, please remember to supply evidence for your statements.
According to a German court ruling, the homeopathic remedy Meditonsin for colds may no longer be advertised with certain statements. The Higher Regional Court in Hamm, Germany made it clear that it shares the opinion of the Regional Court in Dortmund, which had sentenced the marketing company to desist from making statements such as “rapid and reliable reduction of the intensity of the typical cold symptoms”. Such statements falsely generate the impression that therapeutic success can be expected with certainty. The court made it clear that the company’s appeal against the previous ruling was unlikely to be successful. The company subsequently withdrew its appeal today – and the judgment is now legally binding.
The lawsuit filed by a consumer organization was thus successful. It had criticized several statements as unfair and inadmissible advertising. The Dortmund court shared this view in September 2022 – and according to the spokesman, the Higher Regional Court in Hamm now followed the argumentation of the lower court.
The statements that
- “good efficacy and tolerability were once again impressively confirmed by a pharmacy-based observational study”,
- and “all cold complaints showed a clear improvement in the course of the disease”,
were deemed to be misleading advertising. They must therefore be omitted, the ruling stated.
Meditonsin is currently being advertised as follows:
For support of the immune system at the first signs of a cold to help the body build up the defense against pathogens effectively.
In addition, conditions are made more difficult for the intruders – through an effective medicine: the well-known Meditonsin® supports your defenses and naturally fights the onset of inflammation of the ears, nose and throat with pure homeopathic ingredients.
If applied early and correctly, Meditonsin® helps to ensure that the typical unpleasant symptoms have no chance to develop. Because Meditonsin® is particularly well tolerated and protects the organism, it is for both adults and children alike – a family medicine in the best sense.
Meditonsin contains two homeopathic ingredients in the D5 and one in the D8 dilution. To the best of my knowledge, there is no sound evidence that the remedy is effective for anything.
Turnera diffusa, known as damiana is a shrub native to southern Texas in the United States, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean that produces small, aromatic flowers. Damiana is an ingredient in a traditional Mexican liqueur, which is sometimes used in lieu of triple sec in margaritas. Damiana was included in several 19th-century patent medicines, such as Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. The leaves were omitted from that product’s non-alcoholic counterpart, Coca-Cola.
In folklore, the plant was believed to be an aphrodisiac. I looked for evidence from clinical trials but was unable to find any. However, that does not seem to bother PharmaSGP GmbH which produces a drug called Neradin.
The German advertisement of Neradin tells us that:
Bei sexueller Schwäche wie Erektionsstörungen können auch traditionelle Mittel helfen – ohne die Nebenwirkungen mancher chemischer Potenzmittel. Das pflanzliche Arzneimittel Neradin® nutzt dazu erfolgreich Wirkstoffe der mexikanischen Heilpflanze Damiana (Turnera Diffusa).
Die Vorteile von Neradin® auf einen Blick: Fördert die Potenz des Mannes bei sexueller Schwäche
I translated this into English:
Traditional remedies can also help with sexual weakness such as erectile dysfunction – without the side effects of some chemical sexual enhancers. The herbal medicine Neradin® successfully uses active ingredients from the Mexican medicinal plant Damiana (Turnera Diffusa).
The advantages of Neradin® at a glance: Promotes male potency in case of sexual weakness
The patient information leaflet states that “Niradin is a homeopathic drug” and “one tablet Niradin contains 100mg Turnera Diffusa Trit. D4”.
English language sites concur:
Neradin is a homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy is understood as a regulatory therapy for acute and chronic diseases. The areas of application are derived from the homeopathic drug pictures. The following indications are authorised for this medicinal product: Discomfort caused by sexual weakness
So, what we seem to have here is the following:
- A pharma firm that advertises a homeopathic product as a herbal drug.
- A homeopathic remedy that is based on a plant for which there is not a jot of evidence.
- If there were evidence that the plant helps against erectile dysfunction, its homeopathic dilution would, according to the homeopathic ‘like cures like’ axiom, bring about erectile dysfunction.
- A dilution (1:10000) that is too low to have any effect, even if it were made of Viagra.
Am I the only one to think that something is not quite right here?
But don’t let it spoil your HAPPY VALENTINE!
It has been reported that a German consumer association, the ‘Verbraucherzentrale NRW’, has first cautioned the manufacturer MEDICE Arzneimittel Pütter GmbH & Co. and then sued them for misleading advertising statements. The advertisement in question gave the wrong impression that their homeopathic remedy MEDITONSIN would:
- for certain generate a health improvement,
- have no side effects,
- be superior to “chemical-synthetic drugs”.
The study used by the manufacturer in support of such claims was not convincing according to the Regional Court of Dortmund. The results of a “large-scale study with more than 1,000 patients” presented a pie chart indicating that 90% of the patients were satisfied or very satisfied with the effect of Meditonsin. However, this was only based on a “pharmacy-based observational study” with little scientific validity, as pointed out by the consumer association. Despite the lack of evidence, the manufacturer claimed that their study “once again impressively confirms the good efficacy and tolerability of Meditonsin® Drops”. The Regional Court of Dortmund disagreed with the manufacturer and agreed with the reasoning of the consumer association.
“It is not permitted to advertise with statements that give the false impression that a successful treatment can be expected with certainty, as suggested by the advertising for Meditonsin Drops,” emphasizes Gesa Schölgens, head of “Faktencheck Gesundheitswerbung,” a joint project of the consumer centers of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. According to German law, this is prohibited. In addition, the Regional Court of Dortmund considered consumers to be misled by the advertising because the false impression was created that no harmful side effects are to be expected when Meditonsin Drops are taken. The package insert of the drug lists several side effects, according to which there could even be an initial worsening of symptoms after taking the drug.
The claim of advantages of the “natural remedy” represented by the manufacturer in comparison with “chemical-synthetic medicaments, which merely suppress the symptoms”, was also deemed to be inadmissible. Such comparative advertising is inadmissible.
This ruling is, I think, interesting in several ways. The marketing claims of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) products seem all too often not within the limits of the laws. One can therefore hope that this case might inspire many more legal cases against the inadmissible advertising of SCAMs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to seven companies for illegally selling dietary supplements that claim to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent cardiovascular disease or related conditions, such as atherosclerosis, stroke or heart failure, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The FDA is urging consumers not to use these or similar products because they have not been evaluated by the FDA to be safe or effective for their intended use and may be harmful.
The warning letters were issued to:
- Essential Elements (Scale Media Inc.);
- Calroy Health Sciences LLC;
- BergaMet North America LLC;
- Healthy Trends Worldwide LLC (Golden After 50);
- Chambers’ Apothecary;
- Anabolic Laboratories, LLC.
“Given that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., it’s important that the FDA protect the public from products and companies that make unlawful claims to treat it. Dietary supplements that claim to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent cardiovascular disease and related conditions could potentially harm consumers who use these products instead of seeking safe and effective FDA-approved treatments from qualified health care providers,” said Cara Welch, Ph.D., director of the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “We encourage consumers to remain vigilant when shopping online or in stores to avoid purchasing products that could put their health at risk.”
Under the FD&C Act, products intended to diagnose, cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease are drugs and are subject to the requirements that apply to drugs, even if they are labeled as dietary supplements. Unlike drugs approved by the FDA, the agency has not evaluated whether the unapproved products subject to the warning letters announced today are effective for their intended use, what the proper dosage might be, how they could interact with FDA-approved drugs or other substances, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.
The FDA advises consumers to talk to their doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider before deciding to purchase or use any dietary supplement or drug. Some supplements might interact with medicines or other supplements. Health care providers will work with patients to determine which treatment is the best option for their condition.
If a consumer thinks that a product might have caused a reaction or an illness, they should immediately stop using the product and contact their health care provider. The FDA encourages health care providers and consumers to report any adverse reactions associated with FDA-regulated products to the agency using MedWatch or the Safety Reporting Portal.
The FDA has requested responses from the companies within 15 working days stating how they will address the issues described in the warning letters or provide their reasoning and supporting information as to why they think the products are not in violation of the law. Failure to correct violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure and/or injunction.
It has been reported that the Regional Court of Dortmund has prohibited the manufacturer of the homeopathic cold remedy Meditonsin from advertising with false health claims. The court did not see sufficient evidence for the advertising claims.
The Consumer Advice Centre (VZ) of North Rhine-Westphalia issued a warning to the Meditonsin manufacturer (MEDICE Arzneimittel Pütter GmbH & Co.) for misleading advertising statements and sued them. The complaint was:
- that the advertising gave the false impression that an improvement in health could be expected with certainty after taking the product,
- that no side effects were to be expected,
- that the product was superior to “chemical-synthetic medicines”.
The Dortmund Regional Court was not convinced by a study referred to by the manufacturer. On its website, the manufacturer of Meditonsin presents the results of a “current, large-scale user study with more than 1,000 patients” under the heading “Proven efficacy & tolerability”. According to a pie chart, 90% of the patients were satisfied or very satisfied with the effect of Meditonsin.
However, according to the VZ, the study was only a “pharmacy-based observational study” with little scientific validity. Despite the lack of evidence, the manufacturer claimed that “the good efficacy and tolerability of Meditonsin® Drops could once again be impressively confirmed”. The Dortmund Regional Court, however, followed the VZ’s statement of grounds for action. “It is not allowed to advertise with statements that give the false impression that a successful treatment can be expected with certainty, as the advertisement for Meditonsin drops suggests,” emphasized Gesa Schölgens, head of “Faktencheck Gesundheitswerbung”, a joint project of the consumer centres of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. According to the Therapeutic Products Advertising Act, this is prohibited.
The Dortmund Regional Court also found that consumers were misled by the advertising because it gave a false impression that no harmful side effects were to be expected when taking Meditonsin. The package leaflet of the drug listed several side effects. According to this, there could even be an initial worsening of the symptoms after taking the medicine.
According to the VZ, the alleged advantage of the “natural medicinal product” over “many chemical-synthetic medicinal products that only suppress the symptoms”, as presented by the manufacturer, is also inadmissible. This is because it is not permissible to advertise to consumers with claims that the effect is equivalent or superior to that of another medicinal product. This, too, was confirmed by the court.
In case you like to know more about the remedy, this is from its English language site:
Meditonsin consists of Aconitum, Atropinum Sulfuricum, Mercurius Cyanatus. Active ingredient is the part of the drug or medicine which is biologically active. This portion of the drug is responsible for the main action of the drug which is intended to cure or reduce the symptom or disease.
It has been reported that America’s Frontline Doctors (a right-wing organization that is associated with the ‘Tea Party’) is suing one of its founders in a battle for control over the controversial group, which gained national notoriety for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 treatments and vaccines during the pandemic.
The organization and its current board chairman have sued Simone Gold, MD, alleging that she misused the nonprofit organization’s funds to buy a $3.6 million Florida mansion, purchase a Mercedes-Benz and other luxury vehicles, and take trips on private planes.
The lawsuit, filed November 4 in federal court, comes just months after Gold was released from prison for her role in the January 6 US Capitol insurrection. Gold pleaded guilty to trespassing in the Capitol and was sentenced to 60 days in federal prison.
The group and the board chairman, Joseph Gilbert, claim that after her release from prison, Gold attempted to reassert control of the group, take over its website, and fraudulently represent herself as its director, according to the complaint. The complaint referred to Gold as a “rogue founder,” alleging that she spent almost $50,000 monthly on personal expenses using the organization’s credit cards.
Gold resigned from the group’s board in February ― before she pled guilty ― so that she could pursue her goal of opening health and wellness centers nationwide, according to the complaint. At that time, the board voted Gilbert to be its chairman and agreed to have Gilbert negotiate an agreement for Gold to serve as a consultant. Gold sought a “signing bonus” of $1.5 million, along with $50,000 to be paid monthly as a consulting fee, according to the complaint.
Another report has more details on Gold’s alleged wrong-doing: The complaint claims that in November 2021, Gold used “AFLDS charitable funds to purchase a $3.6 million home in Naples, Florida for her personal rent-free use, and at least three vehicles and has otherwise used AFLDS funds to resource her personal lifestyle and expenses since she formed AFLDS.” Plaintiffs also allege that Gold “currently lives in this home with John Strand, rent free.” Strand is a former underwear model and boyfriend of Gold’s who was arrested with her in connection with the January 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol. She moved with Strand to Florida this year from Los Angeles, where she had been an emergency room physician. Strand allegedly was paid $10,000 per month as an AFLDS employee and allegedly spent $15,000 to $17,000 a month using those credit cards. He was terminated from AFLDS in summer 2022, according to the complaint. In addition to purchasing the house with AFLDS funds, the complaint said Gold purchased a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, a Hyundai Genesis, and a GMC Denali. After taking possession of the Naples home, she used AFLDS funds to pay a personal security officer $12,000, a personal housekeeper $5,600 a month, and charged “nearly $50,000 per month” to AFLDS credit cards.
I tried to find some information on th health and wellness centers that Simone Gold wanted or did open. Alas I was unsuccessful in my endeavor. However, I found an interesting passage she once wrote:
The World Health Organization, the FDA, the NIH, and the CDC are proven liars who have lost all credibility and common-sense, while jeopardizing YOUR health and safety. What disgusts me most is how their failed prescriptions have exposed the most vulnerable: our elderly and our children. The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and hundreds of other news outlets have censored the truth in order to preserve their power. Twitter, Facebook, Google/YouTube, Apple, and dozens of other Tech companies are throttling down content, suppressing information, and de-platforming those with whom they disagree.
I find it hard to find words for a comment – except perhaps this: maybe it is not such a bad thing when anti-vaxxers fight each other; it means they have less time, energy, and money to confuse the public with their lies.
DIARALIA is a homeopathic remedy for the symptomatic treatment of acute transient diarrhea. It is produced by Boiron, the world’s largest manufacturer of homeopathic remedies. This is how it is currently advertised:
Adults and children from 6 years
Lozenge 1, 4 to 6 times a day, for a maximum of three days of treatment.
Discontinue treatment as soon as symptoms disappear.
Method and route of administration DIARALIA
Sublingual (tablet to dissolve under the tongue)
In children 18 months to 6 years: dissolve the tablet in a little water before use, because of the risk of aspiration. As soon as the permitted age, dissolve the tablets under the tongue.
Duration of treatment DIARALIA
The duration of treatment should not exceed one week.
In case of overdose DIARALIA
If you have taken more DIARALIA orodispersible tablets that you don” should have:
Consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
In case of failure of one or more doses of DIARALIA
If you miss a dose of DIARALIA orodispersible tablets:
Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you forgot to take
Pregnancy and lactation with DIARALIA
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine.
In the absence of experimental and clinical data, and as a precautionary measure, the use of this drug should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
Excipients with known effect: This medicinal product contains lactose,
For a 300 mg tablet
Arsenicum album 9CH 1mg
China rubra 5CH 1mg
Podophyllum peltatum 9 CH 1mg
Excipients: sucrose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate
N” Never use DIARALIA orodispersible tablets:
· In children under 18 months.
· If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to the active substances or to any of the ingredients in CORYZALIA orodispersible tablets.
Possible interactions with DIARALIA
If you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is to be taken between meals.
Like all medicines, DIARALIA orodispersible tablets may cause side effects, although not everybody will not matter.
If you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, or if the side effects gets serious, please tell your doctor or pharmacist.
Storage conditions DIARALIA
Store at a temperature not exceeding 30 ° C
Precautions and warnings DIARALIA
This medication should not be used in case of vomiting, high fever, blood in the stool.
Any significant diarrhea exposed to the risk of dehydration requiring appropriate rehydration.
If diarrhea persists beyond 3 days, a medical consultation is necessary.
If your doctor has told you have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before taking this medicine
Use of this medicine is not recommended in patients with galactose intolerance, a Lapp lactase deficiency or malabsorption syndrome glucose or galactose (rare hereditary diseases).
But is there any evidence that DIARALIA works?
I’m glad you asked!
I looked far and wide but found none (if a reader knows of a clinical trial, please let me know).
Jenifer Jacobs (JJ) published a review of 3 studies – all her own! – and concluded that the results from these studies confirm that individualized homeopathic treatment decreases the duration of acute childhood diarrhea and suggest that larger sample sizes be used in future homeopathic research to ensure adequate statistical power. Homeopathy should be considered for use as an adjunct to oral rehydration for this illness. So, some homeopathy fans might claim there is good evidence. But I dispute that.
- Firstly, there are good reasons to distrust these conclusions.
- Secondly, there are good reasons to doubt that JJ is a reliable researcher.
- Thirdly, JJ used INDIVIDUALIZED homeopathy and not DIARALIA.
We all know, of course, that diarrhea can be a symptom of a range of serious conditions. Thus, one should not joke about it. On the contrary, one should diagnose the reason for the symptom and treat it adequately. And one should certainly not advertise unproven treatments for it; one could even go one step further and claim that anyone who does that is fraudulently endangering the health of the often all too gullible consumer.
About a year ago, I reported last on the situation of homeopathy in France. Now it might be time for another update. The end of the reimbursement of homeopathy was, of course, a heavy blow for the laboratories concerned, especially Boiron and Weleda.
Are these firms now going bust?
Is the French public missing homeopathy?
The cessation of reimbursement took place in two steps: in 2020, the reimbursement rate was reduced to 15 % and expired completely in 2021. The new director of Weleda France, Ludovic Rassat, explains that, in 2020, when the reimbursement was reduced to 15 %, the impact on sales was just 20 %. The decrease was limited because of the supplementary health insurance which 80 % of French people have still supplemented the reimbursement up to 100 %. In 2021, this generosity stopped and the reimbursement fell from 100 to 0 %. This led to a 60 % drop in sales and to losses of 13 million Euros for Weleda France.
According to an Ipsos survey commissioned by Boiron Laboratories in October 2018, 70 % of all French used homeopathy to relieve their first symptoms, 74 % thought homeopathic remedies were effective and 71 % thought homeopathy was a good complement to conventional treatments. One might, therefore, have assumed that French consumers would continue using their beloved remedies despite the cessation of reimbursement. However, this was not the case. The most obvious explanation for this phenomenon, I think, is that the above-mentioned survey had generated false-positive results and that people correctly judged homeopathic remedies to be superfluous.
Faced with unsustainable losses, the French manufacturers of homeopathic products are now forced to react. A press release by Weleda France from 4 July 2022 stated that “This project would result in the discontinuation of pharmaceutical production and medical information in France and the closure of the Weleda division. This would result in the cessation of production activities at the Huningue site and an adjustment of the organisation of activities at headquarters. In total, 127 jobs could be cut at Weleda France.” If this step is taken as planned, Weleda France will have to earn its money purely on its cosmetic and anthroposophical products, according to the director.
In 2019, Laboratoires Boiron owned 4 production laboratories and 28 distribution facilities in France. In March 2020, the company announced that it had decided to cut 646 jobs in France and close 13 of its 31 sites, due to the poor economic results that followed the cessation of reimbursement of its products by the social security system. Following the decision by the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, to stop the reimbursement of homeopathic preparations by the social security system, Boiron announced that the Montrichard site in the Loir-et-Cher region had not managed to find a buyer. As a result, the site, which employed around 80 people, closed on 31 December 2021.
And the French consumers?
Are they missing homeopathy?
Are they suffering from homeopathy withdrawal?
Are they more frequently ill without homeopathy?
Are they switching to more expensive conventional drugs?
I currently spend much of my time in France and cannot say that I have noticed any of this. On the contrary, most people I talk to are delighted that homeopathy is no longer reimbursed. But this is no evidence, of course. I am unable to find any reliable data to answer the above questions.
When the French health minister decided against homeopathy two years ago, she said: “It’s possible to leave the doctor’s office without a prescription! Let’s take advantage of this debate on homeopathy to reflect more broadly on our use of medicine. The ultimate goal is to consume less.” She was correct, it seems.