The ‘Corona-Virus Quackery Club’ (CVQC) is enjoying a fast-growing membership. As mentioned in previous posts, it consists of:
Chiropractors have been keen to join since weeks. They have a long tradition of claiming that their ‘adjustments’ boost the immune system, and therefore it was to be expected that they also jump on the corona-bandwagon.
Some chiropractors seem to believe that the corona-virus pandemic is a fine business opportunity or, as one put it, the perfect opportunity to have a heart to heart with patients about their immune and nervous systems! Remember, if germs automatically caused disease, the human race wouldn’t be around to debate the issue. Many forget that Louis Pasteur, the father of the germ theory recanted his belief. On his deathbed he observed, “It’s the soil, not the seed.” In other words, without the right environment, germs can do little harm.
Chiropractors and other health care workers are at greater risk due to patient or client interactions and are encouraged to take extra precautions when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and skin or close contact.
“Every chiropractic practice has been touched by coronavirus [fears],” says Bill Esteb, DC, who has created and is circulating a coronavirus and chiropractic guide on how to avoid contracting the virus.
“We wanted to create a tool that chiropractors could use as a conversation springboard. Chiropractors need to remind their patients that germs don’t automatically cause disease. And that ‘catching’ the coronavirus, or anything else, requires a hospitable environment.”
The only way to catch anything, says Esteb, is to become a hospitable host. Flipping the message, Esteb in his coronavirus and chiropractic guide says here is “How to Catch the Coronavirus”:
- Eat a Poor Diet — Make sure your body lacks the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micronutrients needed to keep itself in good repair.
- Avoid Adequate Rest — Stay up late and use sugar, tobacco, coffee and energy drinks as needed.
- Become Dehydrated — Reduce the effectiveness of your natural defense mechanisms by shunning adequate water.
- Stop Exercising — Reduce the efficiency of your lymphatic system, which requires movement to circulate this important germ-fighting fluid.
- Think Negative Thoughts — Worry that you’ll be a victim. Closely monitor news reports about outbreaks, fearing the advancing pandemic.
- Rarely Wash Your Hands — Use your dirty hands and fingers to rub your eyes, pick your nose or wipe your lips.
- Skip Your Chiropractic Adjustments — Handicap your nervous system, the master system that controls your entire body. Wait until symptoms are clearly present.
“Following these suggestions is the way to become a suitable host for any number of germs or microbes,” Esteb says. “The tongue-in-check approach keeps the subject light. It stimulates more instructive patient conversations. It helps reduce appointment cancellations.
“Most people have an inappropriate fear of germs. And while this poster and patient handout won’t eliminate it, use it to explore the value of ongoing chiropractic care as a preventive strategy.”
The Internet is full with messages of this type. Here is just one example: The best defense for the Corona Virus is to be healthy when you are exposed to the virus. Get adjusted to boost your immune system. Check out this video blog on what you can do to be healthy and prepare your body to fight off the corona virus.
Perhaps the worst excesses can be found on Twitter:
This ‘Manifesto of the European Committee for Homeopathy (ECH) and the European Federation of Homeopathic Patients Associations (EFHPA)‘ has just been published. It is worth considering in more detail, I think. So, I will first reproduce the document in its entirety and subsequently provide some critical assessment of it.
Homeopathy: a solution for major healthcare problems in the EU
- Helps to reduce the need of antibiotics in human and veterinary health care, thus reducing the problem of antimicrobial resistance [i],[ii]
- Increases quality of life and reduces severity of complaints in patients with chronic disease, when integrated in health care [iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii],[viii]
- Can reduce the use of long-term conventional prescription drugs, when integrated in health care [ix]
Homeopathy: safe and cost-effective with a high patient satisfaction
- Can lead to lower health care costs, when integrated in health care, [x],[xi],[xii],
- Is safe, with high patient satisfaction [xiii],[xiv],[xv],[xvi]
- Patients using homeopathy have better outcomes than users of conventional treatment, with similar costs [xvii]
- Quality, safety and correct labelling of homeopathic products is guaranteed by Directive 2001/83 EC
EU consumers expect and demand homeopathy as part of their health care
- Reported as the most used medical complementary medicine in Europe [xviii]
- Three out of four European citizens know about homeopathy and out of them 29% use it for their day-to day health care [xix]
Scientific evidence of the highest calibre confirms the clinical efficacy of homeopathic medicine
- Clinical effects of homeopathic medicines have been confirmed by systematic reviews and meta- analyses [xx],[xxi],[xxii],[xxiii],[xxiv],[xxv],[xxvi]
There is convincing evidence for biological efficacy of homeopathic medicine
- Irrefutable scientific evidence has been published on the positive effects of homeopathic products in laboratory settings [xxvii],[xxviii]
[i] Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Bégaud B, Rossignol M, et al. Management of upper respiratory tract infections by different medical practices, including homeopathy, and consumption of antibiotics in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study in France 2007-2008. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 19;9(3):e89990
[ii] Camerlink I, Ellinger L, Bakker EJ, Lantinga EA. Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets. Homeopathy. 2010 Jan;99(1):57-62
[iii] Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Baur R, Willich SN. Homeopathic medical practice: long-term results of a cohort study with 3981 patients. BMC Public Health 2005; 5:115
[iv] Spence DS, Thompson EA, Barron SJ. Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease: a 6-year, university-hospital outpatient observational study. J Altern Complement Med 2005; 11:793–798
[v] Mathie RT, Robinson TW. Outcomes from homeopathic prescribing in medical practice: a prospective, research-targeted, pilot study. Homeopathy 2006; 95:199–205
[vi] Thompson EA, Mathie RT, Baitson ES, et al. Towards standard setting for patient-reported outcomes in the NHS homeopathic hospitals. Homeopathy 2008; 97:114–121
[vii] Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Mengler N, Willich SN. How healthy are chronically ill patients after eight years of homeopathic treatment?–Results from a long term observational study BMC Public Health 2008;8:413
[viii] Rossi E, Endrizzi C, Panozzo MA, Bianchi A, Da Frè M. Homeopathy in the public health system: a seven-year observational study at Lucca Hospital (Italy). Homeopathy 2009; 98:142–148
[ix] Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Abenhaim L, Massol J, et al. EPI3-LA-SER group. Homeopathic medical practice for anxiety and depression in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 May 4; 16:125
[x] Kooreman P, Baars EW. Patients whose GP knows complementary medicine tend to have lower costs and live longer. Eur J Health Econ. 2012 Dec;13(6):769-76
[xi] Baars EW, Kooreman P. A 6-year comparative economic evaluation of healthcare costs and mortality rates of Dutch patients from conventional and CAM GPs. BMJ Open. 2014 Aug 27;4(8):e005332
[xii] Colas A, Danno K, Tabar C, Ehreth J, Duru G. Economic impact of homeopathic practice in general medicine in France. Health Econ Rev. 2015;5(1):55
[xiii] Van Wassenhoven M, Galen Y. An observational study of patients receiving homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy 2004 Jan;93(1):3-11
[xiv] Marian F, Joost K, Saini KD, von Ammon K, Thurneysen A, Busato A. Patient satisfaction and side effects in primary care: An observational study comparing homeopathy and conventional medicine. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008 Sep 18; 8:52
[xv] Witt C, Keil T, Selim D, et al. Outcome and costs of homoeopathic and conventional treatment strategies: a comparative cohort study in patients with chronic disorders. Complement Ther Med. 2005;13(2):79-86
[xvi] Marian F, Joost K, Saini KD, von Ammon K, Thurneysen A, Busato A. Patient satisfaction and side effects in primary care: An observational study comparing homeopathy and conventional medicine. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008 Sep 18; 8:52
[xvii] Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K, Righetti M, Maxion-Bergemann S, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen AE, Matthiessen PF. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment.Forsch Komplementmed. 2006;13 Suppl 2:19-29. Epub 2006 Jun 26. Review
[xviii] Eardley S, Bishop FL, Prescott P, Cardini F, Brinkhaus B, Santos K Ͳ Rey, Vas J, von Ammon K, Hegyi G, Dragan S, Uehleke B, Fønnebø V, Lewith G. CAM use in Europe. The patients’ perspective.Part I: A systematic literature review of CAM prevalence in the EU. 2012. Online retrieved 19-11-2019. https://cam-europe.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/CAMbrella-WP4-part_1final.pdf
[xix] Report of the European Commission, 1997. Online retrieved 15-12-2019 via https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/use-of-homeopathy-across-the-world/
[xx] Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, Melchart D, Eitel F, Hedges LV, Jonas WB. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials. Lancet. 1997 Sep 20;350(9081):834-4.
[xxi] Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP.Evidence of clinical efficacy of homeopathy. A meta-analysis of clinical trials. HMRAG. Homeopathic Medicines Research Advisory Group. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2000 Apr;56(1):27-33
[xxii] Hahn RG. Homeopathy: meta-analyses of pooled clinical data. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(5):376-81
[xxiii] Mathie RT, Van Wassenhoven M, Jacobs J et al. Model validity and risk of bias in randomised placebo-controlled trials of individualised homeopathic treatment. Complement Ther Med. 2016 Apr; 25:120-5
[xxiv] Mathie RT, Lloyd, SM, Legg, LA, Clausen J, Moss S, Davidson JR, Ford: Randomised placebo-controlled trials of individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Syst Rev 2014 Dec 6; 3:142
[xxv] Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: systematic review of medical conditions studied by randomised placebo-controlled trials. Vet Rec. 2014 Oct 18;175(15):373-81.
[xxvi] Mathie RT, Clausen J. Veterinary homeopathy: meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. Homeopathy. 2015 Jan;104(1):3-8.
[xxvii] Tournier A, Klein SD, Würtenberger S, Wolf U, Baumgartner S. Physicochemical Investigations of Homeopathic Preparations: A Systematic Review and Bibliometric Analysis-Part 2. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jul 10
[xxviii] Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature. Complement. Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38
Did I state above that the manifesto is worth considering in more detail? I need to retract or modify this statement.
Here are the considerations that are relevant, in my view:
- The statements in the manifesto are based on wishful thinking and do not reflect the reality based on the best evidence available today.
- The manifesto is the result of a mixture of cherry-picking and/or misinterpreting the evidence.
- Most of the cited studies have been discussed on this blog in previous posts which disclose their flaws and/or erroneous conclusions.
So, instead of discussing all the tedious details yet again, I will present here a corrected version of the manifesto:
Homeopathy: no solution for major healthcare problems in the EU
- Does not help to reduce the need of antibiotics in human and veterinary health care, thus reducing the problem of antimicrobial resistance
- does not increases quality of life and reduces severity of complaints in patients with chronic disease, when integrated in health care
- Cannot reduce the use of long-term conventional prescription drugs, when integrated in health care
Homeopathy: neither safe nor cost-effective with a high patient satisfaction
- Cannot lead to lower health care costs, when integrated in health care
- Is unsafe
- Patients using homeopathy have no better outcomes than users of conventional treatment, but cause higher costs
- Quality and correct labelling of homeopathic products is guaranteed by Directive 2001/83 EC
Some EU consumers expect and demand homeopathy as part of their health care
- Reported as a much-used complementary medicine in Europe
- Three out of four European citizens know about homeopathy and out of them many use it for their day-to day health care
Scientific evidence of the highest calibre fails to confirm the clinical efficacy of homeopathic medicine
- Clinical effects of homeopathic medicines have been confirmed by systematic reviews and meta- analyses to be no better than placebo
There is no convincing evidence for biological efficacy of homeopathic medicine
- No irrefutable scientific evidence has been published on the positive effects of homeopathic products in laboratory settings
As CORONAVIRUS-panicked consumers scramble to buy the last roll of toilet paper, the world is frantically looking for a remedy that is effective against viral infections. On Twitter, I was alerted to a homeopathic remedy (actually, it’s a ‘homotoxicological’ preparation; for more explanation, see here) that promises to do just that. Here is the advertisement in its full beauty:
Dr. Reckeweg R 88 Devirol
Indications: Any viral type disease such as measles, mononucleosis, herpes, flu.
Mode of action of main Ingredients
Coxsackie, Diphterinum, Epstein Barr, Herpes simplex, Herpes zoster, Influencinum, Mononucleosis, Morbillinum, Poliomyelitis, V-Grippe:The above ingredients are highly dilutes so that none of the virus remains in the product but that the energy of the virus stimulates the immune system to defend against the intruders. This becomes a safe immunization formula to safely (without side effects) increase the natural defense against virus.
Caryophyllus aromaticus: Natural anti viral.
Euphrasia: Immune stimulant.
Dosage: As a natural immunization formula this anti viral formula is safe for child-ren and should be used 3 drops 3 times a day for 3 days.Every month for the first two years of life.The formula can be adminstered into the umbilicus and rubbed into the skin with the child’s hand.For use with older childern or adults 10 drops 3 times daily to counteract viral di-seases or 10 drops once a day as a preventative.
Remarks: In case of influenza use R6 ;for feverR1;Chickenpox R68;Herps zoster R68,R30;Measles R62;Mumps R1,R26;Cough R8,R9.Remove patient from animal protein and increase vitamin-C use and essential fatty acids.With bacterial involvement R87.With fungal involvement R82.For stress involvement Vita-C forte.EtiologyExposure to virus starts the infiltration leading to the disease.The immune system’s condition during the incubation stage determines the degree and extent of the proliferation of the viral disease.Preventing exposure is important but even more so is keeping a healthy immune system,which allows the virus to do its work without threat to penetrate a cell to proliferate.Virus are modified types of RNA or DNA which carry messages from organisma.In nature virus are kept in check by bacteria and fungus.This tringle of micro organisma supplies a needed balance so that neither of these three becomes dominant. Excess antibiotics upsets this balance and lets virus and fungus grow.
The add which originates from Reckeweg Pakistan even offers an explanation how homeopathy works: It is all based more or less on the theory of the atomic bomb. The bomb gets its energy from the splitting of the nuclei (central cores) of uranium or plutonium atoms. The relationship between mass and energy put forth by the great mathematician Albert Einstein explains how the fission of heavy atoms can produce energy. Similarly, in homoeopathy the drug substances, that is small atoms, are split into even smaller atoms generating more and more energy.
If you believe that this is true or that any homeopathic product might work against any viral disease, then you are probably also amongst the crowd who stockpile toilet paper for a disease that does not cause diarhoea.
In case you want to know what Einstein thought about homeopathy, I can refer you to a previous post: “If one were to lock up 10 very clever people in a room and told them they were only allowed out once they had come up with the most stupid idea conceivable, they would soon come up with homeopathy.”
He finds himself in the company of giants:
John Weeks (editor of JCAM)
Deepak Chopra (US entrepreneur)
Cheryl Hawk (US chiropractor)
David Peters (osteopathy, homeopathy, UK)
Nicola Robinson (TCM, UK)
Peter Fisher (homeopathy, UK)
Simon Mills (herbal medicine, UK)
Gustav Dobos (various, Germany)
Claudia Witt (homeopathy, Germany and Switzerland)
George Lewith (acupuncture, UK)
John Licciardone (osteopathy, US)
Why does Behnke deserve this honour?
No, there are better reasons.
On Twitter, Behnke describes himself as a research consultant for homeopathy at the Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation: Evidence based medicine, CAM, clinical and basic research, health. The Carstens Stiftung say he is ‘programme director integrative medicine’. On facebook, he is merely ‘ ‘Referent of ‘Redaktion Natur und Medizin’. And on ‘Research Gate’ he lists 12 areas of skills and expertise:
Evidence Based Medicine
Medical & Health Profession Education
Randomized Control Trials
Philosophy Of Science
Complementary & Alternative Medicine
If this is not impressive, I don’t know what is! Particularly, if one knows that he is not a medical doctor at all!!!
So, let’s look at the list to decide whether he deserves the honour of becoming a member of my ‘HALL OF FAME’. Specifically, let’s check how many Medline-listed articles he has to his name in each of the above areas:
Evidence Based Medicine = 0
Medical & Health Profession Education = 0
Meta-Analysis = 0
Observational Studies = 0
Science Communication = 0
Social Media = 0
Randomized Control Trials = 0
Clinical Research = 0
Philosophy Of Science = 0
Complementary & Alternative Medicine = 0e
Integrative Medicine = 0
Homeopathy = 0
(No, you don’t need to praise me for my detailed, time-consuming research. It was not difficult and very quick: Jens Behnke, the ‘research consultant, has precisely zero Medline-listed publications).
So has Behnke ever conducted:
- a meta-analysis? No
- an observational study? I don’t think so
- a randomised trial? No
- any other clinical research? No
In the past, I tended to admit to my HALL OF FAME mainly those SCAM researchers who had published plenty of papers but had no study to their name that drew a negative conclusion. Behnke is not in that league. He is nevertheless worthy for his highly elaborate concept. Remember, he is a ‘research consultant in homeopathy’, and homeopathy obeys different rules than any other form of quackery. One of its axioms holds that LESS IS MORE. And considering this principle, Behnke surely must be THE expert! No publication, in homeopathic logic, evidently means that he is better than anyone else.
So, a warm welcome to our new member Jens Behnke: MAY YOUR UNPRODUCTIVITY AS A EXPERT IN 12 DIFFERENT FIELDS OF INQUIRY LAST FOR MANY MORE YEARS!
And congratulations also to the Carstens Stiftung who have so far spent 36 000 000 Euro on SCAM-research and pay Behnke’s salary as ‘research consultant’: I am sure you guys deserve him!
In case Dr Behnke reads this: it is an internationally accepted standard of honesty and transparency that someone who has a doctor title and works in or comments on medical matters makes it clear that he/she is not medically trained or experienced, that in fact he/she is not a medical doctor. If not, one might think that this person is deliberately trying to mislead the public.
Yesterday’s blog disclosed the fact that the German ‘Natur und Medizin’, an organisation of the ‘Carstens Stiftung’, had published slanderous lies about me. Consequently, I published an ‘open letter’ urging them to correct their mistake so that they would spare us the agony and cost of using legal action.
I never doubted for a minute that they would do this (I do not assume they are stupid, just a tiny bit dishonest) – and, as it turned out, I was correct. Here is a reminder of what they had originally published:
… er ist dafür bekannt, dass er kein gutes Haar an komplementären Therapieverfahren lässt. Notfalls greift er auch zu absichtlichen Falschdarstellungen, erfindet Daten oder behauptet einfach, klinische Studien, die nicht die Negativ-Ergebnisse erbringen, die er erwartet, seien schlicht und ergreifend Betrug.…
My rough translation:
… he [Edzard Ernst] is known for not finding anything positive in SCAM. If all else fails, he uses deliberate misrepresentation , invents data , or simply claims that clinical trials which did not generate the negative findings he expected are simply falsifications …
The corrected new text passage is a little longer and now reads as follows (my rough translation):
… he [Edzard Ernst] is known for not finding anything positive in SCAM. Analyses of his publications by independent scientists draw the conclusion that he represents case-reports demonstrably wrongly  and that he arbitrarily alters or omits data . He claims occasionally that high-quality studies of SCAM which do not generate the negative findings he expected appeared to be scientifically sound, but are nevertheless not believable …
… er ist dafür bekannt, dass er kein gutes Haar an komplementären Therapieverfahren lässt. Analysen seiner Publikationen durch unabhängige Wissenschaftler gelangen zu der Schlussfolgerung, dass er Fallberichte nachweislich falsch darstelle und Daten willkürlich verändere oder auslasse. Er selbst behauptet mitunter über methodisch hochwertige Studien zur Komplementärmedizin, die nicht die Negativ-Ergebnisse erbringen, die er erwartet, sie sähen zwar nach wissenschaftlichen Maßstäben überzeugend aus, seien aber dennoch ‚unglaubwürdig‘.…
I would like to take this occasion to sincerely thank the ‘Natur und Medizin’ and the ‘Carstens Stiftung’ for this – much obliged guys, you made my day!
- They have shown wisdom in not wasting money on expensive lawyers (even though my brother, who is a lawyer, might have enjoyed the windfall).
- They have shown courage to hide behind papers like the one by Robert Hahn which have been discussed on this blog and elsewhere and found to be deluded.
- They have shown strength by not meekly apologising to me about their attempt to slander me and my work.
- They show leadership and innovative spirit by employing Jens Behnke, the author of the above lines, who does not seem to let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Last not least, my personal thanks to dear Jens (after your generosity, I am thinking about dedicating an entire blog post to you; your employer needs to know what a genius they have in you – watch this space) for yet again having demonstrated that the phenomenon known as ERNST’ S LAW is 100% correct.
Wiki states that George Vithoulkas has been described as “the maestro of classical homeopathy” and is “widely considered to be the greatest living homeopathic theorist”. Others call him a “contemporary master of homeopathy” or credit him with the revival of the credibility of homeopathy.
A few days ago, THE MAESTRO has given an interview about the coronavirus which, I believe, is too hilarious to miss:
Q. What is your opinion of coronavirus, what homeopathy can do ?
A. Unless we have selected the real symptoms of the different stages of this influenza from the clinicians who are dealing at this moment with the infected cases, we cannot do anything substantial.
We should know the symptomatology of the beginning stages -before the pneumonia- and propose remedies for this stage in order to reduce the victims of going to the second stage. Also we should know the symptomatology of the later stage of pneumonia or diarrhea to propose different remedies for this advanced stage.
But the symptomatology has to be taken by an experienced homeopath in order to be reliable.
I think the best would be to establish contact with the clinicians in order to give us a fist hand information.
To give at random remedies as a prophylaxis and to make people think that they are protected it is irresponsible.
Q. What do you think about those homeopaths who advertise that are treating cancer cases using homeopathic remedies while at the same time the patients are treated with allopathic drugs?
Advertising that cancer cases can be cured by homeopathy in spite of the fact patients are treated with conventional drugs is an unethical act that should be avoided at all costs by any honest homeopath.
The reasons are simple.
A. The homeopathic remedy will act if it is prescribed according to the symptoms of the case. But in such a situation where the patient is under chemotherapy, the symptoms are suppressed by the allopathic drugs. Therefore the prescriptions at best are not prescribed according to the law of similars but are given in an arbitrary way, therefore instead of the similimum, several remedies are prescribed at random. Actually in this way, the case becomes more and more confused and the organism is more and more disorganised.
B. The homeopathic remedy acts on the energy level -on the vital force- inciting the organism to increase its response (initial aggravation) so the two treatments are antagonistic, the one suppresses the defense mechanism, the other strengthens it.
C. Out of such a confusion within the organism, no one can say what actually has happened in such a patient.
Of course each doctor is free to apply any treatment that according to his understanding will benefit the patient, but to claim publicly that homeopathy can cure cancer under such conditions is totally immoral.
Obviously patients will flock around such physicians in the beginning and can make them rich but in the end the disappointments will be for both parties, the doctors and the patients but mostly on the part of doctors.
Q. Perhaps because of the guilt for all the lies and false hopes?
Homeopathy is an amazing therapeutic system, that can make doctors and patients extremely happy but has limits and the doctors should not transgress these boundaries for material gain.
It is a great pity that homeopathy will be reduced to a routine massive therapy with meagre results by those who are advertising polypharmacy with such mongrel practices like the ones with prearranged therapeutic protocols or mixopathy.
If such practices prevail, finally the real classical homeopathy, that can have such amazing results, if it is learned and practiced correctly, will die out amidst an aggressive and competitive society.
So, essentially the great Vithoulkas seems to be saying that treating even the most serious diseases with homeopathy is fine, as long as homeopaths use no treatments other than homeopathy and as long as they do exactly what Vithoulkas proclaims or – even better – Vithoulkas does it himself.
I know, this is very similar to what Hahnemann, the creator of this cult, stated about 200 years ago … but it is nevertheless totally bonkers.
It seems that some people are pushing the notion that Boiron’s homeopathic product
might be helpful for the prevention and/or treatment of the Corona virus infection. To get an idea how implausible this assumption is, read my previous post on the subject.
The website of Boiron, the producer of the product, seems undeterred by plausibility and states the following:
Clinical studies show Boiron Oscillococcinum (Oscillo®) reduces the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms when taken at the onset of symptoms.1-2 Oscillo does not cause drowsiness and has no known or reported drug interactions.
- Temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue
- Non-drowsy; no drug interactions
- Easy-to-take, quick-dissolving pellets
- For everyone 2 years of age and older
- Make sure your patients always have Oscillococcinum on hand—it works best when taken at the first sign of symptoms. Help your patients feel better before they feel worse.
While this text does not state that Oscillococcinum works for the coronavirus, one could easily read it as implying it, particularly if one also considers this tweet:
Getting sick when travelling can ruin the best of vacations. Take non-drowsy Oscillococcinum the moment you feel body aches, headache, fever, chills or fatigue coming on. http://bit.ly/2BGCmCz
On the Internet we find many much more direct claims. Take this website, for instance:
The commonly indicated Homeopathic remedies for Coronavirus are: –
• Arsenic Album
**However, for best results contact a Qualified Homeopathic doctor so that correct medicines can be prescribed.
And even some politicians promote such irresponsible nonsense.
All the claims about Oscillococcinum have one thing in common: they are not evidence based! Any notion that it might work against the coronavirus is pure fantasy. And the above statement by Boiron is based on two cherry-picked studies. The totality of the evidence, however, does not show that Oscillococcinum is effective. The current Cochrane review says about its effectiveness: There is insufficient good evidence to enable robust conclusions to be made about Oscillococcinum(®) in the prevention or treatment of influenza and influenza-like illness. Our findings do not rule out the possibility that Oscillococcinum(®) could have a clinically useful treatment effect but, given the low quality of the eligible studies, the evidence is not compelling. There was no evidence of clinically important harms due to Oscillococcinum(®).
The reason, I guess, why this conclusion is not more forthright stating THERE IS NO GOOD EVIDENCE THAT OSCILLOCOCCINUM HAS ANY EFFECT can be found in the list of conflicts of interest of the paper’s authors:
All three review authors are research‐active in the field of homeopathy. They were members of the International Scientific Committee for Homeopathic Investigations (ISCHI), whose membership also included two employees of Boiron (the manufacturers of Oscillococcinum®), and whose committee activities ceased in July 2013. Progress with the Cochrane Review on Oscillococcinum® was presented briefly at ISCHI meetings in 2010 and 2011. The drafting of this Cochrane Review was carried out independently of those communications and of the authors’ other ongoing research activity. ISCHI has not run or sponsored any research on Oscillococcinum®.
Robert T Mathie: Dr Mathie is Research Development Adviser, British Homeopathic Association. He was a member of the International Scientific Committee on Homeopathic Investigations, which ceased its committee activities in July 2013. Joyce Frye: Part of Dr Frye’s salary was supported by a research grant from the Standard Homeopathic Company, paid to her employer, the Center for Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Maryland, USA. Support ended in June 2013 when Dr Frye resigned from the University of Maryland. Standard Homeopathic Company does not manufacture Oscillococcinum or any similar product, and had no interest in the outcome of the review. Dr Frye received honoraria from the International Scientific Committee on Homeopathic Investigations, which was dissolved in July 2013. Peter Fisher: I am Expert Adviser on Complementary and Alternative Medicine to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which may take an interest in the evidence in this review. I am Editor in Chief of an international, peer‐reviewed journal dedicated to homeopathy. All payments and reimbursements for lectures have been from universities or professional or learned societies. None of these lectures has been dedicated to the subject of this review. Some meetings have been supported by grants from commercial interests, including the manufacturer of the product that is the subject of the review.
So, to be clear: oscillococcinum does not help against the corona or any other virus. Those who claim otherwise are either mistaken, or have a commercial interest, or both.
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is usually a blood clot in a deep vein of a leg. It is a potentially life-threatening condition, because the clot can detach itself and end up in the lungs thus causing a pulmonary embolism which can be fatal. A DVT therefore is a medical emergency which is typically managed by immobilising the patient and putting him/her on anticoagulants.
Yet, homeopaths seem to have discovered another approach. Indian homeopaths just published a case report of a DVT in an old patient totally cured exclusively by the non-invasive method of treatment with micro doses of potentized homeopathic drugs selected on the basis of the totality of symptoms and individualization of the case. The authors concluded that, since this report is based on a single case of recovery, results of more such cases are warranted to strengthen the outcome of the present study.
The patient was advised by his doctor to have surgery which he refused. Instead, he consulted a homeopath who treated him homoeopathically. No conventional treatments were given. The patient recovered, yet his recovery is almost certainly unrelated to the homeopathics he received. Spontaneous recovery after DVT is not uncommon, and it is almost certain that it is this what the case report describes.
It is simply not plausible, nor is there evidence that homeopathy can alter the natural history of a DVT. This means that what the Indian homeopaths have described in their paper is nothing less than a case of gross negligence. Had the patient died of a pulmonary embolism due to an untreated DVT, it could have put them behind bars.
While it is, of course, most laudable that homeopaths have taken to publishing even their most serious errors, it would be more reassuring, if they developed some sort of insight into their mistakes. Instead, they seem naively confident and stupidly ignorant of the danger they pose to the public: homeopathy can play significant therapeutic roles in very serious diseases like DVT, provided the drugs are needs to be carefully selected on the basis of i) individualization of cases, ii) the totality of symptoms and personalized data, and iii) taking into consideration the pathogenicity level and proper diagnosis of the disease. Further, homeopathy may also be safely used in patients with conventional drug allergy (antibiotics) or other physical conditions preventing intake of conventional medicines.
My conclusion and recommendation: stay away from homeopaths, folks!
Hard to believe but true: a German court recently decided that a homeopathic product called ‘HCG C30 Globuli’ is legal. HCG, of course, stands for ‘Human Chorionic Gonadotropin’, the hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman’s ovary, and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation.
The plaintiff had argued that a C30 potency contains no HCG at all, and that therefore consumers are misled by the name. To be precise, a C30 is a dilution of 1:1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000! This corresponds to something like one molecule of HCG per universe. The manufacturer, on the other hand, argued that their product complies with the rules of manufacturing homeopathics.
The court ruled as follows: ‘The fact that, due to the extreme dilution, the materiel cannot be identified any longer using current methodologies, does not mean that one can assume that the material is not, in fact, contained in the homeopathic drug’. As consumers who buy homeopathics are open to its tenets, they are not being misled by this product. Critics of homeopathy may see this differently; however, this group of people are unlikely to use such products. Therefore, there is no case to answer.
The judge also mentioned that, if the ruling had come out in favour of the defendant, it would have affected no end of further homeopathic products. And this, the court argued, would not be in the interest of the consumer.
For those who read German, here is the article reporting the case:
Beim Thema Homöopathie scheiden sich die Geister. Viele Wissenschaftler halten die Zuckerkügelchen bestenfalls für Placebos, andere hingegen schwören auf die heilende Wirkung. Ein Hersteller von Homöopathischen Arzneimitteln konnte nun vor Gericht einen Erfolg für sich verbuchen: Das Landgericht (LG) Darmstadt hat die Unterlassungsklage eines Vereins abgewiesen, der beantragt hatte, dem Hersteller zu verbieten, das Produkt “HCG C30 Globuli” unter dieser Bezeichnung zu bewerben oder in den Verkehr zu bringen (Urt. v. 30.01.2020, Az. 15 O 25/19).
Der Verein, dem laut Urteil beinahe alle Industrie- und Handelskammern sowie zahlreiche Apothekerkammern und Pharmaunternehmen angehören, hatte argumentiert, dass sich das Schwangerschaftshormon HCG gar nicht in den Produkten des Herstellers befinde und somit Verbraucher in die Irre führe. Die Präparate bestünden ausschließlich aus Zucker. Der Hersteller entgegnete dem, dass das Präparat HCG in der Dosierung C30 enthalte und gemäß dem Homöopathischen Arzneimittelhandbuch hergestellt worden sei.
Bei der Dosierung C30 wird der Ausgangsstoff 30 mal im Verhältnis 1:100 verdünnt. Am Ende beträgt das Verdünnungsverhältnis 1:10 hoch 60.
Dass der Ausgangsstoff bei dieser Dosierung “aufgrund der extremen Verdünnung mit den bisher bekannten wissenschaftlichen Methoden nicht mehr nachweisbar ist, führt nicht dazu, dass angenommen werden kann, dass der Stoff tatsächlich nicht in dem homöopathischen Medikament enthalten ist”, entschied das LG jedoch.
Eine Irreführung der angesprochenen Verbraucherkreise könne nicht angenommen werden, so das LG weiter. Laut Urteil müsse grundsätzlich davon ausgegangen werden, “dass es sich bei dem angesprochenen Verkehrskreis um Personen handelt, die grundsätzlich der Homöopathie offen gegenüberstehen und denen bekannt ist, dass die Wirkstoffe bei homöopathischen Arzneimitteln geringer dosiert sind, als bei klassischen schulmedizinischen Produkten.”
Anhänger der klassischen Schulmedizin würden laut Gericht hingegen davon ausgehen, dass Homöopathie wirkungslos sei und Behandlungserfolge ausschließlich auf den Placeboeffekt zurückzuführen seien. “Dieser Personenkreis wird von der Werbung der Beklagten nicht angesprochen, da klar erkennbar ist, dass ein homöopathisches Arzneimittel vertrieben wird”, entschieden die Darmstädter Richter.
Würde man der Auffassung des klagenden Vereins folgen und unterstellen, dass der Inhaltsstoff bei einer Verdünnung “C30” nicht enthalten ist, würde dies laut Gericht dazu führen, dass eine Vielzahl homöopathischer Arzneien nicht mehr vertrieben werden dürfte. “Ein solches faktisches Verbot dürfte sicherlich nicht im Sinne der Verbraucher sein, die – aus welchen Gründen auch immer – von einer gewissen Möglichkeit der Wirksamkeit homöopathischer Arzneimittel, auch in der Verdünnung C30 ausgehen”, hieß es im Urteil.
Auch die von dem Verein vorgeschlagene Verwendung von Phantasiebezeichnungen für die fraglichen Produkte lehnte das Gericht ab. Da Angaben zu Anwendungsgebieten bzw. Beschwerden bereits aufgrund gesetzlicher Vorgaben “zum Nachteil des Verbrauchers” verboten worden seien, würden Phantasiebezeichnungen eine Anwendung nach der klassischen Homöopathie erheblich erschweren, “wenn nicht gar unmöglich machen.”
[see also here]
Apart from the fact that homeopathic HCG makes no sense (for which condition should it be effective?), what has happened here, it seems to me is nothing less that the German judiciary defending the madness of homeopathy.
The Indian AYUSH quacks are rarely out of the headlines these days. After recently promoting homeopathy for the coronavirus epidemic, they are at it yet again. This time they seem to want us to believe that homeopathy is an effective cancer therapy. And guess who is helping them promote this dangerous claim? Yes, it’s the “Pyromaniac In a Field of (Integrative) Straw Men”, Michael Dixon!
“Time for integration has come and it is not because allopathic medicines fail in treatment but rather it is the demand of the people and patients worldwide,” said Dr Michael Dixon, Chair-College of Medicine and Integrated Health, UK, and Visiting Professor, University of Westminster and University College London, while inaugurating the two-day ‘International Conference on Integrative Oncology 2020. The ICIO 2020 is held in Indai in association with Central Health & FW Ministry, AYUSH/TCAM Ministry, all AYUSH/TCAM research councils and the governments of Kerala and Maharashtra, and National AYUSH Mission and organised by the Global Homeopathy Foundation (GHF).
Dr Dixon called upon integration of various medical streams while combating diseases. He pointed out that anti-microbial resistance, over-prescription of opiates and over-prescription of conventional medicines have compounded the situation. “Enormous issues persist back in United Kingdom (UK), National Health Services (NHS) England banned herbal and homoeopathic medicines while Royal College of General Practitioners asked general practitioners not to offer Homoeopathy and National Institute for Clinical Excellence changed guidelines on palliative care and back pain,” said Dr Dixon.
However, he said the good news is that at last AYUSH has arrived in UK with the College of Medicine and Integrated Health taking the lead. “Integration of medical systems is of paramount importance in oncology for prevention, treatment, treating side-effects of conventional medicine and preventing recurrence.”
Those who address the inaugural function include:
- Dr Jayesh Sanghavi, vice- chairman GHF,
- Dr T K Harindranath, president, Indian Homoeopathic Medical Association,
- Dr Piyush Joshi, secretary general, Homoeopathic Medical Association of India,
- Dr Eswaradas, chairman, GHF, Dr Issac Mathai, Soukya Holistic Clinic,
- Dr Velavan, Radiation Oncologist, Erode Cancer Centre,
- Dr Sandeep Roy, chairman, organising committee ICIO 2020,
- Dr Madhavan Nambiar IAS (retd), Patron GHF
- Dr Sreevals G Menon, Managing Trustee, GHF
Around 25 papers are being presented at the summit. Two of them stand out, in my view:
- Dr Vinu Krishnan, member, sub-committee on cancer, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi, Analysis and observations of stage 3 and 4 lung cancers using homoeopathic interventions
- Dr Ravi, associate professor with Virar Homoeopathic Medical College, Mumbai, Clinical assessment of homeopathy and its role in survival in 3rd and 4th stage cancers
I find it imperative to point out that, according to the best evidence available to date, there is no reason to believe that:
- Homeopathy is effective in stage 3 and 4 lung cancers
- Homeopathy has positive effects on cancer survival
In my view, anyone who makes desperate cancer patients believe otherwise or supports conferences where such notions are being promoted is a dangerous charlatan.
In case you are new to this blog and have not heard of Dr Dixon, allow me to alert you to 4 previous posts: