Loblaws selling homeopathy is junk science and bad corporate ethics

Homeopathic remedies are the health-care equivalent of a Ponzi scheme, and responsible merchants shouldn’t stock them

“Homeopathy has the potential to stimulate the body’s own healing powers. Ask us to help you select a remedy

(Chris MacDonald)

This post has been updated with comment from Loblaws.

Imagine you walked into your local bank, and saw a sign that read:

“Lottery tickets have the potential to ensure a comfortable retirement. Ask us to help you select the lottery that’s right for you!”

You would, I am sure, be shocked. Anyone with the slightest bit of financial common sense knows that lotteries are a losing proposition. For every one person who (temporarily, at least) gets rich, there must necessarily be thousands or millions more who lose money. Lottery tickets are a bad bet, and to advise someone to buy lottery tickets as an investment strategy would be fraudulently bad investment advice.

But worse still would be a sign that read:

Ponzi schemes have the potential to ensure a comfortable retirement. Ask us to help you select the Ponzi scheme that’s right for you!”

This, of course, would be even worse advice. After all, lotteries sometimes (if rarely) pay off. Ponzi schemes never do. They always collapse, eventually. They make investors feel good, in the short run, but they are utterly incapable of securing anyone’s long-term future. So advising people to buy into a Ponzi scheme would be the height of professional irresponsibility for a financial institution. Only a company seeking to profit from gullibility—to prey upon the public’s lack of financial sophistication—would even think of such slimy advice.

So what about healthcare? Shouldn’t the same standards apply? Wouldn’t it be shocking if a company promoted a healthcare product that had not just a slim chance of working, but literally no chance at all?

Here’s a sign that greeted me in the back corner of my local Loblaws supermarket:

“Homeopathy has the potential to stimulate the body’s own healing powers. Ask us to help you select a remedy.”

The problem here is of course that homeopathy doesn’t work. It cannot work, as a matter of simple biology, and it’s been thoroughly tested and proven not to work. Scientific consensus is clear and unambiguous on this. For some symptoms, homeopathy can provide a short-lived placebo effect. But that’s very limited, and it’s not the claim being made when homeopathy is sold. A company the size of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has no excuse for not knowing this.

Of course, some people claim that homeopathy works for them. This can readily be explained by reference to any of a number of perceptual failings and cognitive biases. The short version is that personal perceptions and recollections are not reliable: medicine needs to be rigorously tested using blinded trials. After all, many of us know someone—a former neighbour or second cousin once removed—who scored big on the lottery. That doesn’t mean lotteries are a reliable investment strategy.

Presumably Loblaws thinks they can get away with this because of the weasel words they use: words like “potential” presumably mean they’re dodging making any specific claim about cause and effect. That may keep them on the right side of the law. But it still makes the company’s behaviour deeply unethical. If by “potential” they merely mean “it’s not logically impossible,” then the claim about homeopathy may be true. But if they mean that stimulating the body’s own healing powers realistically could happen, then it’s false.

If Loblaws isn’t selling something that works, are they at least selling hope? Perhaps. And hope is a wonderful thing. But many desperate people also buy lottery tickets as a matter of hope, in a desperate attempt to get themselves out of poverty. In both cases, what is being sold is at best false hope, and there’s no honour in selling that.

Homeopathy is the healthcare equivalent of a Ponzi scheme. Loblaws—and any other retail outlet that sells it—should be ashamed.

UPDATE: December 18, 2015: Loblaws Tweeted the following about this article:

Chris MacDonald is director of the Jim Pattison Ethical Leadership Program at the Ted Rogers School of Management, and founding co-editor of the Business Ethics Journal Review. He is co-author (with pharmacist Scott Gavura) of the peer-reviewed article, “Alternative Medicine and the Ethics of Commerce,” forthcoming in the journal Bioethics.


133 comments on “Loblaws selling homeopathy is junk science and bad corporate ethics

  1. The problem with your ascertation is that you are blatantly wrong. In case you arent aware as you sit back in your back-seat armchair quarterbacking you would quickly learn that retail space is highly competitive and very expensive. If a product doesn’t work it will eventually stop selling and be replaced very quickly. The MARKET determines what should be sold to them and they are the most fickle of buyer. Yes, every once in a while a pie in the sky product comes along but the market quickly ferrets it out.

    Data was recently shown by a major retailer at the recent FDA hearings about retail purchases of homeopathics. It showed that the rate of re-purchase from the same people year after year was the same as many standard OTC medicines and sometimes even better – like tylenol cold and flu, headache medicine, etc.

    They showed three years of data of THE SAME CONSUMER and they continued buying the homeopathics year after year.

    If it was a scam, and nobody was getting benefit, this would surely show a decrease. Even if the “magic placebo” that is thrown around as the answer to everything unexplainable it would have to be equal to or more effective than a non-placebo product as that product would be getting placebo AND real benefit.

    So, as a consumer, where am I left? I either have to agree with “scientific consensus” that we have arrived at a point where we can say, “it cant work” or I have to believe my own experience and EVERYONE else who is voting with their wallet every year.

    Unfortunately, especially in these areas, science has a long history of MAJOR errors in their consensus. You know who doesn’t have a long history of selling the wrong things that don’t work and provide value? Retailers. Any that did are out of business.

    So, you can take your nonsense article and put it out to pasture along with your “indignation” because you are just wrong. Oh, and by the way, you should know that the FDA as well as other agencies mandated finished monographs for “regular otc drugs” about 40 years ago and at least 40% still have not been completed for safety OR efficacy. So, get off your high horse and stop being a “bandwagon” science newbie by writing this kind’ve nonsense and expecting us to think you are smart or helping us. In reality, you are the problem.

    • Homeopathy works, eh? Watch the CBC Marketplace episode on homeopathic remedies. A group of sceptics take a full bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills, and NOTHING happened. How do like your beer, Drazzin? Alcohol is a drug (the active ingredient being ethanol). Try diluting your next glass of whisky thousands of times, then tell me how wasted you get. Your appeal to popularity is fallacious reasoning. The placebo effect is real.

      • That’s like saying that, since your key didn’t work in your neighbors door, it proves that keys don’t work. Homeopathic remedies have to fit the specific symptoms in order for something to happen. The fact that you don’t even know that, shows you are just blowing hot air. Go read a book.

        • Actually, Alan, the research is pretty clear on this. You might want to take a look at the Meta-analyses conducted by the UK and Australia which found that among over 1800 research papers, there is no good evidence that homeopathy has ANY effect on ANY condition.

          • Flawed research from both the UK and Australia but the meticulous Swiss, remember how well those watches work and how so many people trust them with their money, well, they came up with the opposite conclusion – Homeopathy works!

            The sloppy process used by the Australians was akin to a study into the efficacy of Oncology where no oncologist was on the panel, none were consulted, research was selected subjectively to exclude the most positive data and one of the panel members had a demonstrable conflict of interest which made objectivity impossible.

            Ah, that rigorous scientific research until it isn’t rigorous.

        • So the homeopathic sleeping pills are what, exactly? Why, when someone takes a full bottle of them, does nothing happen?

          As for the ethanol experiment, let’s say the symptom is stress or anxiety. Would homeopathic ethanol cure this?

          What a load of rubbish you spew. Go read a book? I have: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.

          • May I suggest you do some research into Homeopathy before commenting. If only to avoid looking foolish in regard to questions sourced in ignorance.

          • So you’re the third homeopathy defender to respond. Not one of you has told me why taking a full bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills has no effect.

        • Ah yes, a standard homeopathic escape clause. Only individualised homeopathy is “true” homeopathy. Care to guess how many people buying the sugar pills at this pharmacy are acting on the advice of a homeopath, rather than buying on the basis of the label?

          Mind you, the tablets themselves could contain anything. If I was Boiron I would just ship sugar pills. As if anybody could ever prove the difference!

      • Roslyn, your logic is that the Swiss are good at fiancés and clocks therefore homeopathy works? I suppose you are average for a quack.

        The facts are that the Swiss asked for two reports, one by academics who produced Shang et al that showed that homeopathy didn’t work and one by German homeopaths who disregarded all science and even then merely claimed that sugar/water was cheap. The Swiss government accepted Shang et al and rejected the homeopathic tripe, their comments about the homeopath’s report was scathing. So by your ‘logic’, homeopathy doesn’t work.

        You merely show the usual dishonesty of homeopaths trying to justify their scam.

    • The beneficiary in this case is the store and the manufacturer. The purchaser, under the impression that what is being sold as a “remedy” is exactly that, is being deceived and benefits only in that it is the placebo effect in action. Akin to having your mommy kiss your scraped knee better.
      To add insult to injury, the purchaser, under the impression that their relief was in some way due to the action of a non-existent (statistically) ingredient, may go on to purchase homeopathy for other conditions, and may choose to treat their children with said magic water and sugar pills. This is where the harm comes in.

    • There are hundreds, if not thousands, of religions, many of them mutually contradictory. People still assert them to be sources of Truth, and will often fight and die for their beliefs. Popularity is no guarantee of factual accuracy.

      In fact though most of these products seem to be bought by people who have no idea what they are. They think they are buying a herbal product – a fiction in which homeopathy shills willingly collude. One of the most successful tactics in showing people that homeopathy is nonsense, is simply to describe the basis on which it is claimed and how the products are made.

  2. One more thing. Even your analogy is hogwash. According to your analysis, they would be selling a lottery ticket that NOBODY ever wins. It would be “impossible” for them to get anything more than placebo. Which means, they will eventually stop buying in lieu of an actual product that provides placebo and ‘real” medicine.

    So, if you are going to use a bad analogy, at least show the ridiculousness of your lottery analogy. It is like I said, even if you did have a “fake” lottery eventually it would go down and down. Unfortunately, homeopathic sales are going up and up EVEN from the same buyers year after year.

    Could you imagine buying a “fake” lottery ticket year after year when no winner was ever announced? For 200 years? When anyone online can look and “find out” that it is “fake”? The real answer is not the ridiculous premise, but a much easier one to accept — it works for those that take it.

    Stop bashing things, especially when you are posing as a “business” guy when you have not done the basic research to even comment with any “business” sense to the reality.

    Homeopathy is growing, not because of any great marketing or selling, as frankly that is poorly done by the industry, but they are thriving because people get well. You may not like it, it certainly leaves an explanation as to why open, but it is true and the BUSINESS case proves it.

    I know you will just be angry and argue, but it would be better to open your mind to the possibility you are wrong or misinformed.

    • Re: Two Drazzin comments: Well said ! Well said indeed !

      • So, is illness caused by miasms, or by subluxations preventing the flow of innate? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Amen!

    • If you are so open minded, tell us what evidence you would accept that showed homeopathy doesn’t work.

  3. Clearly the writer not only has absolutely no knowledge of Homeopathy but also does not understand what a Ponzi scheme is.

    The only consistency in those condemning Homeopathy is their utter ignorance and greater prejudice. What is worse is that clearly these articles get past sub-editors without being questioned. I don’t know what is worse.

    Perhaps the author might explain if it is all so dodgy, why is it that MD’s and hospitals around the world practise it; medical schools and universities teach it and Governments include it in their State medical systems? Bearing in mind of course that all of these bodies are on red alert for anything which might compromise their prestige or have them sued and none of them would touch Homeopathy without the research being done and the legal teams signing off on it.

    Perhaps, Chris MacDonald, you could do some research before launching into print on the topic of Homeopathy in order to avoid looking foolish. You know, some of that rigorous research scientists and lawyers use, the sort used by the MD’s, hospitals, medical schools, universities and Governments who don’t agree with you.

    • There is not one credible study showing that homeopathy works – some people do mix up true homeopathic products with herbal products (some of these actually work because they actually contain more than water and/or sugar). Very few MDs and hospitals recommend such products and many countries (like UK, Australia) are now pulling the plug on them in their health schemes.




      • Baloney

        • Brian, The one person that actually provides real references, and your reply is “baloney”? wtf? Fact is, there is no evidence for its efficacy. So it’s just really expensive water. But if people want to take it, go ahead, as long as they don’t deny proper medical treatment for their children, I don’t care.

    • Roslyn, we’re back debating homeopathy again. For those who don’t know, would you care to enlighten us on what, exactly, homeopathy is and what your best evidence for its efficacy is?

      • Anyone with a serious interest in Homeopathy can quickly do the research which explains this medical modality.

        I see, by the nature of your questions, you have still not done minimal research which would provide you with enough information to pose a credible and sensible question.

        The most powerful evidence for the efficacy of Homeopathy is that it has survived and thrived over more than two centuries despite concerted efforts from the pharmaceutical industry over that period and it is now the second most used medical modality after Allopathy, the fastest growing, and it is practised by MD’s and hospitals around the world, taught in medical schools and universities – particularly in Europe – and included by Governments in their State medical systems. Anyone, with any involvement with science/medicine, academia and Government knows that they are litigation-shy and they embrace nothing without first doing the research to assure themselves it is effective and then getting their legal teams to sign off on that research and assure them there are no grounds for litigation.

        • As usual you accuse people of not knowing homeopathy but have never pointed to a single fact they have actually gotten wrong. Almost as if you are wrong.

          Then the evidence which is that we have run our scam by lying about the results for two centuries so we should be entitled to ignore the results that show it to be a scam. With your prescientific ignorance we should be still blood letting according to the humours and running governments according to astrology.

          The research has been done, that you deny that and cannot understand it is adequately exposed by your comments.

  4. Mr. MacDonald claims to speak in defense of ethics while simultaneously launching an unethical broadside at an entire industry of which he obviously knows nothing about. His uninformed diatribe against homeopathy could be interpreted as a defamatory statement designed to restrict free enterprise.

    This boils down to an issue of freedom of medical access and choice. One must ask why extremists who are so adamantly opposed to homeopathy would deprive patients of a therapy that is so remarkably safe, inexpensive, and effective. It is unethical to seek to deprive the public of its basic rights to choose the therapy that works for them.

    • Yes, they are remarkably safe because they contain nothing! There is not one credible study showing that homeopathy works over and above the placebo effect – some people do mix up true homeopathic products with herbal products (some of these actually work because they actually contain more than water and/or sugar). Very few MDs and hospitals recommend such products and many countries (like UK, Australia) are now pulling the plug on them in their health schemes.

      • How many people have you treated and for how long……William….I honestly understand where you are coming from and there was a time when I thought along similar lines…..and then how can I ignore the astounding results…far beyond the placebo effect…that I have experienced with my own children and numerous animals and of course in my clinical work…it would have been arrogant and ignorant for me to question when people who were sent home from their GP w/o resolution only to find recovery in their homeopathic treatment. For example take the following email I received from a client:
        My young son was plagued with ill health due to a variety of food and environmental sensitivities since his birth. A number of traditional and non traditional health care professionals were unable to make a true difference for him. Indeed, during his many reactive episodes I felt truly alone and unable to get an appointment for several weeks. All that changed when I found Hardo. His constitutional homeopathic remedies made such an astounding difference that he has been able to gain and maintain exceptional good health and energy ever since. During the course of this treatment Hardo made himself available at all times for any crisis moments that he would experience. That was a priceless gift in terms of peace of mind and support. My boy is now approaching year 12 and has been exceptionally healthy for the whole of the last 4 years. Hardo is a true blessing.

        • This nonsense that you have to have tried, mistreated patients or qualified in sugar and water to comment is utter bunk.. You do not need to be a mechanic to know your car does not work, similarly, you do not need to pretend to be a doctor to know that homeopathy does not work. However, you do need an appreciation of clinical trials, statistics and cognitive bias. Homeopaths are trained in none of those areas.

          • How then, Acleron, can you explain the fact that many Homeopathic doctors are also qualified MD’s and Homeopathy is practised in many hospitals around the world? Are you suggesting those medical professionals are fraudulent? Does it not occur to you that the reason they practice Homeopathy is because they know it is effective, have done their research and know they cannot be sued for malpractice, as would happen, if you were correct.

        • They are obviously deluded if they believe in something rather than accept the evidence. It is obvious that going to such doctors endangers your health so while their increased profits may do you no harm for your coughs and colds, anything more serious could easily kill you.

          BTW why do ho!eopaths have to lie about the numbers of doctors who prescribe sugar and water?

    • If you have evidence to show that homeopathy is effective, please supply it. As far as being “safe”, well, it’s as safe as taking a glass of water, or a sugar pill, which is exactly what homeopathy is.
      It’s not about freedom to choose, it’s about making informed decisions. If you want to make a decision on what book to read to your child, pick any book you want, no problem. If it comes down to a remedy to reduce a fever or treat an illness, better make sure that what you’re choosing actually works. This is where, for some unknown reason, homeopathy has gotten a pass from Health Canada. There is no requirement to provide evidence of efficacy when licensing a homeopathic remedy. Unlike pharmaceuticals which have measurable ingredients, measurable efficacy and actual evidence, homeopathy has none of the above.

    • What’s unethical about criticising homeopathy? The entire industry is founded on a gigantic fraud. Even if it weren’t, it’s not “unethical” to criticise banks, say, even though some of what they do is valid (which is more than can be said of homeopaths)

  5. At the end of the day I do not give a damn about fake research to justify the monopoly of the Pharma industry. Having been in practice for nearly 20 years I rely on the physical results I have achieved with my clients. Hundreds and hundreds of clients have seen and experienced the efficacy of this 2nd most used medical model in the world first hand and are totally committed to use Homoeopathy for themselves and their families. If at least someone with sufficient education in this field would come forward and engage in a productive discussion about Homoeopathy …its strengths and weaknesses…it would be a stimulating experience….the above article is boring and ignorant and proves that lay persons should not be given an opportunity to talk/write about a subject matter that goes beyond their intelligence.

      • Does all this huh ha surprise you William….Homoeopathy is the 2nd most used medical model in the world and as such presents a clear and present danger to the pharmaceutical industry…..nothing ever changes in this equation …there are always interest groups ready to bounce on anything that stands in their way of making money…..at least it’s predictable right ??!!

        • A conspiracy theorist as well, not surprised. Pharmaceutical companies already sell water and sugar, it is profitable and non effective.

        • Homeopathy IS the pharmaceutical industry. Do you provide your services for free? Check your own conflict of interest.

        • Correction: homeopathy is one of the most widely used *alternatives* to medicine. Much of that claimed popularity rests on use of over the counter products. Tests show these do nothing. Homeopaths excuse that by claiming that only individualised homeopathy is “true” homeopathy. Tests show that doesn’t work either, but the numbers using it are tiny.

          Honest labelling would kill the OTC homeopathy business dead.

          “Active ingredient: None”.

          • Oh, you mean the sort of honest labelling which exists in Allopathic medicine – that sort? The sort which is the third biggest killer – iatrogenic – that sort of honest labelling?

            Homeopathic medicine does no harm and it cannot be labelled in the same way that deadly and dangerous Allopathic medications need to be labelled.

            Then again, I for one don’t agree with OTC Homeopathy because it runs counter to the core methodology.

  6. It never ceases to amaze me that the only people that complain about homeopathy are those who have never tried it under the supervision of a trained experienced family homeopath. I have never seen an article by a homeopathy patient that is against this form of treatment, either exclusively, or in combination with conventional medicine. Why? Because it works.

    My family physician is a Harvard graduate trained in both conventional medicine and homeopathy (an additional four years study). Many users of homeopathy have already tried a conventional medical approach and their condition either remained the same or worsened. In chronic pain and down to 80 pounds over thirty years ago, I was diagnosed with mercury poisoning at a major medical center. I was told there was nothing conventional medicine could do for me. Without saying the words, the message was clear: “Go home and die.” That was unacceptable. I had two children to raise, so I turned to homeopathy. With all the respect due to this form of medicine, I am alive today.

    Homeopathy is used by over 770 million patients and endorsed by the medical societies of 80 countries; including the United States, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Pakistan, the UAE and India to name just a few. It seems logical to conclude that a few hundred anti homeopathy articles are going to change this trend towards a 200+ year old form of medicine that has proven itself, on humans not animals, to be consistently safe and cost effective.

    • Addendum: I should have said “it does NOT seem logical” that a few hundred anti homeopathy articles are going to change this positive trend trend. regarding the use of homeopathy.

    • As the vast majority do not use homeopathy your logic should say that nobody should use it. In fact, neither position is logical. The popularity of a scam is more related to the promises made and homeopathy has numerous get out clauses when the patient detects it hasn’t worked.

      • Actually, homeopathy is the SECOND most used system of medicine in the world today with over 550 million patients. Conventional medicine, the medicine you think everyone should be forced to use, is third and losing ground because it rarely cures but often causes serious side effects including death.

        • Oh it is 550 million today, 700 million last month I’ve even seen 200 million mentioned. These figures appear to be drawn from somebody’s posterior.

          If you can find where I have ever stated that medicine should be forced on everyone then I will stop calling you a liar, in the meantime, stop lying.

          Your scare tactics over medicine are as ridiculous as the belief that sugar and water have any health effects in the doses given

          There is a linear relationship between amount spent on medicine per head of population and life expectancy. There is no relationship between amount spent on sugar and water and life expectancy. This is fully in accord with the hypotheses that medicine works safely and effectively and that homeopathy is not effective.

  7. Thanks for your charitable and well-measured responses, folks. I actually have read quite a bit about this topic, so I’m far from uninformed, although I know you won’t believe that. You can check with a pharmacist — including just about any licensed pharmacist who works for Loblaws. They have the scientific training to know that homeopathy is entirely implausible. And, when tested, it does not work.

    • You will find that you are better informed than most homeopaths.

    • First of all, implausibility is a bogus and irrelevant argument. Furthermore, to state that “when tested, it does not work” indicates that you are either 1. biased 2. haven’t actually reviewed the science, or 3. have been getting all your information from skeptic anti-homeopathy fundamentalists who have no interest in facts or evidence. It is just plain factually untrue that testing reveals that homeopathy doesn’t work. And, no, most pharmacists are completely uninformed on the topic.

      • I agree with DocM. Additionally, I think I can say without rebuttal, that neither Chris or Acleron have consulted a homeopath and been prescribed a remedy. Therefore, why would any intelligent health care consumer believe their conclusion that it is not effective? The use of homeopathy is spreading because of personal stories of its successes, millions of them.

      • Keep telling yourself that poor quality trials designed to be inconclusive, conclusively shows that homeopathy works and keep ignoring the high quality work that shows it doesn’t work, then you can be a pretend doctor of sugar and water

  8. Tell the facts about homeopathy and the quacks are so offended.

    Apart from the not insignificant fact that homeopathy products are usually just water/sugar is the other fact that the best evidence that homeopaths can generate shows that there is nothing in it.

    All the logical fallacies displayed by the homeopaths cannot disguise the fact that it doesn’t work.

  9. Only the mentally ill believe in homeopathy.

  10. Like the article and especially the good analogies to lotteries and Ponzi schemes.

  11. Chris, your criticism is transparent. You have no information about homeopathy, that is obvious. Clearly Canada has some new influx of pharma paychecks to ridicule a form of healing that so many millions of people use. Do you really think you will make anyone change their minds? I think not. It’s succeeded for so many centuries because it WORKS.

    • Paychecks? So, the best you can do is to cast aspersions upon my character? I don’t work for pharma. I’m an employee of a public university, but I do know basic highschool science, and I’ve read the consensus of the scientific community. p.s. centuries of use proves nothing. Look up the fallacy known as “appeal to tradition.”

    • Appeal to popularity and appeal to tradition in the same sentence. Congratulations.

    • Have you ever considered that homeopathy was founded at a time when medical science was in its infancy? It flourished BECAUSE diseases were not well-understood. This is akin to claiming astrology is real because it’s been around for centuries. Turns out it was invented by people completely ignorant of astronomy and astrophysics.

  12. Had the author of this article done some research on the subject of homeopathy he would have found that it is the second most used system of medicine in the world today with more than 550 million patients. TCM is the most used and conventional medicine is third. Homeopathy is growing in use around the world at annual rates of between 10% and 30% because it is safe, effective (often curative where conventional treatments fail) and also inexpensive. It is recognized as a system of medicine or medical specialty and/or is supported on national health care insurance programs by the governments of 20 countries.

    Anyone who wants to know what homeopathy can do for them and their families will find hundreds of documented case records of cures of conditions from cancer to Graves’ disease to type 2 diabetes to addiction to Rx drugs by googling “homeopathy cured cases. Homeopathy has been used around the world for more than 200 years. That use shows that it has an overwhelming safety record, and there are 25,000 volumes of cured case records supporting it.

    I’ve used homeopathy for more than 15 years with such safety, satisfaction and success that it is now my primary form of medicine. I turn to it first for acute and chronic problems and for injuries, and it never lets me down. It normalized my high blood pressure and high intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma. When the pressures were normal I was able to stop using and remedies and yet they have remained normal for several years. Six-month check-up’s with my ophthalmologist and conventional GP assure me that they are normal.

    When I sliced the pad on a thumb almost completely off in a kitchen accident I went to the local emergency room. The doctors assured me that the pad would die and slough off. No such thing happened! I called my homeopath who prescribed hypericum and calendula. Today my thumb is perfectly normal with normal feeling.

    Anyone who says homeopathy doesn’t work is doing a great disservice to their fellow man.

    • Anecdotes are the weakest form of evidence. There are too many variables to produce true knowledge.

      • The only thing that really matters is what the treatment does for the patient. Hundreds of millions of cures of chronic and acute conditions and injuries spanning 200 years speaks for itself.

      • What you call anecdotes, I refer to as empirical evidence. It is the most important type of knowledge when it comes to treating real patients in real time.

    • Homeopathy CURES cancer? Bahah. Claiming that it prevents cancer is one thing, but claiming it CURES it is even more ridiculous.

      • The Prasanta Banerji Homeopathy Research Foundation treats 1,200 cancer patients a week in its clinic and patients in 80 countries around the world. Of 1,132 cases of lung, brain and esophagael cancer 22% to 32% achieved complete remission depending on the type of cancer. 23% were either improved or remained stable.


        The U.S. National Cancer Institute was so impressed by what the Banerji Protocols can accomplish that it appointed Isis Mikhail, M.D., to the board of the Banerji Protocols International Collaborative Research Consortium. The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Texas University, was also impressed and appointed Subrata Sen, Ph.D., to the board. Elena Ladas, RD, Director of the Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer, Pediatric Oncology, Columbia University, was also appointed.

        Homeopathic treatment does not affect the patient’s immune system. It does not affect other cells. It does not create side effects. Rather than trying to influence people against a system of medicine that does so much for so many we should all respect the fact that freedom of choice in health care is a human right.

        • The do not understand but copy and paste anyway merchants have arrived.

          The Banerji’s have no convincing publications and when your mate, Sandra once posted some references to case histories of cures they were found to be fraudulent. You know all this, you participated in that discussion, yet you choose to just paste the same nonsense again. Who are you trying to con this time? Yourself?

          • Why not post the name and credentials of the anonymous person who claims that the Banerji case studies are fraudulent. Also post any proof this person has to back up his or her claim. That would include doctor and patient comments and the results of objective testing.

            Please remember that your comment is libelous.

          • Reply to RGM
            Look up libel. Publicising that which is true is not libel. Publishing case histories purporting to demonstrate that somebody has been cured which are false is fraudulent. Sandra will show you the screen shots, she is good at researching, so she claims.

          • Acleron……..

            No name. No credentials. No proof. No truth.

          • There is something deliciously ironic about a quack telling somebody else they have no proof.

            Ah, I see another homeopath quack, ANISUR RAHMAN KHUDA-BUKHSH (he styles himself in capitals), purports to have found gene expression changes after having thrown away anything useful. In two different papers he has the same photograph put forward as data, their appearance is different but they can be seen to be the same. In science, this would be clearly fraudulent.

            Benveniste, the water memory guy, was fraudulent in publishing work that was cherry picked at the laboratory bench.

            The practice of homeopathy is riddled with fraud and homeopaths like RGM blame the messenger, this is the level of ethics prevalent in this quackery.

            They are shown the fraud when they post it and then deny it.

      • Up to the end of 2011 there were 164 RCT’s in homeopathy in peer-reviewed journals. Of these: 43% were positive (likely to be beneficial), 6% were negative (unlikely to be beneficial), 49% were non-conclusive. 50% of studies on conventional drugs were also found to be inconclusive.

        • The vast majority of these studies are uncontrolled, or small in numbers of subjects and thus worthless. The majority are also written in magazines dressed up to look like science journals but bear as much real similarity to a journal as the Beano does to Scientific American. The peer review is by other quacks which is why such poor quality dross gets printed in the first place.

      • The U.S. National Cancer Institute does not easily give a positive evaluation, but it gave one to the Banerji Protocols. From “Cancer patients treated with the Banerji protocols utilising homeopathy medicine: A Best Case Series Program of the National Cancer Institute USA”.

        “The objective of the present study was to have their treatment procedures evaluated and validated by the U.S. National Caner Institute’s Best Case Series Program. Lung and oesophageal carcinoma patients were treated with homeopathy remedies at the PBHRS according to the Banerji’s protocol until there was complete remission of the tumors. The results of the review were deemed to be sufficient to warrant NCI-initiated prosepective research follow-up in the form of an observational study.”

        Oncology Rep, 2008


        Jesse, if you don’t like homeopathy, don’t use it. There are millions of people who do like it and get wonderful benefit from it. You have the right to the medicine of your choice. Others have the same right. Respect it.

        • What the quacks, like this one, don’t like to tell anyone is that the Banerji protocol is standard medical treatment with extra water/sugar to add to the expense. An observational study will tell you precisely nothing but if it ever gets printed in one of their magazines the conclusion will be that more work needs to be done. Quacks then further interpret that as a positive result.

  13. I will wager any fan of homeopathy $100 that Loblaws will NOT stand up for the scientific validity of homeopathy. They will either remain silent or sheepishly appeal to the product’s pure popularity, rather than do what they cannot, namely defend the stuff scientifically. They, at least, are too smart to try THAT.

    • Chris, Why would you even expect them to do that? Do you really think it’s their role to defend all the products they sell? For a guy who speaks of ethics and law you sure display extreme prejudice. Just admit that you don’t know what you are talking about and that you got yourself in too deep with this ridiculous article.

      • You don’t expect healthcare salesmen to justify their products? Just wow. That must be the dream world of every homeopath selling expensive sugar and water.

  14. Many supplements are powerful medicine and do wonders . This writers comments show his insecurity and lack of personal investigation .

    • So the usual claims but no evidence for them. Followed by the smears on the character so beloved by those who find reality a hindrance.

  15. What a ridiculous article ! My opinion of Canadian Business as a credible publication has just gone out the window.
    How many things on the shelves allege to do things that they rarely do ? Like OTC pharmaceuticals, you mean ?

    In reality, homeopathy, unbeknown to this silly author, works, and is the best deal in town! I, my family, and most of my friends and acquaintances use it and rely on it. In fact, in my town, the latest buzz is that when the drugs the doctors
    prescribe don’t work, people are dropping into the new homeopath’s office on Main Street. Guess what ? The stuff he gives them, makes them better and they ditch the drugs !!

    Good on Loblaw’s for selling homeopathic remedies. I’ll be sending my friends there to buy them in the future. Thanks for letting us know !

  16. After reading the material below, I wonder if Chris would dare tell Professor Edzard Ernst that he is misleading in his conclusion about the effectiveness of homeopathy.

    “In 2001 Professor Edzard Ernst, in a published overview of exemplary studies and available systematic reviews of complementary therapies in palliative care, which is included in the 2003 report National Guidelines said:

    ‘Several clinical trials suggested that homeopathy also may benefit patients suffering from cancer. For instance, a recent double-blind RCT included 66 women undergoing radiotherapy after breast cancer surgery. In addition to conventional treatment, they received either a homeopathic mixture (belladonna 7CH, X-ray 15CH, i.e. two homeopathic remedies in high dilutions) or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. The results suggested that the homeopathic mixture was superior to placebo in minimizing the dermatologic adverse effects of radiotherapy.’ ”

    David Tredinnick UK Parliament, Conservative, Bosworth, 3:32 pm 19, November 2015

    • This Edzard Ernst? The one that has admitted himself, after years of doing research, that most CAMs do nothing?
      The one that has said this?
      “I would promote placebo effects but not placebos,” he later tells me. “If I have a patient who has a condition and I treat it well according to the best evidence, and as a good doctor with compassion and empathy, then this patient will benefit from a placebo effect. Just giving them a pure placebo, like homeopathy, is cheating the patient.”

      • Yes, that is the one. The scientist who changed his views as he accumulated more evidence and thus became the apostate so hated by the scammers.

  17. To the people that think that a product with the active ingredient diluted to the point that it does not exist as a single molecule in what is being sold actually works- you DO know that this violates that laws of nature, yes?
    And, lets go to fantasy land for a moment, and pretend that it does work- that would mean that drinking rain water would either kill us all, as every drop of water would ‘remember’ the botulism that was at one time in it, or we wouldnt need to pay anyone for a homeopathic container, as every drop of water would ‘remember’ everything ever in it, and according to homeopathy, since ‘like cures like’, no one, anywhere, would ever be sick, with anything?
    Remember- homeopathy is NOT a mixture of herbs or a supplement, it is literally a dilution of a substance to the point that the substance does not exist in the product any more.

    • Translation of statements by Didda = I have never consulted a homeopath or been prescribed a homeopathic remedy. In addition, I have not done my own research. Instead, I have chosen to listen, believe and parrot other skeptics’ opinions.

      • And that is the best defence of homeopathy. Unless you have fallen for the scam you have no say in the argument. Laughable.

    • Chris, As you already know, it is not the place for any retailer to provide scientific backup for the products they sell. That’s just simply ridiculous. That’s what gov’t, regulatory agencies, and the medical profession does. On the other hand, they are forced to protect themselves from liability because people like you create a hostile environment for honest retailers and decent people who deserve the right to sell and use the therapy of their choice without having fundamentalists like you harass them. Again, your sense of ethics is deeply suspect.

  18. Homeopathy doesn’t work, there is no scientific dispute over this. That the sellers of homeopathy argue about it is inconsequential to the facts.

    Homeopaths pretend they have a system of medicine but this is shown to be untrue by the comments seen in this column. Many homeopaths argue that clinical trials are invalid for homeopathy because homeopathy is an individualised system. The individualisation is quickly forgotten when some poor quality piece of work shows positive for homeopathy. Defending this pharmacy firm for selling expensive sugar and water is further evidence that there is no firm belief in individualisation it is called up when inconvenient facts are presented and dropped when there is the possibility of a sale. Most of homeopathy is like this.

  19. Homeopathy could be stopped simply by harnessing animal rights groups. Very strange animal ingredients are in these remedies, only, by long tradition, the scammers have been permitted to retain the Latin names of these animals. For example, Oscillococcinum contains “extract of heart and liver of Muscovy Duck”. A duck is sacrificed each year at the headquarters of Boiron, to be diluted hundreds of times, making it the most profitable duck on the planet.

    Another popular remedy contains crushed honeybees…

    So start using a Latin translator, people. Where is PETA when you need them?

    • Lol, some of the starting materials are amazing, such as Light of Venus, Plutonium, antimatter. One particularly amusing one is dog faeces. It makes you wonder, did they test all dog types to find the best dog poo? What is the quality control on this? Do they obtain the poo in controlled circumstances or do they just go down the street and stick a finger in whatever they find?

  20. As a child I suffered from hay fever. It would only be an issue as I would play in tall grass in the summertime. When I left my hometown in an urban environment, to my mothers hometown in Switzerland. A lot changed, I was only there for a couple days before my eyes swelled shut and leaked from my nose. It was hay fever like I ever had before. So my family gave me antihistamine from the pharmacy. I would pass out in every situation, in the car at the dinner table anywhere. Then my aunt got my the homeopathic remedy. I had to chew tablets every couple hours, but had no ill side effects, I was alert and ready for anything. It changed my experience completely. Once I returned home to vancouver I’ve thought about trying to import the same thing that I had is Switzerland, homeopathic hay fever meds. It was the best experience for me. I hope k e day Iva get the same thing at my local grocery/pharmacy. It’s been too long, nowadays I suffer through the symptoms knowing what is currently available is garbage.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Shaan B. It is not uncommon for someone to be helped in such a dramatic fashion. Stories like this, not “science” or the anti homeopathy rants by skeptics, are the reason for the continued use of homeopathy.

      • When you say “not uncommon”, you mean of course that such anecdotes are ten a penny.

        Not one single independently authenticated case has ever been documented where homeopathy was objectively proven to have cured anybody of anything, ever.

        Unsurprising as like does not cure like, dilution decreases, not increases potency, and there is no remotely plausible mechanism of action for these sugar pills.

        • Wrong, still. There exists more than two centuries of meticulously documented cases of treatment and cure involving Homeopathy. In addition, there are MD’s and hospitals around the world who practise it, medical schools and universities which teach it and Governments which include it in State medical systems, suggesting they have all done their research and concluded that not only is it highly effective, it is a medical modality with integrity and their legal teams have been able to sign off on that fact.

          You need to qualify your final comment:

          There is currently no remotely plausible mechanism of action within the limited realms of science as it exists today – mechanistic materialist reductionism. It would be delusional and foolish to think that science as it stands now is all there is and knows all there is. Science can only function within its limits and Homeopathy, brilliant and advanced in innovation, operates beyond the known limits. Science will however advance and when it understands Homeopathy it will have to rethink much of what it calls facts and laws and be in a position to explore the world as it really is – far beyond pure materialism.

          • Meticulously recorded? Are you having a laugh?
            We can see the level of recording from your own comments. It is full of cherry picking and lack of understanding of simple logic. Why should anybody believe these quacks are any better. When sufficient detail of these claims are published we find they are actually fraudulent. We see this fraud at all levels throughout homeopathy so claims of meticulously taken case histories can be taken with a large piece of salt.

    • Fantastic story. Thank you for sharing. NOW all we need is for such stories to be gathered systematically, so that we can determine more precisely which remedies work well, and which (if any) have side effects. Why has no one done this?

    • There are excellent Homeopaths in Canada. Find one. I also know how effective Homeopathy is for hay fever but I also know that there is not one remedy and as you change and situations change, it may be necessary to get something new every few years.

      If hay fever is recurring, and emotional/psychological is an important factor for all allergies, then it is a good idea to work with a Homeopath on the underlying causes as opposed to situational treating of the condition.

      • Hay fever, along with colds, are a favourite for quacks because the symptoms are variable. They will sell you one or another vials of bottled sugar and when the hay fever season is over they will claim success. A wonderful scam.

  21. Your examples of Ponzi Schemes and Lottery Tickets are particularly dramatic, but I’m afraid you have your facts completely reversed: Homeopathy is neither of these, but mounting evidence points to the possibility that conventional pharmacologic medicine may very well be.

    The British Medical Journal, BMJ, has been gathering and publishing data on Evidence Based Medicine for many years and the results are unequivocally clear: only about 11% of all conventional medical therapeutic interventions demonstrate adequate scientific justification for their use. Most conventional treatments (nearly 50%) have no verifiable scientific evidence of effectiveness, while nearly a third have either been scientifically proven to be of “no benefit” or have been proven to be harmful. One wonders why these conventional interventions continue to be shamelessly pushed on the public without so much as a nod toward scientific verification.

    Conventional medicine promises beneficial returns on a huge health care investment from each of us (we currently spend nearly 20% of the U.S. GNP on health care). Over the last century, as medical expenditure increases so do the rates of chronic illness. Today, we have an epidemic of chronic illness that affects nearly 50% of the population. Most of these illnesses were virtually unknown before the introduction of modern pharmacologic medicine, and rates continue to rise the fastest in populations that use these interventions the most.

    Additionally, conventional pharmacologic medicine (when used in accordance with the “Standard of Care”) is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually in the U.S. alone. Conventional drugs, used according to prescription, are between the third and the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. today.

    Data from numerous sources including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) support these figures.

    Homeopathy, in clear distinction, is one of the safest forms of medicine on earth. Populations that receive homeopathic treatment show benefits across all health indices, including quality of life, recovery from acute and chronic conditions, and patient satisfaction. Many studies, including one recently released by the Swiss government, show that homeopathy is both clinically and financially effective, and that those treated homeopathically have lower rates of both recurrent acute and chronic illness. Additionally, population groups that respond the best to homeopathy are those that already have the most severe forms of illness.

    Homeopathy has proven efficacy in the field across multiple disciplines in a vast array of medical conditions. Conventional pharmaceutical medicine operates beneath a thin veneer of science and is associated with alarmingly high (and rising) rates of chronic illness as well as a worrisome safety profile. Which form of medicine resembles a Ponzi Scheme, and which system of medicine reminds one of a Lottery?

    The most important questions raised by your interesting commentary are not: why are homeopathic medicines being sold at Loblaws (as they are in most pharmacies worldwide), but: “Why has conventional pharmacological medicine been left unregulated for so long?, Why is the health care industry the largest and most well-funded lobbying force in Washington, DC?” and finally: “When will people remove the wool from their eyes and see that they are already part of one of the largest Ponzi Schemes in human history?”

    • When you say “mounting evidence”, I believe you are using a specific and misleading definition of mounting and indeed evidence.

      Yes, the pile of studies by believers aiming to prove their belief is indeed getting higher. However, the methodological quality is getting, if anything, worse. Three separate government level reviews – Switzerland, the UK and Autralia – have recommended an end to finding homeopathy due to the absence of any credible evidence of clinical effect.

      The latest review by homeopath Robert T. Mathie could not find a single study which was at low risk of bias (albeit this was achieved by excluding one study that everybody else thinks is solid – and which has a resoundingly negative outcome). Of the handful of studies he considered low risk of bias, the results were weak, equivocal and underwhelming. And that’s a review by a homeopath. Non-believers are less determined to flatter and ocme to much less flattering conclusions.

      One thing that has been noted over and over again, though, is that the better a trial is designed, the more carefully it excludes bias and confounding, the more likely it is to be negative.

      Ioannidis rightly notes that the chances of a positive result being false increase dramatically when a treatment is implausible. Few treatments are more implausible than homeopathy, based as it is on the refuted doctrine of similars, the false belief that dilution confers potency, and the absence of any remotely plausible theoretical framework.

      In short then, science has an explanation for homeopathy that is robust, coherent, consistent with other knowledge, and requires no ad-hoc hypotheses. Homeopaths dislike this explanation but their alternatives fail every test of objective validity. And homeopathy’s star is waning. because people are actually beginning to understand just how silly it is.

    • Ron, thanks very much for your dissection of the shear hypocrisy of calling out homeopathy when conventional drugs are so horrifyingly dangerous.

      • Ah, the Tu Quoque fallacy. Even if something like aspirin was found to be totally ineffective it would do nothing for the credibility of homeopathy which would remain zero.

      • Correction: it’s hypocritical to criticize one thing while advocating another that has the same characteristics. I’m criticizing a product that has no effect. I would likewise criticize any pharmaceutical product that has no (or inadequate) effect. I’m blogged a lot about problems in the pharmaceutical industry, in fact.

  22. Superficially, the argument that if it didn’t work it wouldn’t sell is seductive. However, there are hundreds if not thousands of religions in the world, many of them mutually contradictory, and people are prepared to fight tot he death for them. Objective correctness doesn’t actually matter when it comes to emotional commitment, which is what drives homeopathy.

    Remember the three core problems with homeopathy:

    1. There is no reason to suppose it should work, as like does not cure like.

    2. There is no way it can work unless our knowledge of the nature of matter, chemistry, biology and physiology is completely wrong at the most fundamental level.

    3. There is no proof it does work, because all results are consistent with the null hypothesis.

    From there we wonder: how is it legal to sell it, and why does it still sell?

    Legality is easily answered. In most jurisdictions, believers ensured that homeopathic products were grandfathered into regulations and exempted from any tiresome requirement to prove efficacy.

    Why it sells is more complex. Most consumers have no idea what homeopathy is, they think it’s basically herbal remedies, and homeopathics are complicit in perpetuating this fallacy. If you have a cold and take a product when your symptoms are at their worst, any subsequent improvement will likely be attributed to the product regardless of the obvious fact that the cold was about to improve anyway. And yes, there are also a few die-hard believers who sincerely buy into the idea that disease is caused by miasms and not germs, but they are a minority of those who buy these over the counter products from pharmacies,

    So the customers for the product don’t know it doesn’t work and the major proponents refuse to countenance the evidence that shows them to be wrong. And thus a fraud is perpetuated. Interesting but in the end rather sad.

    • Guy Chapman, you said:

      Remember the three core problems with homeopathy.

      These are not problems with Homeopathy – these are your problems with Homeopathy.

      1. There is no reason to suppose it should work, as like does not cure like.

      Homeopathy is far more than ‘Like Treats Like’ but I do understand you come from a place of ignorance and prejudice. But just to take this issue further, how then do you explain Allopathic medicine using Chemo and Radiotherapy, which cause cancer to cure cancer;
      Ritalin which causes hyperactivity in healthy people to cure hyperactivity; and various heart medications which cause the symptoms they are meant to cure in healthy people?

      2. There is no way it can work unless our knowledge of the nature of matter, chemistry, biology and physiology is completely wrong at the most fundamental level.

      Yes, that is correct. Only a fool would think science knows it all at this point in time. Quantum Mechanics was a shocking development – Einstein never really came to terms with it, and it demonstrated that much believed by science was quite simply wrong. The rest as they say is history.

      3. There is no proof it does work, because all results are consistent with the null hypothesis.

      There is absolute proof it works – more than two centuries of success including countless meticulously recorded instances of healing and cure. There are Government records from the 19th and early 20th century and even in more recent times documenting its effectiveness during epidemics.

      But the key fact is that around the world many MD’s and hospitals practise it, medical schools and universities teach it and Governments include it in State medical systems – because it works. None of this would happen if it were fraudulent or ineffective because none of these organisations do anything which might compromise their prestige or their pocket. Their legal teams sign-off before they move.

      • 1) chemotherapy and radiotherapy do not cause cancer to cure cancer, you are talking nonsense. Their mechanism of action has nothing to do with your prescientific belief system.

        2) for any putative mechanism of homeopathy to exist then a new force or energy type would have to be found. The chances of some ignorant homeopath stumbling on something that the world’s finest scientists have failed to detect is about the same as the chance of finding any of the starting material in a pill of C30 sugar.

        3) only by disregarding all we have learned about collecting evidence could anybody make up such a fatuous statement as ‘meticulously recorded’.

        If homeopathy worked it would show in the actual high quality trials that have been performed. It doesn’t.

  23. Quoted material: “ The Professional Standards Authority, (is) a Government organisation that has 63,000 practitioners on 17 accredited registers covering 25 occupations. The Society of Homeopaths is one of its most recent additions: it now oversees the society’s regulation. However, there are many other groups there. It is important that we do not ignore that valuable resource. One third of the costs of the whole cancer budget is going on care after treatment. We can reduce that bill by using these people. I know the field of homeopathy very well. With acute conditions, if conventional medicine and homeopathic medicine are used, one reduces the acute drugs bill and with chronic conditions one tends to increase patient satisfaction, so it is a win-win situation.”

    #g906.0 David Tredinnick UK Parliament, Conservative, Bosworth, 3:32 pm 19,
    November 2015

    • So what? The quacks have a code of conduct, bully for them, they are still peddling nonsense, as the three government level reviews found.

      The fallacy in your argument has been pointed out many times: homeopathy cannot be cost-effective unless it’s effective. There is no credible evidence that it is effective, there is no remotely plausible way it could be effective, and there’s not even any reason to think it might be effective.

      Even manufacturers admit they can’t tell the products apart other than by the label, and one London manufacturer was found not to have added the magic at all to one in six vials for a long time – and nobody noticed. Think about that. One in six vials contained plain, untouched sugar globules, and not one customer found out.

    • It would be a start if the homeopaths actually adhered to their code of conduct but they don’t.

  24. Quoted material: As a young doctor, I had an appointment in a homoeopathic hospital, and I was very impressed with its success rate. My boss told me that much of this success came from discontinuing mainstream medication. This made a big impression on me. ~ Edzard Ernst
    (BMJ Career Focus 2003; 327:166; doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7425.s166)

    • And then Ernst traded in his *impressions* for *data*, and realized that homeopathy does not, in fact, work.

      • Chris, please refer to top of Page 4 this post:

        After reading the material below, I wonder if Chris would dare tell Professor Edzard Ernst that he is misleading in his conclusion about the effectiveness of homeopathy.

        “In 2001 Professor Edzard Ernst, in a published overview of exemplary studies and available systematic reviews of complementary therapies in palliative care, which is included in the 2003 report National Guidelines said:

        ‘Several clinical trials suggested that homeopathy also may benefit patients suffering from cancer. For instance, a recent double-blind RCT included 66 women undergoing radiotherapy after breast cancer surgery. In addition to conventional treatment, they received either a homeopathic mixture (belladonna 7CH, X-ray 15CH, i.e. two homeopathic remedies in high dilutions) or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. The results suggested that the homeopathic mixture was superior to placebo in minimizing the dermatologic adverse effects of radiotherapy.’ ”

        David Tredinnick UK Parliament, Conservative, Bosworth, 3:32 pm 19, November 2015

        • This is a good demonstration of the only research tool a quack can use, the cherry picker.

          Ernst freely admits his early conclusion was incorrect and recently apologised to DUllman for not criticising homeopathy much earlier.

          This is how science works, if the evidence shows your pet idea is wrong, you junk it. The homeopathic quack, of course, junks the data.

  25. Mr. Mc Donald has a not interesting method for rhetoric: using faulty analogies just to get emotional arousal from readers who actually may be more suggestible to his misinformation; while he erroneously asserts gullibility from another group of people, users of homeopathic medicine, who actually are knowledgeable, highly educated, and exert their will and make decisions based on reliable information and can expect predictable outcomes, not even in the same categories as those brought up in his unwitty gambit.

    It is a fact that homeopathic medicine sales are much, much, less than publicized by detractors of homeopathy, as it was presented earlier this year the public FDA hearing on homeopathy, in Washington DC. Homeopathic medicines are not patentable, since they are in the public domain for over one hundred years, they are certainly not money making schemes.

    The profit that homeopathic manufacturers make is, at best, not any higher than conventional, over-the-counter, medicines; with the difference that they only correspond to no more than 5% of the overall market.

    Another insinuation Mr. Mc Donald makes is that homeopathic medicines are a deception. Skeptics of homeopathy assert there is no evidence that homeopathy works, because there is no recognized mechanism of action.

    The fact is that there is evidence of homeopathy’s effectiveness. The evidence has been accumulated by thousands of physicians, well-educated and trained, from around the world, who have treated thousands of patients, throughout 200 years of homeopathy’s existence. The results of their work have been published in thousands of publications.

    Homeopathy has been used to treat different diseases, and not just those that are self-limiting. Homeopathy has been used, successfully, to treat: influenza pneumonia, cholera, yellow fever, scarlet fever, and other chronic conditions often resistant to conventional medicine. Therefore, it is not just a placebo effect, as it has been proven by several high quality studies.

    Anyone interested in seeing that research can visit the websites for the American Institute of Homeopathy, the oldest extant medical society in the United States; the National Center for Homeopathy, a consumer and practitioner organization; and several other organizations currently conducting research in different parts of the world. The fact is that some evidence is more than no evidence, and considering the amount of evidence available, there is a lot of it in favor of homeopathy.

    It is true that the available evidence for homeopathy is not of the highest order, according to modern statistics. But remember, Mark Twain said: “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

    The negative studies touted by skeptics were not performed according to standards: they didn’t follow protocols in collaboration with scientists knowledgeable about homeopathy, and have been shattered by critiques by reliable scientists due to flaws in their processes.

    Besides the scientific side of the debate, users of homeopathy have been proven to be intelligent, educated, and knowledgeable. Many users decide to take homeopathy after learning and researching its premises, history, and results. Among its users are politicians, including a US president, leaders of industry, members of the royalty from various countries, and world famous artists.

    All of these individuals could have chosen any kind of medical treatment; they have the resources and means to do so. They have chosen homeopathy because they have found it to be effective, and not because they have been desperate.

    I believe it is unethical for individuals, who presume to be scientific, to have limited and prejudiced perception, and be unable to consider the data, as it is, and not reject it just because it doesn’t match their world view. It is that position what has limited the advance of science through history.

    It is unethical to withhold probably effective treatment which could help individual people, and a treatment method which could help to the suffering humanity at a time when healthcare is in crisis.

    • The usual straw men, misdirection, logical fallacies and straight lies we expect from quacks.

      Skeptics do not assert there is no evidence because the mechanism is unknown, only the rather stupid homeopath confuses those two. There is no plausible mechanism and there is no evidence, although there are several metastudies that show that homeopathic sugar and water is no different from sugar and water.

      The evidence for homeopathy is of the lowest quality. It consists of studies only fit to be printed in pulp magazines down to claims made in anecdotes.

      Most users of homeopathy have no other access to healthcare or are taken in by the lies told in adverts by homeopaths, just like the one above.

      “I believe it is unethical for individuals, who presume to be scientific, to have limited and prejudiced perception, and be unable to consider the data, as it is, and not reject it just because it doesn’t match their world view. It is that position what has limited the advance of science through history.”
      So why do you do it?. Science has moved on by being open minded and skeptical’ while homeopathy has stayed in the dark ages by denying data that shows they are running a scam.

      And again for the last paragraph, why do homeopaths try to prevent proven effective treatments such as vaccination in favour of their own profits.?

      • Interesting how skeptics are so quick to scream ad hominem the moment they feel on the defensive, but don’t hesitate to hurl epithets like “quacks,” “stupid,” “lies,” and “scam” when they are confronted with the facts. It is clear that you have your own set of “facts” that will never change because you are ideologically opposed to homeopathy, just like the fundamentalist moralist who wrote this article.

        • What facts have you presented? What facts can you present to match Linde et al, Shang et al and now the Australian NHMRC report? BTW, I am talking about real facts, not claims by quacks.

          If you don’t like being labeled as a quack then stop being one, your fact free rhetoric was boring a long time ago, either present evidence of sufficient standard that the conclusion can be honestly that homeopathy works or admit you have none. If it is the latter and you continue to promote sugar and water as a cure for disease then you will be accurately described as a quack.

          • Your scientific logic is impeccable and your certainty is positively dogmatic.

          • And still no reliable evidence, just the rhetoric then. But if you want some rhetoric for a change then read the words of William Budd, a scientist and a doctor.
            ” Of all the forms of quackery, none was so insidious, so miserable and wretched as that form called homeoepathy”

  26. Here is an accurate description of how homeopaths make their magic water.

    A C30 dilution is 30 of these wash/rinse/throwaway cycles.

    When they have finished this nonsense, one drop is taken and placed on one sugar pill in a vial filled with sugar pills. The non existent magical mumbo jumbo is then said to graft onto the other pills. The machine that does this last bit went wrong in Nelson’s a homeopathy producer and one in six vials received nothing, no even the magic water. Nobody noticed.

  27. Well said, Chris. I think if reasonable people knew how peer review really worked, they’d never listen to another anti-science claim again. If only corporate executives were held to the same standards – and consequences – as scientists in academe are. Unfortunately, a lack of evidence is transformed into a weapon by true believers on this and many similar issues of faith. Having once been threatened with death on a thread like this because I simply said that GMOs were morally complicated, I am not surprised at some of the heat in this comments section. Just disappointed.

  28. Scientists From Germany Show That Water Has Memory.
    Research from the Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart in Germany supports the theory that water has memory. It retains an imprint of of what it’s been exposed to. In this short video clip from Oasis HD Channel, it shows experiments with water memory forms.


    • Which would be amazing if correct. So where are the follow up studies confirming this astonishing result?

      The result would overturn all we know of chemistry, physics and biology. So where are the mainstream scientists who have reliably repeated this piece of work? In fact, where is the publication of this piece of work?

      Obviously RR has no idea of science or how it works. This ‘experiment’ consists of drying drops of water with the incredible claim that the patterns found represent the person who dropped it. There is no information about what was in the water, any controls or even how much water was dried in each case. To any real scientist, if pure water left a residue of any substance, the first question would be about the purity of the water. Here, there is nothing but it serves to illustrate the incredibly poor ability of homeopaths to claim this demonstrates memory or any other nonsensical conclusion.

  29. Here’s a question for the homeopaths (and fans) who are tempted to comment, here: I assume you are sincere in your beliefs. You are therefore sincere in wanting to help people, and hence to help people tell GOOD alternative medicine from FRAUDULENT alternative medicine. Because surely not EVERYTHING works? What principles do you suggest, to help consumers tell one set of happy anecdotes (yours) from another set of happy anecdotes (those told by people selling weird stuff that doesn’t really work)? See also my older blog entry on that same question: http://businessethicsblog.com/2009/05/17/i-need-a-homeopath-or-naturopath/

  30. You are a complete idiot… everything about this article is wrong. Homeopathy works for me and millions of others… how sad you must be with your own life..

    • So, the entire scientific community is just wrong? Is it more likely that ALL the physicists and biologists are wrong, or that people who THINK homeopathy works for them are merely subject to one of dozens of well-documented cognitive biases and failures of perception? When something has been thoroughly tested, and when it fails repeatedly, it’s not rational to cling to belief. (p.s. Your assumptions about my life — huh? — are silly and unwarranted and false.)

  31. I guess you need to find the true beginnings of “Modern Medicine.” Oh, you might want to read some of the research regarding “tested” drugs on the market. Or maybe do some research on the effectiveness of exercise treating depression and how it is just as good or better than current anti-depressants. Here is a better idea, try having a thought for yourself instead of following the heard. Sheeple..