Dr* T on his Thinking is Dangerous blog reports that Helios appear to have stopped selling their Malaria nosodes for the homeopathic prevention of Malaria. This is good news. A quick check also reveals that Ainsworths also appear to have stopped selling it too.
Is this the end of this dispicable practice in the UK? It is difficult to know, although it will make it much more difficult for casual buyers to get hold of this murderous nonsense. It is not difficult to find discussion boards where travellers are discussing the nasty side effects of real anti-malaria drugs. Some will say that they hate the side effects so much that they have taken homeopathic versions. They do not want to be unprotected. But this is a very real form of Russian Roulette. I would argue that taking homeopathic pills is worse than taking nothing at all. At least if you know you are unprotected, you will be ultra vigilant in your anti-bite measures. Feeling protected by sugar pills may lead you to dropping your guard a little – BANG. You are dead.
So, have these companies stopped selling these products? It is difficult to know. We cannot trust what homeopaths say. We know that the Society of Homeopaths cautioned their members about giving out advice to strangers – for fear of getting caught in ‘stings’- not to stop the practice. If you actual visit a homeopath to get malaria pills, they may well be suspicious, but that is all. Time will tell. Remember, the only difference between a malaria homeopathy pill and any other is what is written on the label. All pills are identical. Some homeopaths even have magic boxes where they ‘manufacture’ their own remedies electronically. Having Helios and Ainsworths stop advertising does not protect the public.
And it is not just the odd lay homeopath. Large companies like Neal’s Yard Remedies were involved in this mad trade. Neal’s Yard have withdrawn their supply of the tablets, but still sell books telling you that you can protect yourself from dangerous tropical diseases with their magic fairy pills.
Only when bodies like the Society of Homeopaths explicitly and unambiguously tell their members not to do this will the trade end. But they will not. They know that setting this precedent will be the end of them.
Their web site is full of ‘non denial denials‘. They are dog whisltles. Their target for these messages are their own society members, not the public. They tell us that treating malaria is a ‘speculative theory’. But of course, all homeopathy is as such (if you were being kind). The evidence base for preventing malaria is the same for any other treatment – absolutely nothing. And all based on the same nonsensical magical thinking. They know this. Their members know this. Their members can be reassured that the Society will do nothing to stamp out their deluded and dangerous practices.
One would hope that the end of direct sales would be the end of the story. But I bet it is not.