Prince Charles is being labeled a quack in today’s news
. And not a moment too soon. The BBC report
that “Prince Charles has been accused of exploiting the public in times of hardship by launching what a leading scientist calls a “dodgy” detox mix.”
Dodgy Originals, as now they will become known, is selling three herbal tinctures. Two of them, echinachea and hypericum, are the first herbal preparations to be licensed
by the MHRA under the new traditional herbal medicines scheme. This is a highly controversial scheme that means that the MHRA has abdicated its responsibility to license medicine that has proven efficacy.
Under this scheme, all you have to do to seek official approval to sell a herbal remedy is to show that it has been used ‘traditionally’ within the EU. Traditional, in this case, could be as little as fifteen years use – so, if a herbal product was being sold and making claims about the same time as Wet Wet Wet were singing ‘Love is all around’ then that will do for the regulator who is tasked with protecting the public from dodgy quacks. One would have thought that ‘Traditional’ had more to do with Morris Dancers, blood letting and leaches than Blur and Oasis.
On top of this, we know that Prince Charles has written lots of letters
to the MHRA and meetings have been held at Clarence house before these new directives came in. We are not allowed to know the contents of those letters, but the place is beginning to smell of rodents.
Despite not having to show any evidence for efficacy, The Prince and his chums have been making claims that they do. His quack lobby group
, the Foundation for Integrated Health say, “Licensed herbal medicines are required to demonstrate safety, quality and efficacy
and be accompanied by the necessary information for safe usage.”
The MHRA have had to already stamp on Duchy Originals for making claims. Apparently, they have slapped the wrists
of Dodgy Originals and Nelsons (the homeopathic fake pill manufacturers who bottle the herbal guff for the Prince) already,
A member of the public complained to the MHRA about the advertising of Duchy
Herbals Echina-Relief Tincture and Duchy Herbals Hyperi-Lift Tincture which
appeared on the Duchy Originals website from 24 January 2009. The complainant
alleged that the advertising suggested that the products had been assessed for
efficacy and was therefore misleading. The MHRA upheld the complaint.
Nelsons, the registration holder, on behalf of Duchy Originals agreed that they
would amend their advertising and remove claims of efficacy from their website
and all future advertising. Following delays in implementing the changes,
Nelsons provided additional training to Duchy Originals staff on the legislative
Duchy Originals strike back at the reports that they are cheap mountebanks and quacks
Andrew Baker, the head of Duchy Originals, said the tincture “is not – and has
never been described as – a medicine, remedy or cure for any disease.
Well, this looks to me to be rather misleading. I sign up for all sorts of email news from quack companies. On the day the tinctures were launched, I got an email advert from Duchy proclaiming:
Happy New Year!
The festivities are over and January has got off to a crisp and frosty start. If you haven’t managed to escape the winter sniffles, look no further than our new Echina-Relief Tincture, which offers natural relief from cold and flu symptoms.
This week were celebrating the launch of our brand new Herbal Tinctures range. Our Echinacea, Hypericum and Detox Tinctures provide alternative and natural ways of treating common ailments such as colds, low moods and digestive discomfort. Find them exclusively in Boots and, from February, in Waitrose.
Does this look like they are making no claims for their tinctures to be “a medicine, remedy or cure for any disease”?
That advert is now in the hands of the Advertising Standards Authority who are asking Dodgy Originals to substantiate their claims. I will keep you informed.
The situation appears to be quite remarkable. Not only has Prince Charles set up Ofquack, the new laughable ‘regulator’ for alternative medicine, appears to have lobbied the MHRA during a critical period of policy change, but is also now hawking dodgy quack products.
Voltaire once said, “Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing”. Medicine, may have moved on a little since the 18th Century. Our ruling masters appear not to have moved an inch.