Boiron Settles for $12M to Stop Homeopathy Lawsuits

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I have long contended that homeopathy does so well because people do not know what it is. Homeopathy thrives on the esoteric nature of its beliefs: tell customers one thing, but believe something weird within the cult.

Indeed, last week I was at dinner with French friends where the subject of homeopathy came up. (It’s huge in France. The picture is of the local Phamacy window – the big advert is for Boiron’s flu remedy Oscillococcinum.) I explained how Oscillo is made – the repeated dilution of a single duck’s liver 200 times. I explained that this was equivalent to taking the liver and diluting it in a sphere of water 10320 times bigger than the observable universe.

Of course, I was not believed. This is obviously absurd and so cannot be true.

But Oscillo and other Boiron homeopathic remedies are big business making hundreds of millions of dollars per year. In the US though, Boiron has been attracting a large number of class action law suits as it has become known just what is (or is not) in its remedies.

Here is a rather humorous video that has helped raise awareness of the Boiron problem in the US.

So, faced with six consumer class actions, Boiron has now decided to set aside $5 million to refund customers who are not happy with the sugar pills they bought. The suits claimed that Boiron “violated California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws”. They claimed that the products, including Oscillo, Arnicare pain reliever, Chestal cough remedy and Coldcalm cold remedy did not work as claimed. It looks like Boiron had little choice but to settle since these products do not have any active ingredients are are just sugar pills and powders.

These are also expensive powders. During recent winter trips to the US, Oscillo was always displayed alongside conventional cold and flu remedies. It was always the most expensive, costing about $18 for six sachets of sugar.

Importantly, the company says,

The company just decided at the end of the day that consumers need additional information that we’re happy to provide.

What this means is that in future, Boiron will be adding a disclaimer to say that their claims have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and, importantly, an explanation of how their active ingredients have been diluted. This re-labeling is likely to cost Boiron about $7 million.

If this is an honest description of the dilution process, then consumers will no doubt have a similar reaction as my dinner party friends – complete disbelief that anyone would have the cheek to sell this nonsense.

Over the past year, Boiron stock had been trading at over $30. After suits were filed, the price dropped to below $20. This morning, there is a little recovery to about $22.

Just where this leaves Boiron remains to be seen. No doubt they will do the minimum they can get away with in describing the true occult nature of their preparations. We shall see how consumers react.

77 Comments on Boiron Settles for $12M to Stop Homeopathy Lawsuits

  1. Homeopaths have so far done a pretty good job of promoting their product while simultaneously suppressing undisputed factual information about it. It must ultimately be a self defeating process. On the other hand, how many of their customers will really be disappointed to discover just how little wolf’s milk or dog balls their product really contains?

    In any case this is a very welcome development.

    • Wolf’s Milk 🙂 I was just thinking about Dan Aykroyd as a huckster on Saturday Night Live being interviewed by Jane Curtain. The huckster was in charge of the public school lunch program.

      “Mr. Mainway, we took the liberty of sending the milk you have been feeding to the children to our lab, what came back was very alarming…it’s dog’s milk!”

      “Miss Face, lemme tell you about how they milk those dogs, it’s a very interesting process…”


      Unfortunately, homeopathic products are not necessarily as harmless as dog’s milk. One infant teething product was recalled by the FDA because it contained 16 times more of the neurotoxin belladonna also known as deadly nightshade, that is was permitted to have. The FDA found out about it after they received reports of babies with symptoms of belladonna poisoning.

      In addition, the FDA ordered the recall of a zinc based nasal swab homeopathic cold remedy after more than 100 consumers complained of losing their sense of smell.

      • Dan Aykroyd was nominated for/received the “Snuffed Candle Award” a few years ago, due to his endorsement of Crystal Skull Vodka. Was the Bassmaster routine a foreshadowing of this?

    • So size matters? Ignorance as to size and effect is large here!
      How large is a quark? How big is a Bogs particle? A mycoplasma cell is this size : 0.0001 mm-(0.00000 in )in diameter !!! virions are too small to even be seen by an optical microscope, and are one-hundredth the size of a bacterium!
      There are hormones the size of a trillionth of a gram yet effect bodily metabolism !!!
      In effect whatever is believed about the homeopathic process they are simply taking some- not all ingredients- down to the size the body not only makes but utilizes.

      ‘Matter is energy slowed down to the point of visibility per unit of time ;energy is matter speeded up to the point of invisibility per unit of time. BOTH are incontrovertible and interchangeable. ‘

  2. That is a very funny video and the bit at the end with the Sudafed makes an important point. Manufacturers of Homeopathic remedies are not harmless hucksters when they trick people into taking placebos over products that might actually be effective at alleviating their symptoms.

    I am a class action attorney and a skeptic. I spend a large amount of time explaining the purported science of homeopathy to people, who invariably respond with uncontrolled laughter or incredulity. Many people confuse the word homeopathy with the word holistic.

    Unfortunately, the FDA’s lax policy concerning homeopathic remedies (google CPG 400.400) only encourages peddlers of these products to make increasingly outrageous claims. The FDA has taken some action recently, but cites either a national emergency (like the threat of a swine flu epidemic) or the reason that the particular policy falls outside the policy guidelines. The FDA should implement stronger regulations and require these products to meet the substantiation requirements that are required of other over the counter drug products.

  3. If you think homeopathy is the same as dilluting a duck in an extreme large quantity of water, than you have not a clue of what homeopathy is all about. Recently a nano research team in India has discovered that after dilluting and repeatedly shaking a mineral in the same amount of water (C200 potency) they still could find nano particles of the mineral. So, that is why homeopathy does work. If homeopathy did not work is should be impossible that more than 150,000 homeopaths in India have no results. The opposite is the truth. In a recent Swiss study it is concluded that homeopathy has more and better results than regular medicine. Conclusion: the author has a lot of work to do to really get into grips with ducks and a lot more………

    • Yes, I have seen that Indian paper. They state they can still find contaminant particles after serial dilutions. It’s called contamination – not medicine.

      Indian homeopathy is a scandal to be condemned. Not used as a sales tool for your business. And as for the Swiss report – written by homeopaths – what more would you expect?

      • Would it be little surprising that one person influenced the complete report? This is noted:

        After evaluating pre-clinical basic analysis and the high quality clinical research, the Swiss report confirmed that homeopathic high-potencies seem to stimulate regulatory outcomes (e. g., balancing or normalizing effects) and certain changes in cells or living organisms. The report also reported that 20 of the 22 systematic critiques of clinical analysis testing homeopathic medicines found at the very least a tendency in favor of homeopathy.*(Bornhöft, Wolf, von Ammon, et al, 2006).

        Further, it also states:

        The authors of the Swiss government’s review take into consideration that a part of the complete review of analysis included one review of clinical research in homeopathy (Shang, et al, 2005). Nonetheless, the authors listed that this evaluation of investigation has been extensively and severely criticized by both advocates and non-advocates of homeopathy. The Swiss report noted that the Shang team did not even conform to the QUORUM rules which are extensively acknowledged requirements for scientific reporting (Linde, Jonas, 2005). The Shang team initially examined 110 homeopathic clinical trials and then looked for a way to compare them with a matching 110 conventional medical trials. Shang and his team identified that there were 22 “high quality” homeopathic studies but only nine “high quality” conventional medical tests. Rather than examine these high quality trials, the Shang team developed criteria to ignore a majority of high quality homeopathic studies, therefore trumping up support for their initial theory and prejudice that homeopathic medicines may well not be effective (Lüdtke, Rutten, 2008).

        Please comment.

      • Iqbal

        Oh, I will be commenting on the homeopaths’ report – and on why it is not what homeopaths make it out to be, what the review panel made of it and what might happen in five years time.

        But you’ll need to wait for my blog post.

          • “But you’ll need to wait for my blog post.”
            Alan Henness

            And then Andy Lewis writes a blog on the Swiss report.

            Interesting.

          • Avijit = Iqbal?

            I still reckon it’s all just Andy…

            Perhaps even me.

            Maybe a foil hat would help?

            The truth is out there!

          • Avijit

            I’m sorry that you find such things ‘interesting’, but it’s a typical faulty reasoning we see being committed by homeopathists all the time.

            Having problems posting a link to my blog post, but it should be easy to find – just search for “That ‘neutral’ Swiss homeopathy report”

          • “But you’ll need to wait for my blog post.”
            Alan Henness

            And then Andy Lewis writes a blog on the Swiss report.

            Interesting.

            What? Is only one person allowed to write a blog on a given subject? Is this a rule of the Interweb that I had not been told about? Is there an electron and photon shortage that means the web is now being rationed?

            One last question. Avijit, are you an idiot or do you just play one on television?

          • BSM

            “” Is there an electron and photon shortage that means the web is now being rationed?””

            Even if you used some other moniker we all would have reached the present conclusion. Who selected this for you?

            Your neighbors or your teacher?

          • @avilit

            So where is your blog on Swiss report?

            Did you try doing what Alan suggested?

            Having problems posting a link to my blog post, but it should be easy to find – just search for “That ‘neutral’ Swiss homeopathy report”

          • For whatever reason, as Alan has said, this blog isn’t allowing links to be posted at the moment, but here it is;

            http colon slash slash www dot zenosblog dot com slash 2012/05/that-neutral-swiss-homeopathy-report/

            colon = :
            slash = /
            dot = .

            Delete spaces. 

            Avijit, you have made yourself look very silly. A simple apology will be the best thing you can post next.

          • Alan

            You probably need to start with, “Move the cursor. Yes, the little arrow on the screen…”

            At least we know Avijit knows how to turn his computer on. Well, I assume he doesn’t just wait until he finds one left on by someone else.

          • Alan

            So who are you?

            Sven Rudloff and Zeno or Monkey or Mojo?

            If you do not deserve the name your parents gave you why not change once for all times?

            What are you ashamed off?

          • He is Spartacus. And so am I.

            The reason I post under a pseudonym is that, having posted under my real name 10 years ago, I found myself being stalked in the real world by idiot fans of SCAM. There are some very unstable people out there whose definition of themselves is completely tied to their belief in SCAM and they cannot cope with having this challenged. Guess what, Avijit, your obtuse and persistent enquiries into our identities perfectly exemplifies that behaviour.

          • Avijit said:

            Alan

            So who are you?

            Sven Rudloff and Zeno or Monkey or Mojo?

            If you do not deserve the name your parents gave you why not change once for all times?

            What are you ashamed off?

            What on earth is your problem?

            I have posted here with my real name (it is, honest); I’ve pointed you to my blog; and my blog has my name on it too (the same one).

            Not that it is any of your business, of course, what my real name is. Why the obsession? Would you like my address and phone number as well so you can stalk me?

            Anyway, enough of that ludicrous diversion, Avijit, what about this Swiss homeopathy HTA?

      • Your article was on lawsuit provisions. I remember reading an news report that I reproduce below.

        ” In 2008, Dr. Joseph Biderman a renowned child psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, was discovered to have received $1.4 million from drug companies — in return for helping Johnson and Johnson generate and disseminate data that would support the use of an anti-psychotic drug in children. The drug was Risperdal.
        In 2001, Dr Joseph Spinella and four other American doctors pleaded guilty to receiving money in exchange for writing prescriptions for Lupron, which is used to treat prostate cancer. Its manufacturer, Takeda Abbott, paid $875 million to settle.
        In January 2009, Eli Lilly paid $1.4 bn to settle charges that it had persuaded doctors to prescribe a schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug to children and the elderly even though it was known to be risky. The drug was called Zyprexa.
        With many more such cases, the pharmaceutical industry is now being called the biggest defrauder of the US government. A quick analysis of the penalties the industry has paid under the False Claims Act (FCA) reveals that it has overtaken even the defence industry. This is extraordinary because the arms sector had long been at the top of the list of defrauders.
        According to Public Citizen, a watchdog group, the pharma industry paid almost $ 20bn in penalties in the last two decades for violating the False Claims Act. More than half the fines — a whopping $10.5 bn — were paid by just four companies, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Schering-Plough. Incidentally, almost all these companies have a strong presence in India.
        Many remain repeat offenders. Last year, Pfizer was slapped with a $2.3 bn penalty. It was the fourth time it was penalized.
        So why do these drug companies continue down this road? Observers say the enormous fines are a pittance compared to profits. Eli Lilly, for instance, paid a fine of just over one-fourth of its $4 bn annual profits from Zyprexa. Dr Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen says drug companies seem “desperate to maintain their high margins of profit in the face of a dwindling number of important new drugs”.
        This seems standard practice for the pharmaceutical industry. Why isolate Boiron? The big offenders are others.
        Please comment.

      • The classic “why don’t you write about something else” – well, perhaps because Andy wants to write about quacks? (btw: Newspaper articles are copyrighted, you’re not allowed to copy&paste them! What you can do is link to the article.)

        It’s a fact that Boiron lies about its product. Without providing evidence for their claims, they sell magic sugar, saying it helps with the symptoms of flu. It’s also a fact that other pharmaceutical companies have lied about their products, and probably will try to do so again in the future. If you want to read about the doings of “big pharma”, you can find information about them not only all over the internet but also in many news articles. The news articles about “big quacka” however are a lot scarcer, so it makes sense to blog about them. You do agree that lying about the efficacy of your product is wrong and should be stopped, right?

      • I have examined the article on homeopathic ‘trials’ in that book by Bornhöft & Matthiesen. Many of their 29 papers are not even RCTs. If we restrict to double blind placebo controlled RCTs with more than 50 patients, we are left with 2 blatantly fraudulent papers and 9 others, to wit numbers 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 22, 24, 25, 29 in the numbering of the book. Number 6 (Reilly 1986) is very weakly in favor of homeopathy, but all the others are inconclusive. Nonetheless the book claims four of these are favorable for homeopathy. That included number 1 (de Lange 1994) which robustly and very meticulously produced a non-significant result.

        The two fraudulent ones are the two big oscillococcinum papers. The first of these singles out from 14 possible results just the only one that is barely ‘statistical significant’ (p=0.0494 if they had calculated correctly). The second paper can be interpreted as a check on the hypothesis generated by the first paper. The numbers presented say clearly p=0.4, i.e. totally non-significant, but the authors claim that by “Krauth’s test” (?) they get p=0.0028 .

      • I’m vegan are they saying I’ve been taking this arnicare with boiron so I’ve been using ducks live?? Omg I have RA and have been taking so many different pain pills but I would think it should be labled not for people that don’t eat animals.. What are your thoughts if you don’t mind sharing

        • Arnica products are made from the plant Anrnica Montana, not a duck.

          Their Oscillococcinum product is made from the innards of a duck.

          However, any homeopathic product diluted below 12C in unlikely to contain even one single molecule of the original substance – if they have good manufacturing facilities.

          Oscillococcinum is allegedly diluted to 200C – again assuming they have good manufacturing technique, there will be no duck at all in it.

          The fact that they don’t have any active ingredients is why they have no pharmacological effects.

          But of course, Boiron still kill a duck each year, so by buying their Oscillococcinum product perpetuates this unnecessary killing.

      • NO! Le Canard(name fits lol) it was the Swiss government officials not homeopaths. Good example I posted on again; of someone who has not put in the many hours to get a full report and background of a subject. Lazy -lazy Le.
        One must make many contacts and garner in a stable balanced consensus to properly evaluate something. I have spend my whole life in research and these rank amateur posters are the ones spreading falsehoods based on prejudice and rank ignorance to the max! It’s disgusting.

    • Most of those homeopaths are medical doctors too. I have contacted them. They do pre and post med exams such as are done in Western medicine. They tell me they get excellent results; which these skeptics do not carefully research over a length of time(they just want to reread stories or accounts, but not really delve into the subject even contacting MD’s who have practiced for many years. They don’t really check on these things because they are intellectually lazy(it takes a lot of time and a lot of comparisons and thought study, contacting physicians.etc.) and only want to carp, cajole, squeal, cry, whine on a pet peeve. It makes them feel superior and ‘enlightened,’ etc. I know I have debated these ‘deficients’ over the years in depth.

  4. If they can successfully differentiate the original minerals in 2 different C200 potency samples of homeopathic medicines they should have no trouble claiming the JREF million dollar prize.

  5. I agree with Class Act that when you attempt to explain homeopathy you create cognitive dissonance in the listener. I was explaining the increase in potency with successive dilutions to a recent chemistry Ph.D. graduate. It was a real struggle for him to realize the nonsense was genuinely accepted by some people. For Xmas I received a reagent bottle of homeopathic water from him.

    I also find many people conflate homeopathy and herbal medicine.

    • Note that the class action lawsuit(s) Boiron is settling are only in California. To my knowledge there is no other other state with consumer laws quite like these. I believe Boiron can continue marketing in other states with no federal or state restrictions.

      Of course since CA has led other reforms, perhaps this is the fuse. Only time will tell

  6. I’m French and I’ve had a very similar experience. I was at a lunch, explained how homeopathy is made, and everyone was taken aback. So I have to agree with the fact that very few people know what it actually is. It’s sad really.

  7. I wonder if the UK Universities who offered homeopathy BSc and Masters courses will ever face similar action. I guess many of the students were what we might call true believers, and wouldn’t wish to reject homeopathy in the way suing such Universities would require. There must still have been many young people who enrolled on those courses trusting the Universities to teach only true and valuable skills and knowledge. Such students suffered both financial and opportunity losses as a result of that faith and I think they deserve compensation.

  8. I think you’re right; most people don’t really know what homeopathy is; many I talk to confuse it with some sort of formal herbal medicine. “What’s wrong with taking an all natural approach?” is usually the argument I hear…

  9. A class action suit was launched this week in Canada against Boiron AND one of the country’s biggest drugstore chains over Oscillo.

    Details at Skeptic North:

    http://www.skepticnorth.com/2012/04/class-action-lawsuit-filed-against-homeopathy-manufacturer-boiron-and-shoppers-drug-mart/

    The star goalie of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team endorses Oscillo. Athletes are susceptible to the lures of homeopathy so I’m betting he really does use and believe in the stuff.

  10. Thank you for providing information on copy right of newspaper reports.
    What is the classic about “something else”? I understand the process of improvement follows the classic ABC analysis – Pick up the top 3 problems if change is required. Would picking up Boiron from the bottom of the pack be the right way to improve, if All pharmaceutical companies are lying about their products? The summary report from the newspaper shows that Boiron would be nowhere in the top ten.
    I have been reading many blogs on homeopathy-all written by persons who have no connect to the medical world. This makes these articles suspect in origin and content. I believe Boiron is written about here because it falls in the homeopathic category and therefore a liar.

    To write a blog on medicine, should being a doctor not be a pre-requisite? Human body does not behave as a simple engineered chemical machine. A doctor narrated to me about the death of her mother: the pulse was stable, the breathing was ok, blood pressure and heart beat was back to normal and she still died!

    • Umm, NO. Every company that lies about their products should face consequences. If you want to write about other companies go ahead and start a blog – they’re free and you decide what to write on your own blog.

      I have been reading many blogs on homeopathy-all written by persons who have no connect to the medical world.

      How do you know this?

      I believe Boiron is written about here because it falls in the homeopathic category and therefore a liar.

      Yes, this blog post was written because Boiron makes money through the quackery that is called homeopathy.

      To write a blog on medicine, should being a doctor not be a pre-requisite?

      Should a journalist writing about research fraud be a researcher? (If the answer is yes, did you check that the journalist writing the news report you cited is one?) Should being a geologist be the pre-requisit to write about earthquakes? Or should we perhaps judge someone’s writing for the arguments he makes rather than his credentials?

      Human body does not behave as a simple engineered chemical machine.

      I guess what you’re trying to say is that not everyone reacts the same way to the same chemical. If so then yes, you’re right. This is why it is important to conduct controlled studies instead of collecting anecdotes.

      A doctor narrated to me about the death of her mother: the pulse was stable, the breathing was ok, blood pressure and heart beat was back to normal and she still died!

      It’s a well-known fact that we will all die sooner or later. Also, that story, while certainly dramatic for the doctor, is nothing but an anecdote and I hope she wouldn’t base the treatment of her patients on that story.

      • Good to hear from you.

        How do you know this?

        No one writes in as a doctor- the discussion is laws of chemistry and physics: this will not come from a doctor.

        If the answer is yes, did you check that the journalist writing the news report you cited is one?

        This journalist is known. The data was available and put together.

        Should being a geologist be the pre-requisit to write about earthquakes?

        Technical matters are not dependent upon arguments. Technical information on earthquakes has to come from specialists.

        If so then yes, you’re right. This is why it is important to conduct controlled studies instead of collecting anecdotes.

        No. This is not what I meant. Human bodies are not like cars where a battery, or fuel pump or tires can be replaced independent of each other. No two humans are alike as such controlled studies in the long run always give incorrect results.

      • No one writes in as a doctor- the discussion is laws of chemistry and physics: this will not come from a doctor.

        Sorry, this is BS. Not only are all medical doctors required to take chemistry courses, they also have to take pharmacology courses. They do know about chemistry and pharmacology, and competent doctors take chemistry/pharmacology into account. (Also: while I know that you were talking about medical doctors, it’s one of my pet peeves that people think “Dr” means medical doctor. There are countless chemists, physicists, mathematicians, lawyers, … with a PhD. They’re doctors, too.)

        This journalist is known. The data was available and put together.

        Same here – the blogger is known and the data he uses is available.

        Technical matters are not dependent upon arguments.

        Headline: Boiron settles for 12m to stop homeopathy lawsuits. This is easily verifiable, no arguments needed.

        No two humans are alike as such controlled studies in the long run always give incorrect results.

        If this were true (that it is impossible to predict a patient’s reaction to any given drug or intervention) then not only medicine, but also homeopathy and other “alternative” modalities would be in deep trouble. Their anecdotes are stories about individual patients. If no other patient will react the same, that makes anecdotes even less useful than they are now!
        Provings?
        Meridians?

        Useless! No two people are alike!
        Please, use your brain!

  11. There are countless chemists, physicists, mathematicians, lawyers … with a PhD. They’re doctors, too.

    Would a chemist or a physicist know what goes inside a human body if his field is not linked? How can he start writing about medicine? These would be 2 differing specialist areas.

    Headline: Boiron settles for 12m to stop homeopathy lawsuits. This is easily verifiable, no arguments needed.

    This is ok. No arguments.

    But to say that “ Yes, this blog post was written because Boiron makes money through the quackery that is called homeopathy.” What is the basis for such thought being quoted in a blog? Is technical competence available?

    If this were true (that it is impossible to predict a patient’s reaction to any given drug or intervention) then not only medicine, but also homeopathy and other “alternative” modalities would be in deep trouble. Their anecdotes are stories about individual patients. If no other patient will react the same that makes anecdotes even less useful than they are now!

    This is what a doctor (FRCS, MRCP and many such degrees) and teacher writes:

    “ To give a few day-today examples: we are not able to measure our thoughts, our emotions, and many of our actions based on those emotions and thoughts. Do they, then, fall outside the realm of science? Do thoughts exist? Do emotions have any role in human physiology? If the answer is yes, then we need a change of paradigm in science, at least in medical science, where the RCTs (randomized controlled studies) have been sold as the last word in medical research. The truth is that there is everything wrong with this approach. No two human beings could be compared based on a few of their phonotypical features. The results are there for all to see. Most, if not all, RCTs have given unreliable results in the long run.”

    At least for homeopathy, this is positive outcome. For one sickness type, depending upon the individuals, it is required to cure with different remedies because of differing symptoms. This is what is defined as anecdotes?

    • Would a chemist or a physicist know what goes inside a human body if his field is not linked? How can he start writing about medicine? These would be 2 differing specialist areas.

      Well, my argument was that medical doctors do know about physics and chemistry well enough to argue based on that. You completely ignore this and instead focus on a side comment.

      What is the basis for such thought being quoted in a blog? Is technical competence available?

      Huh?

      This is what a doctor (FRCS, MRCP and many such degrees) and teacher writes:
      […]

      So? If one doctor writes it, it’s true? What about the things other doctors and teachers (off the top of my head: D. Colquhoun, E. Ernst, B. Goldacre, D. Gorski) write? You many not be aware of it, but you’re cherrypicking your evidence. “If the answer is ‘yes'” (i.e. if thoughts and emotions influence the outcome of a study), then what we need to do is start recording that in addition to the things we’re already recording, not instead of (which is what homeopaths seem to be doing).

      For one sickness type, depending upon the individuals, it is required to cure with different remedies because of differing symptoms.

      This is what homeopaths claim, but they cannot prove it, so they say it’s because “some things can’t be measured by RCTs”. Well, if it can’t be objectively proven that your treatment works better than placebo, then you cannot claim it does!

      • “If the answer is ‘yes’” (i.e. if thoughts and emotions influence the outcome of a study), then what we need to do is start recording that in addition to the things we’re already recording, not instead of (which is what homeopaths seem to be doing).

        I believe you missed the point the doctor made. If emotions and thougths have a role in human physiology, then you cannot have 2 similar groups to base trials on. On what basis will the control group be matched with trial group? Only their age, weight, nationality, etc? Effect of mind is not included?

        “No two human beings could be compared based on a few of their phonotypical features. The results are there for all to see. Most, if not all, RCTs have given unreliable results in the long run.”

        The final statement is totally valid, and therefore his contention.

        What do the other doctors say to this?

        • The doctor didn’t make a point, he offered a hypothesis. To see if it is a valid one, you’d have to do a study, not just claim it’s valid.

          I trust your google skills to find out what other doctors have to say about scientific studies in general and homeopathy in particular.

  12. “If this were true (that it is impossible to predict a patient’s reaction to any given drug or intervention) then not only medicine, but also homeopathy and other “alternative” modalities would be in deep trouble”

    Iqbal, 

    You need to read Vcky’s paragraph again. You seem not to have understood it at all. For you to argue against it, the Universe would have to be utterly random noise. Atoms would not even hold together well enough for there to be such a thing as an Iqbal stabbing his fingers at a computer keyboard. 

    Can I suggest that before you attempt any other posts, you show specifically that you have understood what Vicky said?

    • I read the paragraph. It is an assumption made that is not relevant here.

      In homeopathy, the remedy is listed with all symptoms noted in all respondents. “The common symptoms are highlighted and a remedy picture is created”. The sample variable is automatically accounted for. The picture is the sum total of many anecdotes!!!!

      You may see this in a homeopathic materia medica.

  13. When you see the turnover and profits of Boiron, $12 million is peanuts for them (homeopathic peanuts?) it is also a good demonstration of how well homeopathy is doing. So many millions of users worldwide; can they be all wrong?

  14. 1. It’s funny, Lewis asserts (without proof) that the study of nanoparticles is “pollution” gives a damn about the study (as Harriet Hall).

    2. Other comments are based on the criticism of the Swiss report and say that several of his studies were inconclusive, but they say nothing of informde of the House of Commons (The Evidence Check 2), or a miserable criticism of that report (which was also not done by the government itself but by Sense About Sense and some skeptics). Nor do they say nothing to the study of Shang is completely invalid, biased and flawed. Conform to “analyze” the studies are inconclusive. But if you surprise? the report of the House of Commons was never fully scientific discussion, but advocated the interests of the skeptics.

    3. Stranger still is to cite only a few cases of damage caused homeopathy taken from Whats the harm? that mixes a lot of things with others. That is their “evidence” are merely anecdotes like Gloria. Samples for damages are much lower, just enough to see Whats the harm (corrupt arm of the Cfi) says:

    “Here are 437 people Were Harmed by someone who not Critically thinking.”

    So died they did not think critically? What a stupid, leave out any other explanation to promote their books:

    http://whatstheharm.net/store.html

    In addition 437 people? not a significant sample taking into account that such cases are in newspapers, full of much speculation, media distortion and sensationalism skeptical.

    4.Respect demand to Boiron, perfect for consumers to do so. At least the company is responding to demands. Although it is somewhat curious to note that seems to be popular demand for homeopathy:

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/newsroom/science_advocacy_group_to_wage_court_battles_with_homeopathic_hucksters_in_/http://www.centerforinquiry.net/newsroom/science_advocacy_group_to_wage_court_battles_with_homeopathic_hucksters_in_/

    Without neglecting his glorious organization is part of the SAS, and also support you for any claim against homeopathy (and not only that), but do not support any other lawsuit against any other service.

  15. The issue here is not how the product works. The issue is that it was not labled properly for California law, which states that “natural” products must be labled with a disclaimer that the FDA has not evaluated the claims made about use or effectiveness. BTW: there are millions of products in America that are labled deceptively, and do not work. It’s about profit being eaten into, not about efficacy. Big Pharma is behind this law suit against Boiron. If you look at the number of class action suits against Big Pharma drugs, and the actual harm — not lack of efficacy, but actual harm — these products caused, you’ll see why Big Pharma is is worried about the competition. The average American would not buy a Homeopathic product in the first place, and those Americans who tend to buy them would not engage in law suits like this.

  16. My husband had Trigeminal Neuralgia for 6 months. This is a terribly painful condition. Totally debilitating. The conventional medicnes did not help at all – instead they had bad side effects. Somebody recommended Spigelia 6C- a Homeopathic remedy. He was so desperate he would have taken arsenic if anyone had suggested it. He took one dose of the Spigelia 6C and that was it – in an hour the pain left. I contacted an MD who is also a homeopath and asked if this is possible..He said “definietly”.He also suggested that the condition would probably re-occur in a month or two. He said to keep ready Spigelia 30 C instead of what I still had and to give it to him if the pain came back. It took four months to come back and one dose cured it again and he never had the paint again. We were absolutely amazed and delighted. So now in my old age I have trouble with my feet. Exostoses – look it up – caused a lot of pain and dificulty in walking. The orthopedic doctors all recommend surgery. I went to an MD/Homeopath and he gave me some homeopathic meds and I have been walking around almost pain free for the last three years – no op necessary. I have come to the conclusion that homeopathy is not at all harmful and can do wonders, but not every one reacts the same way to different substances – just as I have a friend who is highly allergic to aspirin and I have no bad. reaction to it. Homeopathy is at least worth trying. I think it is also safer than most medicines. I know someone who every year takes homeopathic meds instead of the Flu shot- which once gave her a bad dose of the Flu! – and she has never had the flu since she started taking these homeopathic little globules..

    • Homeopathy should be safer than most medicines as it doesn’t contain any active ingredients. Short of drowning in it or being swept away by a wave of it, I can’t see a whole lot of danger in homeopathic remedies – unless of course you took them expecting them to treat your condition. So if you had pneumonia, taking homeopathic remedies may well kill you

  17. If it’s non-toxic who cares? Homeopathy has worked for me, not every time I’ve taken it but it does work most of the time. It’s inexpensive, can be bought without a doctors visit and a prescription. It makes sense to try it, if it doesn’t work for you try something more mainstream. Nothing is ever guaranteed anyway. The active ingredient is the imprinted energy of the plant. Considering we are made of energy this isn’t far fetched.

    • Ann – congratulations on being so wrong, so often in so few words. Every sentence contains at least one canard, error or nonsense claim.

      Seeing as it is Sunday I can perhaps take the time to point out the errors. Let’s see how far I get…

      1) “If it’s non-toxic who cares?”
      If you are ill you might care and are taking ineffective medicine. Being misled into thinking it works could cause you pain and suffering.

      2) “Homeopathy has worked for me, not every time I’ve taken it but it does work most of the time.”
      Homeopathy cannot be both a nonsense and ‘works for me’. Truth is something that is not dependent on your beliefs. Why you might think it works is bacuse of the post hoc fallacy. That is, you attrubute success to a treatment whenever your subjective experience of your illness improves. It does not mean that one was the cause of the other. Conformation bias happens when you discount your failures. Failure to take the post hoc issue seriously is what differentates people who believe in quack medicine and those that do not.

      3) “It’s inexpensive, can be bought without a doctors visit and a prescription.”
      Homeopathy is a very expensive form of sugar. It is only inexpensive if it works.

      4) “It makes sense to try it, if it doesn’t work for you try something more mainstream. ”
      The words of someone not really seriously ill. People who depend on medical treatments do not have the luxury of ‘try and see’.

      5) “The active ingredient is the imprinted energy of the plant. Considering we are made of energy this isn’t far fetched.”
      The words of someone who has absolutely no understanding of physics. The fact that physics can use the concept of energy to help describe the physical world does not give free reigm to people who want to use the word ‘energy’ to describe whatever bullshit they dream up. Homeopathic remedies do not contain ‘imprinted energy’. These are meaningless words. You might well have said they contain ‘magical invisible unicorns’. It would make ss much sense.

  18. Homeopathy has helped me in so many ways that it would take too long to detail them all. While still in So Cal many years ago I took a class from two holistic doctors, primarily due to the ongoing respiratory illness that my cat had. Long term meds from the vets were worrisome and I had heard so many good reports that it warranted some investigation. Currently I treat my cat with homeopathy with far better results than the damaging western meds the vets resort to.
    My doctor at UCSD promoted the concept that alternative medicine is essential and people should do whatever works for them. That was enormously refreshing, to say the least. That was in CA, not so much in the Midwest where there are very conservative practices and people are much slower to adapt to things they don’t understand.
    One of our international associates living in Switzerland absolutely swore by Oscillo so I decided to try that myself. Over time, I’ve had several instances where the flu was knocked down in 24 hours using that remedy. Most recently I resorted to a western otc med and was miserable for two days until I could get to Target to buy Oscillo. Within 24 hours I was feeling far better and able to go back to work, not having to be off a week or two with otc meds. I also start taking it a day prior to flying out to vacation destinations and no longer suffer from being in a toxic airline cabin with coughing and sneezing passengers.
    When it comes to stomach issues and no relief from Imodium ID, the homeopathic cures it extremely fast. Homeopathics are now so mainstream that you can buy them for a nominal fee at Whole Foods, Target etc.
    Homeopathy has a long history in Europe and true to form, the US continues to follow several steps behind. See link: http://www.naturalnews.com/031556_homeopathy_King.html

    • Wow. Just wow. A link to a Dana Ullman post in Natural News. I can’t stop laughing.

      Research how the placebo effect works in animals and their human owners. your cat just enjoys the magic pills.

      “Most recently I resorted to a western otc med and was miserable for two days until I could get to Target to buy Oscillo. Within 24 hours I was feeling far better and able to go back to work …”

      And if you hadn’t gone to Target and bought your magic sugar/duck liver pills you also would have been better within 24 hours. with an extra $15 in your pocket.

      And fer chrissakes please stop with the racist and irrevelant “Western” medicine nonsense. For one thing, Hahnemann was German. He dreamt up homeoquackery in Germany. What isn’t “western” about that?

  19. Please excuse typos/lack of caps in my post above. And the word is “irrelevant”–I know.

    I was just laughing so hard at Lee’s expectations that we take anything from Dana Ullman and Natural News seriously, I hit “Post Comment” before adequately proofreading.

  20. Well, i stumbled on this blog while browsing for more information about my new found love which is homeopathy. After reading most of the negative comment about homeopathy here I felt I should add my own bit in support of the practice, I am a Pharmacist by profession. My dad had what is called urethral stricture and the doctors said he would need to be operated. Personally i dont like surgery. I just believe that there must be an alternative somehow in form of a drug that will remove the stricture. So, I started searching the internet. Then I came across people saying they cured their stricture by taking the homeopathic remedy called thiosinaminum and silicea. I am from Nigeria and homeopathy is not practiced in my country. Eventually I was able to purchase the remedy from amazon in january this year 2016. My dad started taking the two remedies and after three days, scar tissue causing the stricture was dissolved and the urethra stricture disappeared, now he can urinate normally without a catheter. Do I need anybody to tell me homeopathy doent work?

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