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.

69 comments for “Boiron Settles for $12M to Stop Homeopathy Lawsuits

  1. March 9, 2012 at 1:04 am

    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.

    • Class Act
      March 9, 2012 at 6:24 am

      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.

      • David Parker
        March 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

        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?

  2. Class Act
    March 9, 2012 at 6:07 am

    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. VanDerMey
    March 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    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………

    • Le Canard Noir
      March 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      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?

      • A
        March 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

        Yes, Pfizer:

        http://www.law360.com/articles/323499/pfizer-urges-jpml-to-combine-zoloft-cases-in-ny

        Comparattive whit Bioron, Pfizer obtain more demands.

      • Iqbal
        April 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

        What was the names of the homeopaths in the Swiss report?

      • April 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm

        Iqbal

        The editors of the biased report were Gudrun Bornhöft and Peter F. Matthiessen, but different sections were written by many different authors.

      • Iqbal
        April 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

        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.

      • April 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

        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.

        • Avijit
          July 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

          Alan Henness

          The other name for Andy Lewis is Alan Henness?

          • Mojo
            July 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

            What makes you think that?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

            I am Spartacus.

          • Avijit
            July 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

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

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

            Interesting.

          • Will
            July 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

            Avijit = Iqbal?

            I still reckon it’s all just Andy…

            Perhaps even me.

            Maybe a foil hat would help?

            The truth is out there!

          • Mojo
            July 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

            @Avijit

            This may come as a surprise to you, but there is more than one blog in the world, and posts on the same subject can be made on more than one blog.

            Presumably you think that Alan Henness is also Steven Novella and the alliance for Natural Health.

          • July 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

            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”

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

            “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?

        • Avijit
          July 13, 2012 at 1:42 am

          Alan Henness

          So where is your blog on Swiss report?

          • Avijit
            July 13, 2012 at 1:51 am

            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?

          • Mojo
            July 13, 2012 at 5:07 am

            @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”

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 13, 2012 at 6:50 am

            I did what Alan suggested. Top hit links to the blog.

            Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 13, 2012 at 6:55 am

            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.

          • July 13, 2012 at 10:19 am

            Avijit said:

            “Alan Henness

            So where is your blog on Swiss report?”

            Where I left it and where I told you you could find it.

            But let me try yet again to post a link in case you are unable to follow the earlier instructions:

            http://www.zenosblog.com/2012/05/that-neutral-swiss-homeopathy-report/

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

            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.

          • Avijit
            July 14, 2012 at 5:43 am

            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?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

            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.

          • Alan Henness
            July 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

            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?

          • Alan Henness
            July 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

            Avijit

            Have you read my blog post you were so eager to find out about?

      • Iqbal
        April 21, 2012 at 6:10 am

        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.

      • Vicky
        April 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm

        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?

      • Jan Willem Nienhuys
        April 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        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 .

  4. Blondin
    March 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    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. JimR
    March 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    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.

    • JimR
      March 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      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. Victor
    March 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    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. Matt
    March 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

    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. March 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    From Australia:

    HOMEOPATHS are facing a fight to defend their practice in Australia after the National Health and Medical Research Council flagged it might declare their work baseless and unethical.
    http://bit.ly/wXLUZK

  9. March 23, 2012 at 4:30 am

    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…

  10. Marc Stephens Is Insane
    April 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

    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.

  11. Iqbal
    April 22, 2012 at 5:17 am

    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!

    • Vicky
      April 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      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.

      • Iqbal
        April 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

        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.

      • Vicky
        April 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        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!

  12. Iqbal
    April 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    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?

    • Vicky
      April 28, 2012 at 11:55 am

      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!

      • Iqbal
        May 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

        “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?

        • Vicky
          May 1, 2012 at 10:52 am

          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.

  13. Badly Shaved Monkey
    April 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

    “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?

    • Iqbal
      May 1, 2012 at 10:43 am

      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.

  14. Ademo
    April 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    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?

    • Vicky
      April 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Yes, they can.

  15. Magufo
    May 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    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.

  16. voice of reason
    June 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    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.

  17. Mike
    September 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Refund 12m ? wow were was I to get a piece of the pie.

    http://bestconvertibletoprepair.tumblr.com/

  18. February 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

    It looks like this class action against Boiron in Canada is still ongoing:

    http://www.clg.org/Class-Action/List-of-Class-Actions/Oscillo-Boiron-Homeopathy-National-Class-Action

  19. July 12, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    This is all mambo jumbo, go back to the American history and read about the principals of Homeopathy before AMA and pharmaceutical cartel brain washed 90% of Western population.
    I guess many of you don’t have anything productive to do.

  20. Lammie
    October 26, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    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..

    • DrD
      October 27, 2014 at 5:31 am

      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

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