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Homeopathy: pharmacists dispense with professional guidance

Homeopathy remedy

As soon as you talk about homeopathy, it divides opinion. But the debate raises wider issues when some pharmacists fail to explain there’s no clinical evidence that certain alternative remedies work, like homeopathy.

There are people who swear by homeopathic remedies, and everyone’s entitled to their opinion. However, if you ask your pharmacist whether a homeopathic remedy works you’d expect their response to be based on scientific evidence. This is the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) official advice:

‘The pharmacist should advise on the lack of evidence on the efficacy of homeopathic products… and provide advice relevant to the patient’s condition.’

Some pharmacists say homeopathy works

However, in our snapshot investigation, 13 out of the 20 pharmacies our trained mystery shoppers visited failed to follow this guidance. For example, one pharmacist said that homeopathy does work and another said it’s very good and will help. The RPS does not endorse homeopathy as a form of treatment. And even though membership of the RPS is voluntary, our expert panel was clear that any pharmacist who recommends a homeopathic remedy should make it clear it’s their personal opinion.

On visits rated satisfactory and good by our expert panel, pharmacists were very clear about the lack of evidence. One said, ‘it’s all anecdotal, you know, it’s homeopathy, so there’s no science behind it.’

Separate personal experiences from professional advice

There was also no excuse for pharmacists who did not give the correct advice when asked about homeopathic treatment for a cough that had lasted over a month. 17 of them failed to spot this potentially serious undiagnosed condition – only three advised us to see a GP when asked for a homeopathic remedy for this cough. And our visits actually took place during a nationwide NHS campaign urging people to see their GP if they’d had a cough for more than three weeks.

We have to be able to rely on pharmacists to give us clarity over what we buy. It may be difficult if they have personally had positive experiences with homeopathic treatment. But they need to clearly separate the anecdotal, and their own views, from the evidence base. That surely has to be the hallmark of professionalism.

Should pharmacists only recommend remedies backed by scientific evidence?

Yes - pharmacists should only recommend remedies backed by science (68%, 715 Votes)

Maybe - as long as pharmacists make clear it's just their personal opinion (17%, 179 Votes)

No - pharmacists should be free to recommend any remedy, including homeopathy (15%, 158 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,052

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If homeopathy is based on bogus science then it is strange that the Royal Family have endorsed it since the 19th century, and they do this of course because it doesn’t work or is ineffective? (not placebo). Are pharmacists qualified to comment on a subject that they are in total ignorance of? Hardly. So why ask a pharmacist about homeopathy when they have had little to no training on this?………………………….http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/scienceofhomeopathy.pdf
Dr Bob Leckridge, president of the Faculty of Homeopathy – the body for doctors, vets, nurses and other health professionals – said: ‘This latest research builds on existing evidence that homeopathy works, something that hundreds of doctors and their patients have known for 200 years.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4040/Homeopathy-works.html

Pharmacists of course are advocates of evidence based medicine, alongside their medical and nursing colleagues, and are battling to reduce the harms of medicines and supposedly maximize their benefits: a view of Pharmacy generally, so we should ask ourselves why prescription drugs, taken as prescribed in hospitals, are the fourth leading cause of death in the US and Canada, after cancer, heart disease and strokes. They cause about 10,000 deaths a year in Canada and about 106,000 deaths a year, and over two million serious injuries in the US. As many as another 10,000 deaths a year in Canada are thought to occur outside hospitals due to the wrong drug, dosage errors and adverse reactions. One out of four admissions to internal medicine in Canadian hospitals is related to prescription drugs, of which 70% are preventable. Canadians now spend more on prescription drugs ($24 billion) than we do on doctors ($18 billion).
Best to adhere to the much safer and equally as effective Homeopathy.

Paulj says:
24 May 2013

While the writer has a valid point about the dangers of some prescription drugs, this isn’t an argument for an alternative such has homeopathy that has dubious, highly questionable evidence. We should be encouraging the publication of all clinical trials (including the negative ones) – Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Pharma makes a strong case for this – plus reporting of adverse effects. I reported an adverse raction to a drug to my Gp several years ago and he wasn’t interested. A couple of years later that drug was withdrawn (http://www.cmaj.ca/content/169/11/1187.full )

Lets improve evidence-based medicine rather than flee to non-scientific medicines

Phil says:
24 May 2013

Three false arguments in one post. Not bad going but the sort of stuff I see from conspiracy theorists every day. Typically the last one cherry picks the bad stuff about prescription drugs and doesn’t tell the full story. Accepting that 106,000 Americans do die every year from prescription drugs this is out of a total over 4 billion prescriptions, roughly 0.003% by my reckoning, and one has to ask how many of those 4 billion result in a positive outcome.

Whatever else the royal family has going for it intellectual excellence in the field of medicine, or any other field come to that, does not feature large so their support of homeopathy is irrelevant.

Do you think talking to plants is based on good science?

The Royal Family largely endorse Homeopathy because it actually works and is effective, and their endorsement of this can act as a role model for others, or perhaps they use Homeopathy because it is just hocus-pocus and not based on “science”? (whatever that actually means).
In comparison to pharmaceuticals, and the mortality rate of using them, perhaps we should consider the “dangers” of using Homeopathy, which of course are negligible.
Of course to claim that Homeopathy is based on “placebo” is a non-scientific comment: Research evidence – positive clinical trials……………
In 1997, The Lancet published a thorough meta-analysis which showed that, of 89 clinical trials, 44 reported homeopathy to be significantly more effective than placebo; none of the 89 trials found placebo to be more effective than homeopathy.
Clinical effectiveness of homeopathy: the evidence from published research………………………..

Do I think talking to plants is based on good science?
Probably, because you get more sense from plants than some humans.

Yes, a plant certainly does make more sense than the average homeopath! How about this gem from a leaflet supposedly rebutting skeptic arguments:

“When you hold something in your hand and let it go, what happens next depends on lots of factors but the theory of gravity can explain why a helium balloon goes up, a ball-bearing goes down, and a feather may do either. If there is no certainty in the explanation of what happens after a treatment, it is because there is not a scientific theory to explain it, so anyone using this argument is actually admitting that they do not have a scientific theory of medicine.”

Apparently this is what passes for rational argument among homeopaths!

This is the “reasoning” by which Gary Null promotes his “death by medicine” twaddle.

If you’re hit by a car and die in A&E, you are a victim of medicine, according to these people. They are incapable of nuanced argument, the fact that the balance is firmly in favour of any particular treatment in terms of life years gained is simply waved away.

And they assert that your “health freedom” is being suppressed by “big pharma”, while behaving exactly as big pharma might be expected to if there were no regulation (and if it was run by people with no conscience).

Funny old world.

Just because you do not understand a mechanism Guy, does not negate its effectiveness, and why would anyone, who is not certain of an explanation of what happens after a treatment, need to know the “theory” of why it works, just so long as it DOES work. The Internet is a global phenomenon, but does the average user actually know how broadband fiber optics work, as long as it does?
It is the role of science to determine the “hows” and the “whys” and not just disregard the evidence because it does not fit into a particular narrow-minded methodology.

The Clinical effectiveness of homeopathy: the evidence from published research………………………..

I understand the mechanism quite well. Placebo effects, cognitive bias, the natural course of disease. Homeopaths pretend its something else but there’s no credible evidence to support their claim.

There is no “clinical effectiveness”. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/45.pdf

Guy, you have completely misunderstood Gary Nulls reasoning behind his “death by medicine” report, along with Dr Carolyn Dean MD, ND and Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD, where they speak of Iatrogenic deaths and the failure of the American medical system generally………..

Indeed, health freedom is being eroded by Big Pharma, and their regulation is all but that in name only; you only have to do some rudimentary research to realize this.

Please read this as well…………..


“Health freedom” is a lobby by quacks to evade evidence and scrutiny. No “health freedom” advocate would accept a level playing field for all treatments.

A treatment is alternative only because it cannot be shown to work, or more likely ti can be shown with good confidence not to (as with homeopathy). If it can be proven to work, it is no longer alternative, it is medicine.

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@magufo So you say. In reality, just about every (genuine) skeptic or scientist i the world dismisses homeopathy out of hand, because homeopathy has provided precisely zero credible evidence to back its claims.

So your ad-hominem argument is just hot air.

ReallyGoodMedicine says:
25 May 2013

There are vast volumes of clinical evidence supporting homeopathy. That clinical evidence spans 200 years of use in hundreds of millions of people around the world. Homeopathy is famous for its cures of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, diseases considered incurable by con med.

A very tiny portion of that evidence can be seen by googling “homeopathy cured cases”.

These links provide evidence of cures of brain tumors and other cancers with homeopathy alone:

[broken URLs removed by Moderator]

Also see:


There are 200 studies published in 102 respected, national and international journals such as BMJ, Lancet, Rheumatology, Pediatrics, Pediatrie, Cancer, Archives of Emergency Medicine and International Journal of Oncology showing that homeopathy has biological effects and produces significant to substantial health benefits.

Some of them can be seen at:

[broken URL removed by Moderator]

Examples of studies showing homeopathy to be superior to con med:

fibromyalgia: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19358959

diseases of major organs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14960096 — 52% of the homeopathic patients were able to reduce their use of con med and lower their costs; 89% of those patients said homeopathy improved their conditions; 55% of con med patients said it worsened their conditions; 32% of con med patients reported no change; 13% felt they had improvement.

@ReallyGoodMedicine: Close. There are vast volumes of poor quality work that starts from the assumption that homeopathy works and from there – amazingly! – show that homeopathy works, using the simple but necessary trick of not even trying to see if the result is consistent with the null hypothesis.

There is also some good quality research in systematic reviews and even systematic reviews of systematic reviews, which shows no effect beyond placebo. This result, unlike the one you prefer, is consistent with all other branches of science.

The studies you cite are a good argument for psychological approaches to management of chronic disease, they are not a good argument for pretending that sugar pills are medicine.

The Hevo says:
27 May 2013

The Royal Family endorse it? Wow, where do I sign??? I think they also endorse having access to the best and most expensive clinicians and cuttting-edge medicine that the Western world has to offer too. So please sign me up for that as well.

The opinions of members of the Royal Family or others have absolutely nothing to say about the efficacy of homeopathy. It’s a mark of the lack of positive (properly conducted) trial data that people have to resort to such dismal arguments to “prove” it works.


I think one of the bugbears I have is that “proper” medicine has quite a few incidents of we know we are right and then in the fullness of time we find that in fact the medical fraternity are quite quite wrong. All I wish for is a little less hubris.

Currently we have the medical profession backtracking on exposure to sunshine. To be fair a lot of doctors at the time were aghast at us importing Australian measures for their Spanish latitude climate to our foggy isle.

The cause and treatment of gastric ulcers is another example of medicine gone wrong in a very major way. That a cure was in use 30+ years before Western medicine decided it was wrong indicates that medicine is actually an evolving area and very few things are certain.

Homeopathy is manifest proof of the placebo effect in action. And every doctor knows the power, and uses, the placebo effect.

This does not mean I am surprised that the pharmacists do not give advice on a month long cough. Perhaps Which? might say how the expert shoppers managed to look the part of someone who was suffering a month long attack of coughing. ? Perhaps to the pharmacist the character facing them seemed pretty fit . However given the lack of pressure on G.P.’s and hospitals it is perhaps best to play safe and send everyone in even if they look healthy.

I am curious as generally when I have been investigating rival establishment and services in the same industry it is very very hard to appear to be something you are not. Must be even trickier when faking an illness.

” We have to be able to rely on pharmacists to give us clarity over what we buy. It may be difficult if they have personally had positive experiences with homeopathic treatment. But they need to clearly separate the anecdotal, and their own views, from the evidence base. That surely has to be the hallmark of professionalism.” So lets talk about sunshine protection for children and adults in the UK and the growth of rickets etc ………. evidence based medicine indeed. : )

Problems with medicine validate homeopathy in precisely the same way plane crashes validate flying carpets.

Gastric ulcers is an important example. Medicine thought they were due to stress, which was entirely down to tradition, not science; science found they were due to helicobacter pylori and within a few years surgery for gastric ulcers had virtually vanishes, antibiotics had become the standard of care, and many lives were saved.

That’s a great example of science correcting for errors.

Homeopathy is based on tradition, rooted in the doctrines laid down by its inventor. It has no mechanism for the correction of errors. Disputes over whether imponderables are valid or not can’t be objectively resolved, because nothing about homeopathy is objectively verifiable, so the dispute led to schism. This is just one of the many things showing homeopathy to be a religion in every meaningful sense.

@magufo: Yes, I am an engineer, a scientifically literate graduate, I have a personal interest in the cognitive errors that lead people to believe in nonsense such as homeopathy. Your comment fails to address this in any meaningful sense, since my views are entirely in line with the scientific consensus.

Your attack on Randi is also a gratuitous ad hominem. Benveniste’s result was fraudulent, as his assistant admitted.

Homeopathy is every bit as controversial as fairies and unicorns. Science is done with it: until homeopaths come up with an even vaguely plausible mechanism it is not worth wasting any further effort.

Ned says:
24 May 2013

Yes, scientific medicine evolves to take account of new evidence. You can’t do that without changing your advice.

By contrast, homeopathy is rigidly based on the unsubstantiated theories of a 19th century crackpot. But it makes a lot of money for pharmicists with little risk of them being sued for actually harming patients, (as long as they don’t advise people agianst going to a doctor for an effective cure).

Sure the placebo effect means homeopathic pills sometimes work. You could get the same benfit from little sugar pills. But homepathic pedellars can charge more because somehow they get away with putting unjustified claims on the packet.

Ben Goldacre (my candidate for saint and Health Minister) wrote an important book before ‘bad Pharma’: “Bad Science’ examined the hocus pocus around homeopathy (amongst other things)..

p.s. The medical profession is not “back-tracking on exposure to sunshine”. That is press spin. In fact there is nothing new: frequent exposure to sunshine of moderate intensity is good; exposure of sensitive skins to high intensity sunshine is very bad.

Sophie Gilbert says:
24 May 2013

Homeopathy belongs to the same realm as astrology and should not be recommended by pharmacists any more that financial advisers should recommend consulting our horoscopes to see if our investments are going to perform well in future.

Judgement without investigation is folly Sophie.

John Lyons says:
25 May 2013

I quite agree. The thing is, homeopathy has been investigated many times and the results are in. It doesn’t work.

There is no reason to think homeopathy should work, no way it can work and no proof it does work (other than as a placebo). There is no credible evidence of any specific effect from any remedy, no credible evidence to support any of its doctrines, and there has never been any plausible mechanism by which it might work. It is contradicted by science that has everyday benefits – lasers, for example, rely on quantum mechanics, which contradicts the doctrine of infinitesimals.

Selling nonsense is not in and of itself evil. Most diet products, large numbers of herbal remedies and many vitamins are either worthless or completely unnecessary for most of their users.

What is evil is the way homeopathy, unlike bogus slimming aids, is promoted for the prevention and cure of serious disease.

Two investigations by the BBC found that every homeopath consulted recommended homeopathy for malaria prophylaxis. None sent the reporter to get proper malaria shots.Many did not even give anti-bite advice. This behaviour has provably caused deaths and serious illness. The Society of Homeopaths tut-tutted and did absolutely nothing. Homeopaths have a completely two-faced response to this sort of problem: they fervently deny that they would do any such thing when challenged by organisations such as the BBC, but in private and indeed in advertisements they continue to promote bogus treatments.

There’s good evidence that people who believe in alternatives to medicine have worse cancer outcomes, presenting later and with more advanced disease and often refusing standard of care even when it has a good chance of long term survival. And yes, some homeopaths do claim to treat or cure cancer.

On June 25 at 11am they are intending to picket the Advertising Standards Authority to protest against adjudications by the ASA over false advertising by homeopaths. I recommend that the reality based community turn up in force and shout them down. They are quacks.

Guy, your comment: “There is no reason to think homeopathy should work, no way it can work and no proof it does work (other than as a placebo). There is no credible evidence of any specific effect from any remedy, no credible evidence to support any of its doctrines, and there has never been any plausible mechanism by which it might work”……………….Then I suggest you read Dr Maliks post in this thread, and the link I have referred to previously (twice)…………………………………………
The Clinical effectiveness of homeopathy: the evidence from published research………………………..

Just to pick up on a couple of other points you have made: “There’s good evidence that people who believe in alternatives to medicine have worse cancer outcomes, presenting later and with more advanced disease and often refusing standard of care even when it has a good chance of long term survival”.

I suppose this is why Oncology refers to a 5 year survival rate, so if you die in year 6 this will still represent a successful statistic.
Perhaps you can point me to the: “good evidence that people who believe in alternatives to medicine have worse cancer outcomes” information, when alternative cancer treatments have not been able to collate their successes statistically, because of fragmented clinics and lack of organisation, that Mainstream Allopathic Medicine has been able to enjoy.

Another whopper: “Selling nonsense is not in and of itself evil. Most diet products, large numbers of herbal remedies and many vitamins are either worthless or completely unnecessary for most of their users”…….means that you are unaware of the effectiveness of Orthomolecular Medicine (Nutritional Medicine) and as endorsed by Health Canada. I could go on and on and on.
But if you mean “selling nonsense” as in the sale and approval by the FDA of Vioxx, (for example) then I would agree with you…………..http://www.theweek.co.uk/us/46535/when-half-million-americans-died-and-nobody-noticed

We should also bear in mind that most all chronic disease treated by Mainstream Medicine is only “managed”, and something you have to live with for life, if you don’t die before that (Diabetes, MS, Osteoarthritis, COPD, Hypertension, Parkinsons, Motor Neurone Syndrome, and so on and so on and so on…………….and the reason sufferers seek help elsewhere: the failure of Modern Medicine whose treatments are largely based on quackery, except for ER, Diagnostics, Surgery, and Anesthesia.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Thank You Chris for such a detailed investigation into homeopathy as well as conventional medicine. Health canada lays a strong emphasis on orthomolecular medicine. If readers are interested they can have a look at some good articles on it at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/

There is no reason to think homeopathy should work. Like does not cure like, as a general or useful principle of pharmacology, and dilution decreases, not increases potency, according to a vast amount of evidence.

There is no way it can work. Hahnemann did not kn ow of the atomic nature of matter, the doctrine of serial dilution is clearly predicated on matter being infinitely linearly divisible.

There is no proof it does work, beyond placebo. Systematic reviews show that the more carefully it is tested, the more closely the outcome follows placebo effects. There is no good evidence at all for any specific effect. Nonspecific effects are rarely down to the treatment.

Astoundingly, a pro-homeopathy website turns out to be an unreliable source. I already referenced a much more far-reaching and evidentially sound analysis: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/45.pdf

Yes, Vioxx was a faulty product. Guess what? Science exposed this. Homeopathy has never had a mechanism for correcting its errors, because it is a religion and cannot question its core doctrines, which are the foundation of its errors.

As usual with SCAM proponents, you are using straw men. I said: “Most diet products, large numbers of herbal remedies and many vitamins are either worthless or completely unnecessary for most of their users.” That is absolutely correct. Herbal medicine consists of using unknown doses of poorly controlled pharmacologically active substances with unknown purity. Yes, it works to some degree. That does not in any way contradict my statement, which you should have noticed has several conditional statements in it.

To claim that chronic disease is only “managed” by medicine rather than some mythical definition of “treated” by homeopathy is purest sophistry. The definition of chronic disease is a condition whose underlying cause cannot be cured. Selling nonsense to people with chronic disease is lucrative but profoundly unethical.

Health Canada is subject to serious criticism for endorsing as “safe and effective” products which definitely do not work (e.g. Mozi-Q).

Not all Canadians are so credulous. This is the consumer report that nailed the claim that Montagnier’s work could support homeopathy: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2011/cureorcon/

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Principle of similars (Let likes be treated by likes) is also used in conventional medicine, though rarely

1. Ritalin is an amphetamine (psycho-stimulant, a substance that would normally cause hyperactivity) chemically similar to cocaine and both increase dopamine levels in the brain. Conventional medicine gives this “stimulant” to treat hyperactivity in children

2. Hyoscyamine (an alkaloid of Hyoscyamus, in homeopathy we have medicine by the name Hyoscyamus Niger) is today given to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel, which very symptoms it produces in both toxicological and provings records
Ref: http://www.vithoulkas.com/images/stories/Articles_by_other_authors/GD_Law_article_Response_10_April_2012_complete.pdf

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Health Canada approves Mozi-Q (Staph is its main ingredient) as homeopathic insect repellent.

Homeopathic flu vaccine licensed for use in Canada. Effective, says health regulator.

@Nancy: There is no “Principle of similars”. There are some substances that coincidentally might have an effect at high doses not unlike the effect they alleviate, it would be statistically improbable if that weren’t the case, but medicine does nto find “like cures like” to be a remotely useful starting point for investigation, let alone Hahnemann’s belief that it was the sole reliable source of cure.

Yes, Health Canada licensed Mozi-Q. There is a standard test for mosquito repellants, Mozi-Q was not subjected to this test because it is basically licensed as confectionery like all homeopathy. When it was tested using the standard test by n independent researcher, it failed. It does not repel mosquitoes at all, nor is there any reason to think it might.

magufo says:
25 May 2013

“There is no reason to think homeopathy should work, no way it can work and no proof it does work (other than as a placebo). There is no credible evidence of any specific effect from any remedy, no credible evidence to support any of its doctrines, and there has never been any plausible mechanism by which it might work. It is contradicted by science that has everyday benefits – lasers, for example, rely on quantum mechanics, which contradicts the doctrine of infinitesimals.”

Use a fallacy of false anaogy, ad-hominem attack and espurious logic. Homeopathy works -no for your opinion- and clinicaly verified and physics, chemistry, agronomy, biology, genetics, medicine, pharmacology, enginner experiments.

“Selling nonsense is not in and of itself evil. Most diet products, large numbers of herbal remedies and many vitamins are either worthless or completely unnecessary for most of their users.”

What? Homeopathy or vitamins?

“What is evil is the way homeopathy, unlike bogus slimming aids, is promoted for the prevention and cure of serious disease.”


“Two investigations by the BBC found that every homeopath consulted recommended homeopathy for malaria prophylaxis. None sent the reporter to get proper malaria shots.Many did not even give anti-bite advice.”

This a report for E. Ernst. The report is not possible for generalized all homeopath practitioners.

“This behaviour has provably caused deaths and serious illness. The Society of Homeopaths tut-tutted and did absolutely nothing. Homeopaths have a completely two-faced response to this sort of problem: they fervently deny that they would do any such thing when challenged by organisations such as the BBC, but in private and indeed in advertisements they continue to promote bogus treatments.”

Probably? Ah, yeah pseudoskeptik enginner said “probalby caused deaths”.

“There’s good evidence that people who believe in alternatives to medicine have worse cancer outcomes, presenting later and with more advanced disease and often refusing standard of care even when it has a good chance of long term survival. And yes, some homeopaths do claim to treat or cure cancer.”

Good evidence? In Ernst blog only advocates two studies. In contrast, exist more studies in contrary way.

“On June 25 at 11am they are intending to picket the Advertising Standards Authority to protest against adjudications by the ASA over false advertising by homeopaths. I recommend that the reality based community turn up in force and shout them down. They are quacks. ”

Get out the pseudoskeptiks!

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

@magufo: Your statements are barely coherent,. let alone rational. It is ridiculous and wrong to assert that skeptics merely parrot the views of James Randi or anyone else. The scientific consensus is what it is:

Professor Sir John Beddington (outgoing Chief Scientific Advisor) called it “mad”, Professor Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Advisor) called it “rubbish”, Sir Mark Walport (incoming Chief Scientific Advisor) called it “nonsense” and “non-science”.

Homeopathy is an 18th Century whimsy, defensible in its historical context but inexcusable in the light of current knowledge.

That is not pseudoskepticism, it is a rational and logical conclusion based on homeopathy’s 200 year failure to provide a plausible theoretical framework.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

@Guy I quote you “There are some substances that coincidentally might have an effect at high doses not unlike the effect they alleviate,….”

You are referring to Arndt-Schultz Law. This pharmacological principle was concurrently discovered by two separate researchers, Rudolf Arndt, a homeopath and Hugo Schultz (Professor of Pharmacology at University of Greifswald, Germany), a conventional scientist.

The law is about non-linearity between dose and response. Itstates that, “weak stimuli slightly accelerate the vital activity, medium-strong stimuli raise it, strong ones suppress it and very strong ones halt it”.

Guy, your comment: “Most diet products, large numbers of herbal remedies and many vitamins are either worthless or completely unnecessary for most of their users.”.

Is a comment based in fiction. For your education Guy………………….

The use of Nutraceuticals (http://www.clemson.edu/NNC/what_are_nutra.html) and probiotics as therapeutic agents for gastrointestinal disorders is rapidly moving into clinical usage. Scientific studies are providing mechanisms of action to explain the therapeutic effects, and randomized controlled trials are providing the necessary evidence for their incorporation into the therapeutic armamentarium.

AND…….”To claim that chronic disease is only “managed” by medicine rather than some mythical definition of “treated” by homeopathy is purest sophistry. The definition of chronic disease is a condition whose underlying cause cannot be cured. Selling nonsense to people with chronic disease is lucrative but profoundly unethical”.

So, the definition of a chronic disease is a condition whose underlying cause cannot be cured?
By Mainstream perhaps, who only “manage” the symptoms of most all chronic disease or educate you on how to “live with” your chronic condition.
Then you had better read this quite thoroughly Guy……………….

Using your own reasoning, Mainstream disease-management is no better than your explanation of Homeopathy, or a case of “The pot calling the kettle black” ?

@Nancy: No, I am not referring to the Arndt-Schulz law, because there is no such law. It has been replaced by the concept of hormesis, which is not know to be general and also flatly contradicts homeopathy.

In hormesis, a substance has a temporary inflexion in the dose-response curve. That is, over a very narrow range of pharmacologically active doses, effect appears to increase with dilution. But only over a very narrow range: after this is tails off again as normal.

Even Arndt-Schulz does not give any support tot he idea that the effect persists beyond the point where the substance no longer exists. It is yet another example of homeopaths taking something which is not entirely inconsistent with their religion and asserting its applicability well beyond what can be scientifically supported.

@chrisb1 I repeated my statement and you still chose to use a straw man instead. Once again: “Most diet products, large numbers of herbal remedies and many vitamins are either worthless or completely unnecessary for most of their users.”

See if you can spot the qualifying words that render your counter-argument false.

As to “curing”, there is no case anywhere in the world where homeopathy can be unambiguously and objectively proven to have cured a single case of a single disease.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

Arndt-Schultz law is akin to Hormesis. Arndt-Schultz law explains the ‘bi-phase/biphasic response’ (also known as ‘reverse/dual action’) of drugs drugs’ i.e. every medicine has two action phases that depend upon dosage. Therefore, rather than the effectiveness of a medicine increasing with the increase of the dosage, research has consistently proven that very small dosages of a substance have the opposite result of larger ones.

Arndt and Schulz also experimented on yeast with Merc, cor., Iodine, Bromium and Salicylic acid and showed that in the weak doses these substances increase the multiplication of yeasts, yet strong doses kill them .

Ref: A.C.Dutta, Homoeopathy in the Light of Modern Science, 4th ed., B. Jain Publishers,

Nancy: No, it’s not. And its not a law. It has not been proven to be generalisable and the principle of hormesis is a much more complete explanation of the same observations.

Regardless, neither supports homeopathy because both require pharmacologically active doses of the substance in question. All observations of this principle still find that effects decline exponentially with dilution below a certain point, which is the precise opposite of what homeopathy claims.

In other words, it’s yet another cherry-picked factoid applied beyond what is scientifically defensible in order to shore up the beliefs of a religion which has tried and failed to prove it is something else.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

All system of medicines are prepared and administered in doses whose ingredients can be quantified to be below Avogadro’s limit except for homeopathic medicine which is available both below (hormetic) as well as above Avogadro’s limit. The probability of finding one molecule of the n molecules of the original substance above Avogadro’s limit is extremely small, but not zero. The avogadro limit for potentisation is 23X/12C/LM4. Potencies upto 23X/12C/LM4 contains bulk concentration (molecules) of the source material and above contains nanoparticles,

The first DBRPCT in evidence of homeopathy published in 1980 revived the interest in homeopathy. The paper found that 82% patients got relief in rheumatoid arthritis by homeopathy compared to 21% on placebo.

Then the paper published in 1983 introduced Basophil Degranulation model.

The Research gained momentum from 1988 onwards when paper in evidence of homeopathy appeared in journal ‘Nature’. Since then researchers and scientists all over the world are trying to figure out how ‘super-avogadro dilutions’ of homeopathic medicines which contains extremely low concentration of active ingredients are able to stimulate biological activity (immunological and inflammatory reactivity), modulates specific genome expression patterns and restore the homeostatic mechanism (read vital force) of the living organism to boost the immunity and put the body on self-healing mode.

Very well said Dr Malik. I believe this thread has some posters who have a predetermined mindset, when science preaches and endorses the exact opposite.
Thank you for your very enlightening post.

Don’t forget, Nancy, this is a British site, you have no medical qualifications recognised by the UK.

Your cherry-picked citations are (as always) misleading. The consensus of systematic reviews of trials of homeopathy is that there is no convincing effect beyond placebo, in line with the known absence of any credible mechanism and the well documented conflicts with actual useful science.

Homeopathy is completely implausible and no study has yet been published which convincingly refutes the null hypothesis. Actually the majority of pro-homeopathy studies don’t even seem to understand the null hypothesis: they start form the assumption that homeopathy is valid, and based on that, conclude that the results of placebo effects, cognitive biases and so on, are not inconsistent with the starting hypothesis. Any scientist will point out why this is wrong, as you will know having been on the losing end of so many identical discussions in so many places.

Nancy is not a doctor. She is a homeopath. Hahnemann was very firm that medicine and homeopathy are mutually exclusive.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

The legal status of homeopathy medicine in India is on an equal footing with conventional [Bachelor of Medical and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)], Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha medicine. It is recognised by Central Council of Homoeopathy , Deptt. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India since 1973.

Regular full time 5.5 years graduate medical degree [Bachelors in Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS)] that includes one year compulsory internship (approx 4800 hours in total)is absolutely necessary for becoming qualified & to get license to practice homeopathy medicine in India.

And to do regular full time M.D. in any one of the 7 specialisations (Medicine, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Pharmacy, Organon, Materia Medica, Repertory) of homeopathy medicine, you have to spend three more years after BHMS.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Thank You Chris. I hope they have an open mind, not predetermined bias. Thank You for the book “The Science of Homeopathy”. Regards

Like I said, this isn’t India. In the UK, you have no recognised medical qualifications, so using the title “Dr” is likely to mislead.

I think it’s very sad that India has people wasting years of their lives studying fairy tales, and criminal that these people are then allowed to play doctors.

Guy, this has little to do with “recognised medical qualifications” but everything to do with the welfare and health of the patient, and by whatever means.
Your approach here illustrates your bias and upbringing in healthcare, rather than anything of real substance. This reminds me of the surgeon who stated: “the operation was a complete success, but the patient died”!!
It is the welfare of the patient or the sufferer that is tantamount here, rather than the methodology in achieving the same, and whether “credentials” are recognised or not. This is a global community and not just an exclusive British reserve.
I notice you are prone to sweeping comments that probably do not do you justice, and where I have briefly answered a few of these, but science is about having an “open mind” rather than having any fixed agenda of medical exclusivity that you portray in this thread.

Yes, the welfare of patients is indeed a priority,. That’s why I think India’s support for delusional practices is profoundly dangerous and horribly misguided. Fortunately the UK does not recognise homeopaths as physicians.

magufo says:
25 May 2013

Cherry picking? In Wikipedia, Skeptikal Inquirer, and other web sites is a champions on cherry picking. An good example is a site of Adrian Gaylarde, other good example is XtalDave blog, other cherry picking goog example is Quackometer.

Im a Atheist, but no pseudoskeptik.

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

@magufo: Yes of course, it’s reality that’s at fault for failing to support homeopathy, homeopathy can’t possibly be wrong. Amen. (This lesson is taken from the Book of Ullman, Ch. 3, v 10).

John Lyons says:
25 May 2013

Ah… you beat me to it, Alan. It’s vital to bear this in mind when poring over the Gish gallop typically put forward by Ms Malik.

I like to treat everything with a degree of skepticism, but particularly where profit or vested interests are telling me something.

Really what people here are talking about is surely the level of proof required as in smoking and cancer, climatic change, the eventual killing of bees by low dosage poisons. Some of us believe them without absolute proof because either the balance of probability, or the consequences of being wrong are huge.

Evidence based is a rather interesting concept as depending on your test regime evidence can support most things if you want them to. The case in point might be the tests on bees for commercial approval that found they did not die. If one does not count wounded/damaged as relevant then having a very simple and short term criteria is great.

I personally doubt that homeopathy is anything other than a placebo effect – however rather like astrology and religion it does seem some humans like it and though one might devoutly believe it is cant how far can or should you enforce rational views. If despite every advice and logic they shorten their life that is surely them exercising their rights.

PS Ben Goldacre is the man, and of course Tim Hartman, etc. There are so few rational views presented in a world of silly entertainment and sport.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

In a paper published in journal Nature in 1988 by authors E. Davenas et. al. refers to memory of unique water structures. Apart from protein and nucleic acid, water molecules also acts as information carriers in living organisms. Water is able to store in its structure some information. Water structures differ from each other in number of hydrogen bonds and in the strength of hydrogen bonds.

The paper says, “Water could act as a ‘template’ for the [antibody] molecule, for example by an infinite hydrogen-bonded network”. This paper is popularly known as Jacques Benveniste’s “memory of water” study. He duplicated his results 70 times. Three other research laboratories (in Israel, Canada and Italy) replicate the results before the paper was published—an unprecedented requirement.

Nancy, the “memory” of water, as measured in the lifetime of the transient ordered structures to which you refer, is of the order of a few tens of femtoseconds.

A femtosecond is one millionth of one billionth of a second.

Your distribution network must be awesome!

Even without that obvious gaping flaw, there is no credible evidence linking the remedies to the diseases they supposedly treat, no evidence whatsoever that this “memory” is persistent, no evidence whatsoever that it can be transferred from water to an intermediary such as a lactose pellet (molar mass > 340g/mol, compared to water’s 18g/mol), no evidence whatsoever that it could be transferred form there into the bloodstream, and no evidence whatsoever that it could then affect the physiology of the victim^wpatient.

Your argument is functionally equivalent to saying that because pigs have pectoral muscles and so do birds, so pigs can fly.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

The Nature castes doubts on the paper in their editorial against which K. Opitz, School of Maritime Studies, Hamburg remarked, “Does ‘Nature’ expect nature to accommodate academic disciplines in order to be vindicated? Casting doubt on findings merely because they are inconvenient to established assumptions and patterns of speculation strikes me as a poor way of advancing scientific knowledge”.

D. T. Reilly, University of Glasgow, U.K. observed, “Scientific belief belongs on a flat earth. There is no danger, no threat to science in the restatement of the drug diluent paradox. We need only apply the scientific method and then seek the verdict of experience”.

@Nancy: Science constantly publishes findings that contradict or refute earlier work. The canonical example is Einstein, who overturned Newton’s models. The result of good science that contradicts earlier findings is that either the consensus view changes, or a better theory is found which is consistent with all the evidence.

Homeopathy, by contrast, is a religion. It is founded on literal acceptance of the word of Hahnemann, which cannot be contradicted (apart from the bit about 7/8 of chronic disease being caused by the itch miasm, which is usually quietly ignored). All homeopathic studies start form the premise that Hahnemann was right, and from there seek to show that Hahnemann was indeed right. That is not science, it is pseudoscience.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Medicine is applied Science.
Homeopathy is the youngest of all medical faculties and it is growing. It is modern not only by its virtue of being young, but more importantly by the revolutionary medical philosophy that supports this science. Science-based Medicine is vital to the quality of life after medical intervention and advocates reinforcing the value of evidence and logic in practice of medicine.

@Nancy: Medicine is indeed applied sicnece.

Homeopathy is pseudoscience. It does not follow the scientific method. It is not modern, it is an 18th century whimsy rooted in the pre-scientific traditions of natural philosophy, it has no mechanism for self-correction and it survives only because of assiduous promotion by people like you who profit form it.

magufo says:
25 May 2013

The Cowan study publihsed in Nature not a refer to a homeopahy preparation. Cowan only refers to a “ultra pure water”. No succussion, no dilution..

[This comment has been edited for breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

@magufo Argumentum ad hominem, classically fallacious. Do feel free to read ISO3696 any time now.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

Homeopathy follows the highest tradition of Science. In fact Science supports homeopathy. Research has gained momentum and in few years it is going to be phenomenal.

It has kept on the light of enquiry. Skeptics have added the pressure on us to conduct research even more. Your pressure has pumped us to do better. Homeopathy has been effected in UK but has gained in USA, Canada, Africa, etc. Homeopathy is scientific, logical, safe, quick and effective method of healing.

@Nancy: The statement that “homeopathy follows the highest tradition of Science” is simply false.

The fundamental core of science is the idea that every idea is only as good as the evidence supporting it, all ideas may be questioned and all must stand up to tests.

Homeopathy is a religion. It is founded on doctrines which are unquestioned. No homeopath conducts investigations to see if like cures like, or whether dilution increases potency. Instead they begin form that assumption, try to prove some minor fact that is not entirely inconsistent, and proclaim the result as vindication of the hypothesis.

That’s why homeopathy, far from being in the “highest traditional of science”, is one of the most widely-cites examples of pseudoscience – aping the language of science but without following its principles.

It is in decline in the UK because people are beginning to understand what it is. Most users mistakenly think of it as a form of herbal medicine; once they are disabused of this and informed of the truly bizarre claims made by homeopathy they rarely continue to believe, in my experience.

You are dependent for success on superstition, conspiracist thinking and a lack of even superficial inquiry. That is not a sustainable business model, but the experience of tobacco companies in developing countries indicates that ignorance can be profitably exploited for a good long time yet, alas.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

Science is ever changing. Sticking to fixed notions is like clinging to a past. Let it be any branch of science, we have to be open minded to analyze the evidence and accept the good things in it and discard the illogical things from it.

The consequences of good science as well as bad science are enormous. Therefore be careful in differentiating them. It’s difficult but not impossible. For e.g. Andrew Wakefield’s research paper linking autism and vaccines was a landmark paper. While his work was appreciated, what about millions of children who were vaccinated before having this knowledge and may have contracted deadly illnesses as a result.

John Lyons says:
25 May 2013

In 2010 Andrew Wakefield was struck off as a medical doctor for serious professional misconduct. His thoroughly debunked work is being largely blamed for the low uptake of the MMR vaccine in the late 1990s which has led to the measles epidemic in Swansea.

That you should cite the work of such a discredited figure speaks volumes.



Nancy, science is indeed ever changing. And everything we have learned since 1796 makes homeopathy less likely, not more.

Homeopathy is rooted in invariant dogma. It is defined by principles that have no evidential basis, and if these were tested and found wrong then the entire religion would die, so they may not be questioned.

Wakefield’s work was fraudulent, this is a well documented fact. The damage it has done is being seen now with serious illnesses and deaths among an under-vaccinated population. The deadly illnesses were contracted because of his work, not prevented by it.

Acleron says:
25 May 2013

Every scientist considers at one time or another that their theories or hypotheses can be wrong. Many design experiments or examine data to try and prove their own theory incorrect. This is how science progresses. Homeopaths are demonstrably not scientists, despite asking dozens of times I’ve never had a reply to the simple question ‘What evidence would you accept that disproves homeopathy?’. If you can never consider you are wrong then you are not a scientist.

Yes Phil, Andrew Wakefield was struck off as a medical doctor for alleged serious professional misconduct, but he was only a scapegoat for the BMA…………………..

Watch and listen to his answers here, and the direct challenge for a live televised debate he has made to our Chief Medical Officer, where the latter has so far declined……………………….

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
26 May 2013

Life is hard if you go against conmed:
Andrew Wakefield has to move to America

Life is hard if you support homeopathy
Luc Montagnier has to move to China


@Nancy: Andrew Wakefield moved because he found a fertile source of credulous fools in the US who would give him the income he lost through his fraudulent actions in the UK. You know how you accuse “Big Pharma” of profiteering? Wakefield was setting the scene for a single vaccine on which he had a patent application, and he had a vested interest in the result of his own research – a serious and material undeclared conflict of interest.

Montagnier has moved to China because his behaviour has become increasingly bizarre. He is promoting quack cures for HIV. But this is not relevant for homeopathy because he himself has stated that his research cannot be extrapolated to the products used in homeopathy, a fact you conveniently ignore.


The truth is, Wakefield is a fraud, and so is homeopathy.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
26 May 2013

See what Dr. Luc Montagnier has to say on homeopathy

1. In his paper, “Electromag­netic signals are produced by aqueous nanostruct­ures derived from bacterial DNA Sequences” (2009) he mentioned, potentised bacteria and virus DNA emits electromagnetic signals (low frequency radio waves) at 5C and 6C potencies and forms nano-structures which lasts 48 hours.

2. Luc Montagnier said, “High Dilutions of something are not nothing…”
Ref: Huffington Post, 30 Jan 2011

3. Nobel laureate Montagnier said, homeopathy medicine is “real” phenomenon & Benveniste is today’s Galileo

4. Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier escapes intellectu­al terrorism and he currently works as a full-time professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University in China.
He said, “they [Europe] are afraid to publish it [homeopathy] because of the intellectu­­al terror from people who don’t understand it.”

Nancy: As you have been reminded several times, Montagnier’s experiments are self-published, not replicated, and he himself says they cannot be extrapolated to cover the substances used in homeopathy.

You and your fellow apologists keep repeating points refuted a thousand times, and citing bad quality evidence that doesn’t say what you claim it does. Do you not have any good evidence you could cite instead?

@Chris: Your defence of the manifestly unethical Wakefield parallels your defence of the manifestly unethical trade of homeopathy.

Both will be shocking only to those who have no experience of the depths to which homeopaths will stoop to defend their religion against rational criticism.

Guy, with all due respect, your ignorance is boundless.

“My defense of the manifestly unethical Wakefield parallels my defense of the manifestly unethical trade of homeopathy”.

Firstly,your views on Wakefield are totally erroneous and based on pure propaganda by the BMJ and the journalist Brian Deer, and made in total ignorance of the facts: did you actually bother to listen/watch his reply on the video link I provided? Obviously not.

Do you know anything at all about “regressive autism” and its causes? I doubt it

Despite media reports to the contrary, the results of Andrew Wakefields research have been DUPLICATED in FIVE other countries (to see citations to studies, visit http://tinyurl.com/4hrdt5y.)

“The fact is that sooner or later, Andrew Wakefield will be exonerated, his theory will be accepted, and a vaccine-autism connection will be proven”..F.E Yazbak, MD; F.A.A.P.
Russell L Blaylock MD

Secondly, Homeopaths as a religion?
Then explain, with any degree of rationality, why Homeopathy is supported and endorsed by 45,000 MEDICAL DOCTORS in Europe? or are they just religious nuts as well?

Guy, you stated: “Wakefield was setting the scene for a single vaccine on which he had a patent application, and he had a vested interest in the result of his own research – a serious and material undeclared conflict of interest”.

Show the proof of this statement, because he is on record as saying: “”The British Medical Journal and reporter Brian Deer recently alleged that my 1998 research paper was ‘a hoax’ and ‘an elaborate fraud’ and that my motivation was profit.
“I want to make one thing crystal clear for the record – my research and the serious medical problems found in those children were not a hoax and there was no fraud whatsoever. Nor did I seek to profit from our findings”.

Maria says:
27 May 2013


Just google “Revealed: Wakefield’s secret first MMR patent claims “safer measles vaccine” to see a copy of Wakefield’s patent application.

You’re welcome.

Thank you for that information Maria.

I have found the relevant application for the patent you mention, and the applicant is named as: The Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine Neuro-Immuno Therapeutics Research Foundation.

Not Andrew Wakefield.

But thanks anyway.

Maria says:
27 May 2013


On the page I directed you to, click on the link saying ‘1998 published application’. This document gives Andrew Wakefield’s as inventor of the vaccine. ( Again, on the page I directed you to, click on the link saying ‘statement’ for Wakefield’s emphatic denial that he had ever designed such a vaccine.)

It so happens that the patent office holds the official application, which names Wakefield as both applicant and inventor. You can find this document on WIPO but to save you the bother of looking it up:

Pub. No.: WO/1998/055138 International Application No.: PCT/GB1998/001637
Publication Date: 10.12.1998 International Filing Date: 04.06.1998
Chapter 2 Demand Filed: 04.01.1999
A61K 38/19 (2006.01), G01N 33/569 (2006.01), G01N 33/68 (2006.01)

Applicants: ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL SCHOOL OF MEDICINE [GB/GB]; Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF (GB) (For All Designated States Except US).
NEUROIMMUNO THERAPEUTICS RESEARCH FOUNDATION [US/US]; 1092 Boiling Springs Road, Spartanburg, SC 29303 (US) (For All Designated States Except US).
WAKEFIELD, Andrew, Jeremy [GB/GB]; (GB) (For US Only).
FUNDENBURG, Hugh [US/US]; (US) (For US Only)
Inventors: WAKEFIELD, Andrew, Jeremy; (GB).

Yes, that is all very well: he may indeed have been the inventor of the new vaccine, but he does state that he did this on the grounds of safety over the current vaccine in use at the time.

Having or holding a Patent does not necessarily mean that you will profit from it: you would have to prove “intent” rather than speculate and arrive at conclusions that are at best conjectural.

We will have to await the outcome of the Texas Court hearing where charges have been made by Andrew Wakefields legal team against Fiona Godlee, the BMJ and Brian Deer. His Attorneys have advised him (truthfully) that he stands on solid ground in clearing his name.

For the record, let’s get the Wakefield story correct. Dr. Wakefield never said there was a definite link between vaccines and the MMR vaccination, only that there was a “possible connection” and reason for concern that ought to be investigated.
Also bear in mind that these findings were corroborated by no less than 5 separate studies in 5 different countries and independently at that. I posted a link on this earlier.

I suggest you watch/listen to the videos I posted where they illustrate this situation in his own words.

The GMC is still holding on to its arrogant position that “There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked,” may I respectfully inform the GMC that a study performed by a team of doctors at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, involved 275 children that confirmed Dr. Wakefield’s findings regarding bowel disease and the measles virus. Here are the results: 70 out of 82 children tested positive for the measles virus, but just not any ordinary measles virus.

One of the Wake Forest physicians, Dr. Stephen Walker, stated that their research pointed to a vaccine measles strain that was injected into the children and not a wild, natural strain of measles virus that normally transmits from child to child. Interesting? Here’s Dr. Walker’s remark, “Of the handful of results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.”

Perhaps the GMC isn’t up to date on reading the medical literature, or they would be hightailing it to overturn the unwarranted decision against Dr. Andrew Wakefield. If GMC had taken the time to do their ‘homework’ they would have found that the Wake Forest University study proves that in the gastro-intestinal tract of children diagnosed with autism, the vaccine measles virus was found in their gut. How did it get there, if not by vaccination, especially with the MMR vaccine? Infants and toddlers normally don’t drink measles-laced formula.

If the Wake Forest study is not enough, how about the 2001 study by Dr. John O’Leary, Professor of Pathology, done at the St. James Hospital and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, that came up with the same findings as Wake Forest and Dr. Wakefield. Okay, we now have three confirming studies that can no longer be consider the ‘Wakefield hypothesis’.

Something does not comport, and I hope you can follow this. Why would the U.S. National Institutes of Health still have Dr. Wakefield’s findings published as part of its medical library information IF those findings were not respectable? The PDF file of the article is available at this link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1382498/ .

If the above is not sufficient for the GMC to rethink Dr. Wakefield’s unwarranted striking from the register with immediate reinstatement, then how about their studying the following:

Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849883
Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. “The sequences obtained from the patients with ulcerative colitis and children with autism were consistent with being vaccine strains.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10759242

So while most of you seem to have acted as Judge and Jury in believing the propaganda, and only because of the GMC Official line, you should consider making a full investigation into this case as I have.
Judgement without a full investigation is sheer folly and in this case the potential ruination of a mans life and career.

As noted above: http://briandeer.com/mmr/1998-vaccine-patent.pdf

“Inventor: Andrew Jeremy Wakefield”.

Chris: Hilarious! One cite to Age of Autism, two to whale.to

I do understand why you can’t cite credible sources though – they don’t say what you want.

Chris, being indexed on PubMed is not an endorsement by NIH. All kinds of junk is PubMed indexed. Wakefield’s main paper was withdrawn but others will not have been, depending on the editorial policy of the journal in question. A paper that is refuted is still rarely withdrawn.

In the early 1990s on BBC2’s QED, opponents of homeopathy claimed it was due to the placebo effect, and that in carefully conducted double blind tests it had failed. The programme makers then conducted an experiment to answer these criticisms. Most dairy cows suffer from mastitis (infection of the milk ducts) from time to time, treatment for which involves the vet and antibiotics, during which the milk has to be discarded. You cannot fool a cow with the placebo effect so, at the suggestion of a homeopathic vet, a large herd was divided into two groups, each with its own water trough. From two similar but suitably marked containers a liquid was poured into each trough (ie only one dose was given) and two sealed envelopes carrying the names of the substances added were given to the programme makers for safekeeping. Some weeks later, the farmer was asked about the incidence of mastitis. He explained that the incidence in one group had remained as before, whereas in the other group only one cow had required antibiotic treatment. The envelopes were opened and it was shown that the second group’s trough had been treated with a homeopathic remedy and the other with just distilled water or placebo.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

BBC’s QED Video is available on youtube for everyone to see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llrLSl8PpZY

The mastitis claim debunked: http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2010/09/can-homeopathy-cure-mastitis-in-cows.html

Have you participated in the online debates where proponents of medicine argue against all evidence to the contrary that measurable doses of pharmacologically active substances have objective physiological effects?

No. Because there are no such debates. It is objectively provable fact.

Over 200 years after Hahnemann invented it, the high priests of homeopathy have as yet produced absolutely no credible proof that a substance with a vague and unspecific connection to a symptom can, if diluted out of existence, cure a disease which can cause that symptom. That’s your task, the Nobel Prize awaits you.

magufo says:
25 May 2013

XD,XD. The andy lewis blog is a opinion, no a paper, no journal. Its a fallacy of false authority. Next pseudoskeptik!

@magufo I am sure you do wish that Dr. Lewis was wrong. Sadly for you, he is not.

There are several levels of evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy, which has the best research profile of the alternative medical systems. Thoughtlessly disregarded by the scientific community is so-called “anecdotal evidence”, the best of which includes reports of clinical experience by homeopathic doctors who have used conventional methods with less success. Taken together, this material suggests to a fair-minded observer that something interesting is taking place. Secondly, there is some good-quality historical evidence, particularly the experience of the American and European homeopathic hospitals in the 19th century, where mortality from infectious diseases like cholera was markedly lower than in conventional hospitals. In the modern period, the Society of Homeopaths has published reports on the work of members in primary care groups in the UK. Most importantly, a significant body of scientific literature, mainly reports of clinical trials, has accumulated over the past 20 years or so. Four meta-analyses have been published, and the broad agreement is that homeopathic medicines work well. Where there is still a lack of clarity is the question of how they work. Not that a lack of understanding of mechanism ever stopped drugs and therapies being introduced into orthodox medicine.

@Chris: There are indeed several levels of evidence.

There is biased evidence from poor quality trials published almost exclusively in SCAM-sympathetic journals, which is largely positive; and there is robust evidence from well-constructed trials and meta analyses, which is overwhelmingly negative (see Linde et. al., 1999).

The fair minded observer will note that homeopaths, when asked to prove the basis of their claims, resort to endless repetitions of the type of study most likely to produce a biased result, and not one homeopath has ever mounted anything approaching an honest test (as in: testing if ti is true, rather than seeking to demonstrate that it is true) for the core doctrines of the religion.

The fair minded individual will also note the routine reversal of the burden of evidence by homeopathy advocates, their consistent use of fallacious arguments, and their almost universal failure to properly understand the scientific method.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Few points to make

1. No system can tackle all the diseases: Encourage different systems of medicine
Ref: Homoeopathy in Public Health, Dr. ESWARA DAS, Department of AYUSH, Govt. of India

2. Levels of Evidence
Level I meta-analyses and/or systematic reviews
Level IIa multiple controlled, randomised experiments
Level IIb some controlled, randomised experiments
Level IIIa studies with multiple cohorts
Level IIIb some cohort studies
Level IV opinion of experts
Ref: Comparable oxford university scale, Michel van Wassenhoven ECH publication LMHI 2008

@Nancy: More fallacious arguments. There is no reported case where homeopathy can be unequivocally demonstrated to have cured a single case of a single disease, ever.

Encourage different systems of medicine? Depends what you mean. I certainly encourage both surgery and pharmacology, two systems of medicine, but to use that as an argument to support, say, herbalism, which uses unknown doses of often poorly understood pharmacologically active compounds with unknown impurities? That would be silly. You have only to look at the kidney failures caused by aristolchia or the series of heavy metal poisonings among users of Chinese medicine in the US to realise that the correct approach is to analyse the active principle, isolate it and deliver it in a pure and carefully quantified dose. Which is, in fact, how a good many medicines start out (think aspirin here).

And of course none of this can even remotely justify systems of non-medicine such as homeopathy, reiki, faith healing and the like.

I find it very strange that those who critique the use of Homeopathy, and denounce it as quackery, rely on the flimsy and biased evidence of many Pharmaceutical Companies with a zeal bordering on faith and religion.
So who then are the real ‘quacks’? “The three companies who were fined an astonishing total of 6 billion $$$$ for illegal marketing and other misdemeanors”. At least one of these companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), considers $3 billion fines the cost of doing business, while fraud is endemic throughout Big Pharma.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. If you read books and articles by Ben Goldacre (as mentioned earlier) and Marcia Angell, the truth becomes abundantly clear: we simply can’t trust data provided by drug companies, no matter how large, well randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled or ‘gold standard’ they may be.
Dig even further, perhaps by reading Stats.con by Dr James Penston, and it becomes difficult to disagree with his conclusion that, “The claims of statistics-based research in medicine are, for the most part, imaginary, that the apparent success is based on the presentational skills of its advocates, and that the studies are devoid of anything of real value”.
While the smoke-and-mirrors charade of industrial, drug-based, statistics-led medicine trundles on, thousands of patients are killed and maimed every year. But the cries of ‘quackery’ are almost universally aimed at natural healthcare such as Homeopathy, which the figures show to be incredibly safe, while its users enthusiastically keep coming back for more – as they have done for centuries, and presumably because they do not work?
So who then are today’s greatest purveyors of quackery?
Answer: Those sitting at the boardroom tables of pharmaceutical companies.
Advocates of natural healthcare should feel entitled to reclaim the term, and to use it appropriately – without fear of retribution.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others

@Chris: You haven’t noticed, then, that some of the most prominent British critics of homeopathy, including Edzard Ernst, Ben GHoldacre, Simon Singh and David Colquhoun, are supporters, and in some cases co-founders, of the alltrials movement? You haven’t noticed that the same people who are skeptical of the terrible evidence produced by homeopaths are equally skeptical of the way pharmaceutical companies abuse science?

There are well-founded concerns over the quality of evidence for medical treatments that usually work but are overstated. Homeopathy has even weaker evidence (and mostly no evidence at all). To use the former to justify the latter is simply irrational.

To put it more simply, problems with medicine validate homeopathy in exactly the same way that plane crashes validate magic carpets.

@Nancy: So you want a free pass on nonsense because there are flaws with medicine? Sorry, not going to happen.

The appropriate use for homeopathy is in tea, as a sweetener. That is its only objectively provable value. And actually even then it spoils the tea.

@magufo: Young earth creationists dismiss the scientific evidence of speciation by evolution with the same kind of rhetoric. It is ineffective for exactly the same reasons.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

Only Ben Goldacre has shown the nerves to do something about the rot in conmed pharma companies. The rest just speaks out and do nothing. Homeopaths support alltrials because it leads to greater transparency.

Nancy, that is neither true nor relevant. Homeopaths are not part of evidence-based medicine so their view on medical transparency is irrelevant.

Transparency means that you’d have to tell your patients there is no credible evidence to support the doctrines of homeopathy and no good evidence it works other than as a placebo, that the pills you give them are inert as far as any objective test can tell, and that if they have anything actually wrong with them they should see a real doctor.

Somehow I doubt you give them this advice.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

Guy, You are talking about doctrines of homeopathy when you yourself do not what they are

Principles and Laws
1. Principle of Similar (1796)
2. Law of Minimum Dose (1801)
3. Law of Simplex (1797)
4. Arndt-Schultz Law (1887)

5. Individualisation

6. Progress of cure in Chronic Diseases (1828)

7. Theory of Chronic Miasms (1828)

8. Preventive Medicine (1799)

9. Potentisation (1801)
10.Doctrine of Vital Force (1833)
11. Dynamisation (1837)
12. Diet and Regimen

Nancy, as is plain to everyone but you, I very much do know.

Guy, You are talking about doctrines of homeopathy when you yourself do not what they are

The doctrine of similars is not a law of nature, it is a dogma of the homeopathy faith with no basis in reality. The doctrine of minimum dose is founded on further dogma, including Hahnemann’s own explicit (and explicitly wrong) statement that matter is infinitely divisible. The doctrine of simplex is also mere dogma, it has no basis in objective reality.

You also keep repeating the false claim that Arndt-Schulz is a law (it is not), with the implication that it supports homeopathy (it doesn’t). Hormesis, a more complete explanation than Arndt-Schulz, is not generalisable and still shows the normal exponential decline in effect with dilution below a threshold level.

There are no such things as miasms or vital force. The dogmas of potentisation and/or dynamisation are fictional constructs with no basis in reality.

Your articles of faith have as much relevance to medicine and human physiology as the statements of the Discovery Institute have to evolutionary biology. That is to say, none at all.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
26 May 2013

Homeopathic medicines are colloidal solutions containing nanoparticles of measurable remedy source material heterogeneously dispersed in water-ethanol solution prepared by a pharmacological process of potentisation

Nancy: That is a statement of faith, not a fact.

Actually homeopathic remedies are not medicines, are not colloidal, contain no nanoparticles (hint: nano is one part per billion), are not measurable, and potentisation is not a pharmacological process.

Feel free to cite any test that can blindly distinguish between two 30C remedies when presented as sugar globules, or between the remedy and the globules treated with the plain solvent.

Nelsons may be able to help you here as they were shipping remedies without the magic water for some time, so must have gathered some statistics.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
26 May 2013


Identification of homeopathic medicines (4 techniques)

A. Spectroscopy
1. Raman Laser Spectroscopy (first used in homeopathy in 1976)
2. New Magnetic Resonance method by K. Lenger (2006)
3. Ultra-Violet–Visible (UV–VIS) spectroscopy (2007)
4. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy (2008)
5. Electromagnetic Signatures (2009)

B. Thermo-luminescence (2003)

C. Dielectric Dispersion (2010)

D. Physiological variability in human body

Nancy: Why do you keep cherry picking isolated results that do not actually prove the claims of homeopathy? Do you not have any actual evidence proving similia etc.?

Guy, you have said that there is no evidence that Homeopathy has ever been successful at treating/curing any disease, well here’s some news for you.

There is actually some very good scientific evidence in favour of the effectiveness of homeopathy with over 60 positive outcomes in randomized controlled trials.

The evidence base………..
Up to the end of 2011, there have been 164 peer-reviewed papers reporting randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in homeopathy. This represents research in 89 different medical conditions. Of those 164 RCT papers, 71 (43%) were positive, 9 (6%) negative and 80 (49%) non-conclusive http://www.facultyofhomeopathy.org/research

In addition non-randomized, non-controlled CLINICAL outcomes studies make a useful contribution to the evidence base……………..


From EJMR (European Journal of Medical Research)….

“Basic science research suggests that classically-prepared homeopathic remedies (A) contain measurable source NANOparticles (NPs) and/or silica NANOparticles with adsorbed source materials [1-4] which are heterogeneously dispersed in colloidal solution……………..

It would also be fairly predictable of you to deny the highly beneficial effects of Colloidal Silver which is known to kill over 650 pathogens of a viral/fungal/bacterial nature, and simply the best antibiotic on the market. Of course you can’t buy it in Europe as an antibiotic, just as a “mineral supplement”, because Big Pharma arranged this with their political clout in Brussels. Now we can’t allow competition for drug-based antibiotics now can we.?
Here’s the SCIENCE for you, which you will no doubt attempt to and fail to debunk.

Chris: Feel free to cite a single reliably published report from a reputable source where homeopathy can be unambiguously and objectively proven to have cured a single case of a single disease.

So far, no homeopath has been able to do this. Why not be the first?

Piku says:
24 May 2013

Well, everyone in the scientific and skeptic community knows nancy malik , and I have my theory as to who chris is too… Read this report in which last night and whilst I was frustrated at results was glad to see such things being examined. There is simply no reliable, reproducible study showing h to work. And there are reasons why it could appear to work in animals, just as with humans, return to the norm, expectations of humans etc. just hope people who read this realise there’s only 2 people on here saying it works. Nancy def. has a vested interest and chris may do too. Anyway, its been examined properly by far cleverer people than me : Ben goldacre and Edward Ernst for example are excellent and easy for a non scientist to understand (and cite references got the more sciencey out there)

Piku, as long as you are aware that Professor Ernst is well known for his bias…………..

so who do you think I am Piku? and no I have no vested interest in Homeopathy or anything else.

@Chris: If you want to rubbish someone at least have the decency to pay someone a few tens of thousands of Euros to do it halfway properly, as a cartel of homeopathy companies did. Not that the knocking was in the least bit effective.

The scientific consensus does not rest on the word of Edzard Ernst, he merely articulates the facts as science finds them. And the reputation of Edzard Ernst most assuredly does not rest on the opinion of quacks who dislike the facts he presents.

Benveniste retired defeated, Ernst merely retired, having stood up to a remarkably sustained campaign of vilification, lies and malice from the homeopathy community- a community which, like many religions, presents a warm and cuddly face to the world, but is vicious and spiteful towards any criticism, with the level of malice increasing in direct proportion to the strength and credibility of the evidence against it.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
24 May 2013

Unfortunately Edzard Ernst himself admitted that he has no formal education in homeopathy. He had 2 month of classes & 6 month of homeopathy training in germany, never wrote any exam. He was a failed Homeopath and who later become a skeptic.

So I request the skeptics not to treat him a specialist of homeopathy.

@Nancy: Richard Feynman had an anecdote which is entirely relevant here.

“[W]e kids were playing in a field. One kid says to me, “See that bird? What kind of bird is that?” I said, “I haven’t the slightest idea what kind of a bird it is.” He says, “It’s a brown-throated thrush. Your father doesn’t teach you anything!” But it was the opposite. He had already taught me: “See that bird?” he says. “It’s a Spencer’s warbler.” (I knew he didn’t know the real name.) “Well, in Italian, it’s a Chutto Lapittida. In Portuguese, it’s a Bom da Peida. In Chinese, it’s a Chung-long-tah, and in Japanese, it’s a Katano Tekeda. You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know about humans in different places, and what they call the bird. So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing—that’s what counts.” (I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.).”

Although your claim that Prof. Ernst admitted to no formal education in homeopathy is an easily refuted lie, it is also completely irrelevant. Just as being able to name a bird in eleven languages tells you nothing about the bird, and being able to name the saints tells you noting about the existence of God, so being able to identify that Expelliamus 30C is the remedy for cramp of the left big toe tells you nothing about what goes on in the body when homeopaths administer their inert “remedies”.

Guy, “so being able to identify that Expelliamus 30C is the remedy for cramp of the left big toe tells you nothing about what goes on in the body when homeopaths administer their inert “remedies”.

Can be equally said for prescription drugs which only address symptoms, and not the causes of disease.
Allopathic Doctors cannot even cure the “common cold” or even know the causes of cancer, yet they are generally perceived with possessing an unjustified infallibility by the masses, thanks to the Flexner Report (1910) which acted in the interests of the Rockefeller’s and the German medical approach of drug therapy and surgical intervention, to the exclusion of all other health modalities, and whether they worked or not.

@Chris: No, that is simply wrong.

To go for a really simple example: antibiotics measurably reduce bacterial infections in vitro and in vivo, even in unconscious patients. The doctrines of homeopathy are humoural and deny germ theory, but germ theory has passed enough tests that it is no longer in doubt.

The term “allopathy” refers to everything that is not homeopathy, including herbal medicine. It is homeopathy’s equivalent to the word atheism, so scientifically worthless.

Medicine is like the English language. It subsumes anything that works, without respect for its origins. Anything that can be shown to work using the scientific method, will be adopted.

Your problem is that homeopathy cannot be shown to work with anything approaching scientific rigour. I say your problem, I mean it. It is your problem not mine.

Yes, but antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective against bacterial infections, and as reported of late.
The germ theory of disease causation was denounced by Pasteur who said that the germ is nothing….the terrain everything.

Allopathy by definition is: “a system of medical practice that aims to combat disease by use of remedies (as drugs or surgery) producing effects different from or incompatible with those produced by the disease being treated”………..in other words Orthodox or Mainstream Medicine that is based on drug therapy and/or surgery.
The expression was coined in 1810 by the creator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843). Never accepted as a mainstream scientific term, it was adopted by alternative medicine advocates to refer pejoratively to mainstream medicine. In such circles, the expression “Allopathic medicine” is still used to refer to “the broad category of medical practice that is sometimes called Western medicine, bio-medicine, evidence-based medicine, or modern medicine”.

I do not personally have a problem with Homeopathy Guy, it is just that you are debating against it, and I am countering your opinions/comments.

You are not countering my opinions, you are just repeating the canards used by homeopathy shills for decades. They are logically invalid.

Antibiotic resistance is in no small part the result of people demanding antibiotics for conditions where they are not indicated. That has precisely no relevance to homeopathy, because antibiotics and antibiotic resistance belong to the world of objectively testable fact whereas homeopathy is a religion and belongs to the world of scientifically unsupportable arm-waving nonsense.

magufo says:
25 May 2013

Richard Feymann are good physicis, but a bad social scientist.
Social Scientist beware at ad-hominem attacks and pseudo science of Feymmann justifications. Cargo cult science? Jajaj, is a insult no argument.
When Chapman argues that “Feymann says” is a authoriy fallacy.

@magufo Feynman was the greatest intuitive thinker of the 20th Century. Social science is a contradiction in terms. Feel free to start making logically consistent (and semantically coherent) arguments any time now.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

Skeptics have an opinion that homeopaths do not believe in germ theory. We would like to tell them it’s not so.

Homeopathy is of the view that pathogens are involved in disease They alone are not the real cause of the disease. They can thrive only if the person has low immunity and offers favourble condition for their growth. It’s the environment in which they operate plays a more important/decisive role.

greg says:
25 May 2013

“Failed”? He studied homeopathy and then decided not to practice it. That’s the best outcome, not failure.

greg says:
25 May 2013

“which only address symptoms, and not the causes of disease.”
How do homeopaths keep saying that? I know Dr H said it, but have you even looked out the window in 200 years? Things have changed out here in the real world. Have you the merest, slightest clue how well we now understand so many details of disease mechanisms, via actual research, while you continue to believe the same old made-up nonsense, while completely ignoring the fact that none of it works? Do you have any idea how incredibly arrogant it is, that you expect to be treated on an equal footing while clearly not having the slightest actual clue how your “remedies” are actually supposed to work, and apparently having no real interest in finding that out?

@Nancy: I am sure you would like to tell skeptics that homeopathy is not germ theory denialist. You’ll be wasting your time. You might or might not be, but homeopathy is founded on the humoural model and Hahnemann’s work is based heavily on the idea of miasms. It was his view that 7/8 of chronic disease is caused by the psora miasm.

Homeopathy is a religion not a science, so there is no way for it to discard wrong ideas. Different homeopaths believe different things, there is no way to discount this as not “proper” homeopathy because they will say the same about your version and there are no objectively testable findings that would settle the argument.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

How Edzard Ernst can be a skeptic of homeopathy and join skepticism when he has zero qualifications in homeopathy. He may become a source of embarrassment to them. He is riding on the shoulders of other skeptics to advance his agenda.

John Lyons says:
25 May 2013

Well, why not? You have no qualifications that are recognised as medically valid in the UK, but that doesn’t stop you offering opinions on medicine.

greg says:
25 May 2013

Nancy, how can *you* come out in *support* of homeopathy when *you* don’t understand how it works, or how one would go about showing properly that it works. Homeopaths ‘understand’ homeopathy in the same way that clerics understand the afterlife. A lot of books and talk and advice relating to it, but all of it is based entirely on what you think should be true, and supported only by whatever observations you decide to support it with (in this manner we also conclude that gods cause lightning). If you can’t see the enormous difference between that, and understanding real science well enough to research and develop an actual vaccine or cancer treatment, I don’t see how you can compare the two in any credible way.

@John: I am not offering opinions on medicine, I am offering opinions on homeopathy. That is a religion, not a form of medicine.

Actually, John, was that aimed at me or Nancy? Hard to tell, there is no threading. If Nancy, then I absolutely agree!

Nancy, being able to recite the fictions of homeopathy is not necessary in order to understand why it’s wrong.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
25 May 2013

@greg Research in to how super-avogadro dilutions of homeopathy works.

A paper published in 1965 by Barnard was the first one to investigate how homeopathy works. According to paper, the polymers of water appear during the process of succussion which assumes specific configuration in a potency depending upon the chemical nature of the concerned drug.

The presence of molecules of the original substance beyond Avogadro’s limit was first mentioned in the French book Recherche expérimentale moderne en homéopathie (Modern Experimental Research in Homeopathy) in 1967.

Nancy, there is no such thing as a “super-Avogadro dilution”. Avogadro’s number is the number of molecules in one mole of a substance. Its relevance is that it shows a fatal flaw in homeopathy, a fact that contradicts Hahnemann’s assertion of infinite divisibility. Hahnemann did not know this, modern-day homeopaths have no such excuse.

Papers by homeopaths published in homeopathic journals are the equivalent of theology. They tell us only about what homeopaths believe, they have no provable connection with the real world.

John Lyons says:
25 May 2013

Sorry, Guy – it was aimed at Nancy!

My bad. Obvious in context, but require re-reading several posts :-/

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
26 May 2013

Is it the end of antibiotics? or is it going to be the same way it was predicted in 2005 “the end of Homeopathy” but never happened across the world. Eight years have passed. On an average homeopathy is seeing double digit growth n many countries.

Dr. Nancy Malik says:
26 May 2013

‘Super-Avogadro’s dilutions’ (also known as potentised high dilutions) are aqueous solutions diluted above Avogadro’s limit.