30 January 2010

Boots, Homeopathy and Ten23

You may or may not be aware that at 10:23 this morning a mass 'overdose' of homeopathic tablets was planned outside several large branches of Boots stores in large cities in the UK (full story here). Organised by the Merseyside Sceptics Society and the 10:23 campaign, the aim was to send a clear message to Boots – stop promoting homeopathy in the UK, next to paracetamol and drugs that have proven benefits.

I have had arguments about homeopathy this week, and my stance is something like this….

  1. The placebo effect is a marvellous thing. I have no issue with people using any medication or treatment if it works for them. Personally, I've used Chinese herbal therapies to try and alleviate joint pain in the past. It didn't work for me, but that's just me.
  2. If alcohol was sold in the same way as homeopathic drugs, then no-one would ever get drunk. I could make you a drink that had previously had Vodka in it, but was now diluted so far that it only had the 'memory' of the molecule in it. Although it might solve the UK binge drinking problem, I can't see any consumers becoming massive supporters, or even believers of the benefits of it.
  3. We have been advocating pharmacy support for years now as a method of reducing GP and A&E attendances. So while the patient is there, they might buy homeopathic remedies instead of 'tried and tested' medicines that could solve their problem. They lose faith because the problem gets worse.

The fallout to today's mass 'overdose' could be interesting. I shall watch and wait….


Dave said...

Presumably you overdose on a homeopathic by taking more and more dilute solutions.

Mark said...

I do like the Toxbase information on Arsen. Alb., the substance that they 'overdosed' on:

Toxicity: Non-toxic
Features: Unlikely to arise, except in patients with lactose intolerance.

Now you've probably got more basis to comment on this than I have, but as a hardcore chemist, I can't see the benefit in taking substances so dilute that the original mother tincture is sometimes not even traceable. After all, dilution is the solution to pollution.