Chief Allopath (Medical Officer) Medical Mind Control Wheen, Francis Edzard Ernst Sally Davies Homeopathy Propaganda books
[Here is a classic with the usual suspects: Edzard Ernst & Sally Davies. The Allopaths know Homeopathy would put them out of (98%) the drug business. Surprise of the year: 'The British Medical Association has also called for an end to official funding of homeopathy'. And this is priceless: 'It would seem an obvious saving that George Osborne could make: a small one, true, but in these straitened times for the public purse, every little helps'!!! As is this: 'Odd, isn’t it, that there are no homeopathic remedies for broken legs?'. Bollocks # 1: 'Homeopathy has often been subjected to rigorous scientific testing since its ‘discovery’ by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann at the end of the 18th century, and it has always failed'. Tell that to the Indian Government see.]
By Francis Wheen
Cheers: Francis Wheen would rather have a stiff drink than homeopathy
Picture the scene. You go into a pub and order a gin and tonic, but just as you are about to take a first gulp the barman snatches it away. ‘We don’t want to give you that!’ he cries.
He puts a single drop of the G&T into a fresh glass and pours in more tonic.
‘But we don’t even want to give you that!’
Another bottle of Schweppes is added to a droplet of the new drink. Many dilutions later, he eventually presents you with your, by now, almost entirely alcohol-free snifter — and charges twice the usual price, on the grounds that it’s far more powerful than a ‘conventional’ gin and tonic.
Would you hurl it in his face or glug it down gratefully? Probably the latter, if you’re Prince Charles.
For this is what he and other fans of homeopathic remedies believe in: the ‘law of infinitesimals’, which holds, ludicrously, that the more you dilute a substance the more potent it becomes. And, thanks to the Prince’s lobbying of ministers, homeopathy is now available on the NHS, at a cost to the taxpayer of about £4 million a year.
Furthermore, thanks to documents released last week, we now know that in December 2009 the Foundation For Integrated Health, which Charles had set up, wrote to the Department Of Health (DH) asking it to remove criticism of homeopathy that was due to appear on the NHS Choices website.
A statement from a House Of Commons science and technology committee that declared the principles of homeopathy to be ‘scientifically implausible’ was, as a result, edited out of the website’s draft guidance.
A DH official subsequently wrote that ‘in causing NHS Choices to publish content that is less than completely frank about the evidence for homeopathy, the DH have compromised the editorial standards of a website they themselves established and that they fund’.
Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, however, is not one to be cowed by the Prince and his lobbyists. Last month, she declared homeopathy ‘rubbish’ and described homeopaths as ‘peddlers’.
Rubbish: homeopathic remedies are so diluted (left) that you would be better off with a gin and tonic (right)
Giving evidence to the Commons science and technology committee, she seemed appalled that homeopathic remedies were being used to treat serious illnesses. ‘I’m very concerned when homeopathic practitioners try to peddle this way of life to prevent malaria or other infectious disease,’ she said.
For good measure, she added: ‘I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.’
She is not the only one. Edzard Ernst, Britain’s first professor of complementary medicine, advised recently that it is best to steer away from alternative medicine altogether.
In an article in the Society Of Biology’s magazine, The Biologist, he said homeopathy was worthless — and if homeopaths don’t tell patients so, then they are effectively breaching medical ethics by withholding crucial information.
‘It follows,’ he concluded, ‘that the Government’s decision to continue offering homeopathy on the NHS is not ethical.’
The British Medical Association has also called for an end to official funding of homeopathy. It would seem an obvious saving that George Osborne could make: a small one, true, but in these straitened times for the public purse, every little helps.
Avoid: Edzard Ernst, the first Professor of Complementary Medicine, believes it is best to steer away from alternative medicine
Don’t bet on it, though. According to market research cited by the British Homeopathic Association, 15 per cent of Britons now trust homeopathy. It would be a brave politician who risked incurring their wrath — along with the inevitable bellyaching from the heir to the throne.
Even the sober British Medical Journal has felt obliged to pander to the new quackery by running a series describing alternative therapies.
‘Our readers wanted it,’ the editor explained. ‘They want to know more about it because their patients are interested in it. They want to know what works and what doesn’t.’
But the purveyors of so-called complementary medicine are uninterested in proving their remedies work — because they don’t.
Homeopathy has often been subjected to rigorous scientific testing since its ‘discovery’ by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann at the end of the 18th century, and it has always failed.
This is scarcely surprising, as Hahnemann’s perverse law of infinitesimals means there is effectively nothing to test — the ‘cure’ he espoused has been diluted out of existence.
Hahnemann believed that if people were exposed to minute quantities of toxins that caused symptoms similar to common diseases, then maybe the body could be ‘trained’ to fight disease by being exposed to these substances in very diluted form.
Thus, give someone a dilute solution of deadly nightshade — which causes fever, headache and death when consumed — and the body would be able to cure itself of a headache or fever.
Yet he diluted his substances to such an extent that there was nothing left of them, so any debate on his scientific reasoning is purely academic.
Homeopathic products are diluted in 99 parts water (and/or alcohol) and shaken vigorously; as with that fraudulent gin and tonic, a drop of the resulting solution is then added to more water, and so on until the original substance has been diluted many billions of times.
A typical dilution is what is termed ‘30C’, which means — to spell out the full absurdity — one part cure per million million million million million million million million million million parts of water.
If it still contained only one molecule of the homeopathic ingredient, the amount of water required for that level of dilution would be far greater than that in all the oceans of the Earth.
Tosh: French biologist Jacques Benveniste believed that the water would retain a 'memory' of the cure, even when there weren't any molecules left
There are even weaker solutions on the market — or, as the quacks would have us believe, even stronger ones. A fantastic dilution ratio of 200C is claimed for Oscillococcinum, a product for ‘the relief of colds and flu-like symptoms’ invented by the French physician Joseph Roy in the Twenties.
Its ‘active’ ingredient is the liver of a Muscovy duck. Why? ‘The Ancients considered the liver as the seat of suffering,’ Dr Roy explained.
Not that you get much liver for your buck. If one molecule survived the dilution it would be mixed in 100-to-the-power-of-200 molecules of water, more than the total number of molecules in the entire Universe.
But its makers get plenty of bucks for their duck. Sales of Oscillococcinum in the U.S. are worth about $20 million (£13 million) a year, and all from a single duck’s liver — prompting one American magazine to describe the hapless fowl as ‘the $20 million duck’.
No doubt many customers think it money well spent. It was shrewd of Roy to promote his latter-day snake oil as a cure for colds and flu: as these go away of their own accord within a few days, like so many minor ailments, patients can easily convince themselves the duck soup made a difference.
Odd, isn’t it, that there are no homeopathic remedies for broken legs?
Never mind the science, homeopathy aficionados will say 'it worked for me'.
This is a well-established medical phenomenon: the placebo effect.
In a normal ‘double-blind test’ of a new drug, half the patients are given the ‘remedy’ while the rest take an inert placebo — a starch pill, say. If some starch-swallowers detect an improvement in their condition, this doesn’t mean the starch has any beneficial pharmacological properties.
For some people and some conditions, the mere fact that a qualified doctor gives you something and assures you it can ease your symptoms may be enough to make you perk up.
In the case of homeopathy, however, the remedy and the placebo are identical, since neither has any trace of the active ingredient. Hoist by their own law of infinitesimals, homeopaths argue that even if there is no molecule of the original substance in the medicine, the water somehow retains a metaphysical ‘memory’ of it.
This tosh was promoted in the Eighties by the French scientist Jacques Benveniste, who then extended it further by claiming that the ‘memory’ can be taken electromagnetically from the water, stored digitally on a computer, emailed to the other side of the world and ‘played back’ via a sound card into new water — which instantly acquires the same properties as the original.
As this suggests, homeopathy and other ‘complementary’ therapies are closer to mysticism than to medicine. Hence their appeal to Prince Charles, a man who has seldom met a bit of mumbo-jumbo he didn’t like.
But why should taxpayers subsidise it? Why should serious drugs have to go over so many hurdles to win approval from NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, when quackery is waved through without a shred of proof?
Three years ago, exactly the same Commons select committee on science and technology said homeopathic medicine should no longer be provided on the NHS. But the DH said funding would continue — not because it endorsed homeopathy but because patients were entitled to ‘choice’, that canting buzzword adored by our political masters.
Diluted: one treatment, Oscillococcinum, uses the liver of a Muscovy duck, pictured, in a ratio of 200C to water
According to the Department, offering a choice — even one between real medicine and dud medicine — will ‘ensure quality outcomes, patient satisfaction and the appropriate use of NHS funding’.
So there you have it. Whitehall thinks it ‘appropriate’ to spend our money on homeopathic treatments, even though it admits there’s no evidence they are any more effective than a glass of tap water.
Why not go the whole hog and let me have a gin and tonic — a proper one, mind — on the NHS?
From long years of rigorous testing, I can say with confidence that it hits the spot every time.
Francis Wheen is the author of How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World: A Short History Of Modern Delusions.