Nonsense about science

People have been asking me whether homeopathy will be banned. It has been around for centuries and no one has the power to tell people what health modality to choose or what could possible determine what is a 'legitimate' healing choice or not. So NO, it could not possibly be banned.

This media campaign in the UK has been created by a 'denialist' organization (they call themselves skeptics, but I call myself a skeptic which has driven me to become a homeopath) called Sense about Science. Their campaign against homeopathy has been ongoing for decades. But here is some recent news revealed about the people and corporations and money that runs this organization. With this news in mind, I would like to rename their group 'Nonsense about science'.

"Coca-Cola’s spin doctor quits after emails leaked

December 3rd 2015

The senior Coca-Cola executive who arranged donations to Simon Singh’s Sense About Science—a charity that subsequently published a report that sugary drinks don’t cause obesity—has been forced to step down after her emails were made public

Rhona Applebaum, Coca-Cola’s Chief Science & Health Officer, has taken “immediate retirement” after the Associated Press published her emails to another lobby group, the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), which had received $1.5m donations from the drinks conglomerate.

Sense About Science had been given donations of £20,000. GEBN promotes the idea that lack of exercise, and not sugary drinks and colas, is the primary cause of obesity. A similar line was taken by Sense About Science, which discredited a major study that had found that 184,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to sugary drinks.

Its conclusions were tweeted by Applebaum, who had attended a Sense About Science meeting in the US. The group also ‘corrected’ a newspaper columnist, who had said—rightly—that sugar causes and feeds cancer. Again, Ms Applebaum re-tweeted the group’s comment."

And here is the debate about homeopathy that they've somehow conjured up.

"Prominent homeopathy advocate Dr Peter Fisher and leading skeptic Simon Singh [not a scientist... ED] went head to head on Radio 4’s Today on Friday when they were asked to comment on plans to end NHS funding for homeopathic treatments.

Asked bluntly by Today anchor Justin Webb “does homeopathy work, because scientists say it doesn’t?” Fisher – who is director of research at the Royal London Hospital of Integrated Medicine – replied: “Of course it does, and it is a gross simplification of you to say that scientists say it doesn’t. He added: “The most recent analysis of all the clinical trials on homeopathy conducted by the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics at the University of Glasgow came to a clearly positive result when it was published last December.”

But science writer Singh (and co-author of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial) said: “There are many reasons why a few studies may show that homeopathy has some benefit. But when you look at all the data, to the editors of the best medical journals, the chief medical officer, and you look at the report of the House of Commons Select Committee – homeopathy doesn’t work.”

And when Webb suggested to Singh that the cost of homeopathy in the NHS was “tiny out of a total NHS budget of nearly £100 billion”, he commented: “The money is one part of this – and £4 million is £4 million. But perhaps more important is that when the NHS funds homeopathy it gives it undue credibility. These pills typically have nothing in them whatsoever. But you find charities that will send homeopaths to West Africa to treat ebola, or Southern Africa to treat Malaria. Every week I am contacted by the relative or friend of somebody who has died because they were misled by a homeopath.”

“There are have been a number of comparative effect studies where GP practices that use homeopathy are compared to those that don’t – typically in France or Germany, but also in the UK. All of them show that you get better outcomes with homeopathy”

Webb asked Fisher why NHS funding was needed. “Can’t homeopathy be done outside of the NHS, for people who like it?”. Fisher replied that “there is evidence that bears on precisely this issue”. He explained: “There are have been a number of comparative effect studies where GP practices that use homeopathy are compared to those that don’t – typically in France or Germany, but also in the UK. All of them show that you get better outcomes with homeopathy. Either you get a plain better outcome, or get the same outcome for less drugs.”

Homoeopathy in Italia

homeopathic kit by searsIn Italy there are over 5000 homeopathic physicians, 7000 pharmacies dispensing homeopathic medicines and 20 different laboratories. In a study in the early part of the last decade, 8.2 million Italians reported using homeopathy and approximately 90% of them said they were helped by the treatment.