Protestors’ homeopathic overdose was “grossly irresponsible”

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More than 400 homeopathy sceptics staged a series of “mass homeopathic overdoses” outside branches of Boots last week.

The group ‘10.23 Homeopathy: There’s Nothing In It’ say they held the event to protest at the high street chemist’s “continuing endorsement and sale of homeopathic remedies”. They used the mass ‘overdose’ to “show the public that the homeopathic remedies have nothing in them”.

A spokesperson for the event told The Guardian: “We believe it is unethical for the government and Boots —as a registered pharmacist — to continue to support what is essentially an 18th century magic ritual.”

But Paul Bennett, professional standards director and superintendent pharmacist for Boots UK, said that homeopathy was recognised by the NHS and that all Boots pharmacists followed guidance on homeopathy issued by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) has dismissed the 10:23 protest as a “grossly irresponsible stunt”. In a statement on its website, the BHA said:

“To suggest in public that taking an overdose of a medicine is a good way of testing its effectiveness gives an extremely dangerous message to the public. It also shows that the participants have no understanding about how to select and use homeopathic remedies in an appropriate manner.

“The claims of 10:23 ring hollow indeed. The evidence base for homeopathy is gradually increasing. There are well over 100 double blind trials in homeopathy and more are positive than negative. This is in spite of the many difficulties encountered squeezing a holistic and individualised treatment into a strictly controlled trial methodology.

One Response to Protestors’ homeopathic overdose was “grossly irresponsible”

  1. Marsh April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I’m confused – if you’re saying there are no negative effects of taking homeopathy, in what way is it irresponsible, and in what way is it showing ‘that the participants have no understanding about how to select and use homeopathic remedies in an appropriate manner’?

    I’d like to stress, the point isn’t to test medicines via an overdose – that would indeed be stupid and ill-advised. Fortunately, the testing on homeopathy has been done for decades, centuries even, and all have shown it to have no effect. The demonstration, then, was showing that these pills are simply sugar – thus the only irresponsible aspect of the campaign was encouraging people to gorge on sugar.

    I’d love to know – in what way are off-the-shelf homeopathic pills bought from Boots ‘individualised’? I think that’s key – if homeopaths REALLY believe the individualisation is vital, they should be as against Boots selling generic, mass-produced pills as the 10:23 campaign are.


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