Monday, April 28, 2008

Neal's Yard withdraw Homeopathic Malaria pills - back-pedal back-peddle

Following the recent blog on this site and others about Neal's Yard Medicines Director, Susan Curtis trying to explain on BBC's Inside Out program how it was ethical to sell homeopathic malaria sugar pills, Neal's Yard have announced they are pulling the range with immediate effect:
The BBC’s Inside Out programme - Homoeopathy and Malaria (YouTube video here)
We love the BBC, but we all know from time to time they can be guilty of naughty editing, especially when it comes to showing people apparently storming ‘out’. Our Medicines Director Susan Curtis was interviewed for the Inside Out programme last week, and unfortunately a lot of what she was trying to say was not shown. The most important point, and something we are very passionate about, it that as our health is so important, we advise that people seek professional advice on all matters of health.

We know there have been no clinical trials for the use of homoeopathy in the prevention of malaria
but homoeopathy does have a good track record in preventing and treating other epidemic diseases.

No they don't - that is, in fact, a lie. Perhaps they would have pointed the interested customer to where details of this track record is?
Susan said that there is no absolute guarantee that you will not get malaria with any treatment and that the most important factor is to take measures to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

This is a fallacious argument - Product A is effective 99% of the time, Product B is effective 0% of the time. Conclusion: No absolute guarantee that you will not get malaria with any treatment. Neal's Yard do seem so treat their customers as simpletons, don't they?
We do not advertise or sell the remedy as a prevention for Malaria. It is supplied on request by practitioners working in Neals Yard Remedies stores, and in fact, the practitioners have been trained to always explain that the remedy should not be considered as a guarantee of prevention of malaria. The name of the remedy is based on its latin name and not on its claim to cure or prevent an ailment.

Weasel weasel weasel weasel weasel. Slippery words used to try and weasel out of the situation. I can't believe that it was written with any conviction - as I've written before, Quacks seem to be quite happy to change the normal meanings of words and conventions for their own ends. Hence we get Homeopaths saying "No, no, no, it specifically DOESN'T do what it says on the tin, it's just a name!", which in a way, is closer to the truth than they ever admit otherwise.
However, as this is obviously a contentious issue which is causing customer concern...

For 'contentious' read 'illegal' and 'immoral'.
... we have decided to withdraw the product, Malaria Officinalis 30c from sale with immediate effect.

Hoorah. All on their own. And nothing at all to do with Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) investigation, of which I look forward to hearing the outcome. EDITED TO ADD (06/05/08): Outcome of MHRA report here.

EDIT: The Quackometer has also done an excellent fisking of the press release here.

9 comments:

  1. play a game to send a net for free to struggle malaria:

    http://www.nothingbutnets.net/its-easy-to-help/wmd

    P.S: Note that Funds will be released for nets up to $200,000

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  2. "The name of the remedy is based on its latin name and not on its claim to cure or prevent an ailment."
    Jesus - do they really expect anyone to believe that? If Malaria tablets aren't for malaria then what are they for?

    You've got to love homeopathy - they sell malaria prophylaxis with no active ingredient then claim the tablets aren't really for malaria, they organise an AIDS symposium, they make up all kinds of spurious bullshit mechanisms of action for homeopathy (i.e., for something that has no mechanism of action - homeopathy simply doesn't work) and according to Gimpy's latest post they think it's your fault if you get ill. Absolutely bloody twisted.

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  3. I should track down my Latin teacher. Obviously, incorrectly and inaccurately, she told me that Plasmodium was the new Latin (with bits of Greek) for the important part of malaria. Not just a Classics graduate at fault here though, I'm been fed the same tissue of lies by text-book authors and lecturers. Hopefully, now I'm better informed by the scholars of Neal's Yard, I'm still mentally flexible enough to benefit.

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  4. Homeopathy cures where Convenntional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails

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  5. Thanks for the comment Nancy! Although, you'll understand it's not very helpful. It does confirm homeopaths and alternative medicine practioner's practice of changing the meanings or definitions of words or phrases for their own end. See also "phenotype".

    Oh, and there is still (after 200 years) no proof that homeopathy is better than placebo, despite there being a lot of money to be made, Nobel prizes to be won, and a place in history of similar size to Genghis Khan.

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  6. Homeopathic medicines (prepared from many natural substances such as herbs and minerals) used in the times (200 yrs back) of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (father of homeopathy) are used even today because of their efficacy.

    Not one or two but millions and millions of patients world wide is the best evedince

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  7. Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I think I agree with most of what you say, but for the opposite reason!

    Homeopathic medicines (prepared from many natural substances such as herbs and minerals) used in the times (200 yrs back) of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (father of homeopathy) are used even today because of their efficacy.

    That efficacy is non-existent (as is clear) so, sure, why not use the same things as Hahnemann.

    Not one or two but millions and millions of patients world wide is the best evidence

    Exactly. Not a shred of efficacy. Just wishful thinking, regression to the mean, placebo etc etc.

    T

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  8. efficacy is extreme effectiveness

    homeopathy is a safe alternative to the side effects produce by "western medicine" ie: OPV Oral Polio Vaccine contains live virus. Homeo pathy shares the same concept as vaccines and antivenoms which contain small amounts of the poison itself

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  9. An NHS doctor has advised me to treat my daughter's skin condition, Molluscum Contagiosum, with malaria officinalis 30c, as he's found it to be a highly effective cure for something conventional medicine hasn't been able to remedy. We were expecting the virus to last up to three years as she has a particularly severe case, so I was delighted to hear of this homeopathic alternative. I hope I can get hold of it.
    jess

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