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.