Thursday, March 4, 2010

HA! Ha! Nelson's Natural World forced to change website by MHRA

Hot off the heels of the 10:23 campaign and the UK Parliamentary Science & Technology "Evidence Check" on homeopathy, a major UK supplier of homeopathic products has been investigated by the MHRA Enforcement Division, and forced to make website changes.

Nelson's had previously stated that their homeopathic product 30c Sulphur
is known amongst homeopaths for its many skin benefits.

This is, of course, not in keeping with the UK legislation on homeopathic products which says that homeopathic products not licensed under the EU's National Rules Scheme must not provide therapeutic indications but bear the legend:
“This is a homeopathic medicinal product without approved therapeutic indications.”

The website now looks like this.

Of course Nelson's know that therapeutic indications are not allowed when selling or marketing homeopathic products, and yet didn't seem to have an issue with disregarding the legislation. I know they know this, because in the UK, there is only one homeopathic product licensed with the MHRA under the National Rules Scheme which is allowed to state therapeutic indications - guess who it's made by? Indeed - Nelson's. Their Arnicare 30c Arnica was licensed by the MHRA last July, some 18 months after the application by Nelson's.

I would have thought that a homeopathic pill supplier, such as Nelson's, leading the way in the industry by providing the necessary documentation over a period of 18 months to the MHRA, would have known the legislation pretty well and known that selling homeopathic remedies with therapeutic indications is not acceptable in the UK. Seems not - it's very tempting to suggest they knew *exactly* what they were doing, but with the UK's libel laws as they are, I'll not be making that suggestion.

In reality, the new website is an example of silly, pointless legislation. On one hand, Nelson's aren't allowed to describe any symptoms that the sugar pills are supposedly an aid for, but must state:
"If symptoms worsen or persist, consult a doctor"

Symptoms? What symptoms? I can't say, but take these pills until they clear up!

In any case, Nelson's are in good company - a similar event happened in Oct 09, when Boots were similarly forced to amend their website in accordance with UK legislation. Indeed, an email I've seen from the MHRA says that due to the number of 'non-compliant' websites, they will be releasing a guidance document on the advertising of homeopathic products. I wouldn't hold your breath though, it's taken them 4 months to get Nelson's to change their website, imagine how long a document will take....



  1. There are plenty of examples of apparently, therapeutic claims for homeopathic products, but would the MHRA investigate any of these?

    Example 1: Aconite 6c & 30c, taken from

    "It can be used to aid most minor ailments and conditions such as coughs, colds, aches and pains..."

    Example 2: Arnica 30c, taken from

    "Can be used to help shock, pain, bleeding, bruising & other injuries or physical exhaustion following sustained exercise. It is also given for emotional shock, i.e.bereavement & denial of illness or suffering."

    Example 3: Arnica 30c, taken from

    "Renowned homeopathic product thought to aid healing
    To aid the healing of tears, cuts & brusing after birth or healing after a c-section
    This is a homoeopathic medicinal product
    (Without approved therapeutic indications)"

    Example 4: Sulphur 30c, taken from

    "Sulphur is mainly used to treat all conceivable skin problems, which are worse for warmth, washing, with temporary relief from scratching. Other symptoms may be early morning diarrhoea, vomiting, and hunger pains around 11.00 a.m. Sulphur is also given for mental stress, irritability, depression, fevers, headaches, conjunctivitis."

  2. The MHRA already has a sample (about 25) websites that are providing therapuetic indications like the ones you give.

    Of course, it wouldn't hurt for them to hear about more :)