As Mr. Topp has blogged previously, there is going to be a protest regarding the sale of Homeopathic remedies by Boots. The 10:23 site has many links and stories regarding why Homeopathy is a) useless b) bad.
I wasn’t intending on joining the protest originally, mainly because I never protest anything but decided to go as I was going to the Trick or Treatment lectures that day at Conway Hall anyway. The protest has been receiving considerable cover; all the major UK papers have covered it, with opinions ranging from that held by the organizers to ‘what harm will it do?’
Well. I suppose in the end, it really does no harm to those that take it (unless they suffer from a nocebo effect), and perhaps they may benefit from the placebo effect, or a sugar rush. It is quite funny, I have my bottle of 30C Belladonna and it has NO active ingredients. It states: 84 Sucrose/lactose pillules. As well as ‘A homeopathic medicinal product without approved therapeutic indications.’ I seriously can’t believe that they can get away with charging almost £5 a bottle. And its a tiny bottle, more like a Smarties tube rather than a bottle of pills. I suppose eating a tube of smarties would have the same sugar rush effect as my 30C Belladonna.
But there is harm. One only has to gasp in disbelief and horror at the High Dose Vitamin treatment offered in South Africa for treatment of HIV/AIDS. Or the anti-Vaccination crowd bringing back in fashion easily preventable childhood illnesses. Alternative treatments, in that light, are certainly very, very harmful.
If people want to believe in homeopathic or other remedies, fine. Just don’t call them ‘treatments, medicine, medicinal etc.’ because they are not. It’s faith healing in the end. They shouldn’t even be in the pharmacy for the credit it lends them. I understand the perils and problems within modern medical science and the huge quagmire of scary that is the pharmaceutical industry but in the end, if I’m ill or injured, they fix me. There is an entire infrastructure testing, developing, (marketing, sadly), researching and improving the rates of survival for many diseases and injuries. I don’t think any alternative therapies invest in such things (there are some tiny studies that demonstrate its effectiveness to be similar to the placebo effect though).
But for every alternative remedy that survives and is essentially funded by these quack medicines being sold, the more likely people like Matthias Rath can peddle vitamin pills as a cure for AIDS. So, that in the end is why I decided to do this protest. Wincing at the fact that we had to buy them (we tried to buy them ironically but the cashier didn’t understand the joke), I will be taking my sugar pills with water at 10:23 on January 30th. To be fair, I”ll need the sugar, I’m out late the night before at a concert
If I survive, which I’m fairly confident I will, I’ll regale you all with tales of sugar pill popping and scepticism.