Wednesday, January 6, 2016

According to Consumer Reports, homeopathy is an emperor with no clothes

Two days ago I blogged about Will homeopathic Natrium Muriaticum reduce stage fright? How could that work?

The 10:23 Campaign has a web page titled Why You Can’t Trust Homeopathy that briefly discusses the following ten points:

It doesn’t work.
It couldn’t work.
It’s a waste of your money.
It’s a waste of everybody’s money.

It's a waste of your time.
It’s a waste of everybody’s time.
There are alternatives to this alternative.
It’s not what it says on the label.
It detracts from medicine.
It has abused its placebo privileges.

A placebo is something inert, like plain sugar pills, that is used as a comparison in a clinical trial of a medical treatment. It is there to keep us from fooling ourselves.

On December 21, 2015 at the Washington Post web site there was an article from Consumer Reports titled Homeopathic drugs: No better than placebos? A section titled Does homeopathy work? stated:

“....Yet after reviewing 176 studies, the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia this year found that homeopathics worked no better than placebos, concluding that ‘there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.’ ”

and then concluded:

“...after evaluating many reliable studies, including comprehensive, independent reviews of the research, Consumer Reports’ medical experts conclude that homeopathic preparations are no more effective than a placebo.”

A typical response to this gloomy news from homeopaths would be to attack the organization as shills for BIG PHARMA. That won’t work against Consumers Union, who are independent and only draw conclusions based on their own tests or other reliable evidence. 

They were not the only ones to discuss that Australian report. Two days later at the Science-Based Medicine web site Steven Novella had an article titled Continuing Battle over Homeopathy. He concluded that:

“...Homeopathy cannot work and does not work.”

On January 4, 2016 Dr. Edzard Ernst posted a web article titled The place of the history books! He concluded that it finally was time for homeopaths to sit down and shut up:

“What place does homeopathy have in medical schools? Its place is in the history books of medicine! Even homeopathic optimists cannot reasonably doubt this answer. Systematic research in cooperation between experienced homeopaths and university-based methodologists complying with the currently accepted quality standards has filled the gaps in our knowledge, particularly in respect to the proof of homeopathy’s clinical effectiveness. Now it is up to homeopaths to demonstrate that they are sufficiently responsible to adapt to this new knowledge in the best interest of their patients. If they don’t, they cannot be considered to be members of the community of ethical health care professionals. ”

The image of an almost naked emperor was adapted from a WPA poster at the Library of Congress for a play based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes.

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