Homeopathy in Canada – the good, the bad and the ugly

By Michael Edmonds 19/02/2012

Although this clip is a year old it is an interesting glimpse at the state of homeopathy in Canada, where it appears to have a strong hold though clearly, like New Zealand, very few people appear to understand what is in (or more accurately what ISN’T in) homeopathic remedies.

It is good to see the media is investigating homeopathy and consulting scientists about its lack of validity, while also challenging supporters of homeopathy to explain how it “works”.

It is bad to see the Canadian government looking at regulating homeopathic remedies, as this lends undeserved legitimacy to this brand of pseudoscience. This is a similar approach to the way the New Zealand Government is currenty approaching traditional Chinese “medicine”.

And it is just plain ugly to see homeopaths justifying the use of homeopathy to “treat” polio. Although even the homeopath they asked didn’t seem sure, and was happy to make the use of such a remedy a matter of “choice” for the user. The lack of ethics in this statement turns my stomach.

Interviewer – “So this is to prevent polio in kids?”

Homeopath – “Mmm hmmm”

Interviewer – “Instead of a regular vaccine?”

Homeopath – “Umm, possibly … yeah, if that’s what people have chosen”

Excuse me, they are making their choices on YOUR advice. DOn’t try and weasel your way out of being responsible for the consequences of your poor advice!

Interviewer – “You’d be comfortable giving a child that?”

Homeopath – “Yes”

Interviewer – “To prevent polio?”

Homeopath – “Yeah”

Of course homeopaths are not thrilled with this scientific expose’ of their practice. Just check out the comments at this homeopathy resource site. It is, many of them claim, a conspiracy with big pharma behind it. What they seem to be overlooking is that one of the pro-homeopathy speakers was from Boiron, a company with a turnover of 313 million Euros in 2004. Furthermore, this spokesperson in defending her company’s profits, oops I mean homeopathy, made claims that homeopathic remedies contain active ingredients, a claim most homeopathic organisations tend to avoid.

Also, on the homeopathy resource site mentioned above, I noticed that all the comments are positive about homeopathy. It appears they regulate out negative comments. Unlike most science blog sites where opposing views are allowed so that honest debate can occur, this site, like most other pseudoscience site closeted itself away from different views. A further sign of the anti-scientific nature of this practice.

For those making submissions to the Natural Products Bill (submissions close on Feb 24th) it would be a good idea to look at how this Bill treats homeopathy. In Canada, it looks like they rely of the history of homeopathic remedies as evidence of legitimacy.

And for those of you who now feel you need something to laugh at try this one out – how to use homeopathy to speed up your computer.

0 Responses to “Homeopathy in Canada – the good, the bad and the ugly”

  • You are really talking old opinions here. And why would the Swiss government in an official and extensive report say that homeopathy is effective and safe? I think your bias arising from implausibility opinions are just plain old school science that has no basis in the scientific facts that Switzerland assessed in a positive way for homeopathy. You can joke about homeopathy, but the exorbitant cost of medical care and pharmaceutical deaths are the real area you should be assessing and opining about. But that would be too complicated and real for you.

  • DocWilliams,

    On the contrary I’m talking modern opinions based on both the implausibility of homeopathy AND the lack of evidence to support its use. You are the one promoting a “therapy” that was developed over 200 years ago and which hasn’t changed.
    Your information about Switzerland is incorrect. In 2005 after a 5 year trial the Swiss government withdrew insurance coverage for homeopathy on the basis that there was no evidence to show it was either efficacious or cost effective. This decision was only reversed by a referendum in 2009 and hoemopathy, along with 4 other alternative therapies is currently be re-evaluated again for political and not scientific reasons.
    So my “bias” arises from the lack of evidence to support homeopathy.
    You are of course correct that real medical treatments are more expensive than homeopathic remedies but then that is kind of obvious isn’t it. Drugs developed after many decades of research and clinical trials will of course cost more than bottles of “magic” water.

    “But that would be too complicated and real for you.”

    The bloggers here at sciblogs generally allow anyone to comment here (unlike most homeopath sites which are closed to other views through selective moderation). However, that is no reason to be rude.

    I am quite aware that deaths do occur as the result of drugs, however, most of these deaths occur when they are being used to treat diseases and injuries which will also kill the patient if left untreated.
    Because most homeopaths treat self limiting diseases then they can “play doctor” with their magic bottle of waters. However if, as you appear to believe, homeopathy is effective then WHERE ARE are the homeopathic cures for cancer, AIDS, septicemia, asthma, meningitis?