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Tuesday 11 September 2012

When EVERYONE should give up on Homeopathy!

Homeopathy denialists, no doubt at the behest of Big Pharma, and Conventional Medicine, insist that Homeopathy cannot work, and does not work; that people like myself are 'deluded'. One what basis, one denialist has asked me recently, would I admit that I am wrong, and agree with him that Homeopathy, as a Medical Therapy, does not work?

It is an excellent question, and one deserving of an answer!

First, supporters of Homeopathy (like myself) would want scientific proof that repudiates our own personal experience. I have had 3 significant medical conditions, Gastric Ulcers, Migraines, and Heart Palpitations. They have each been treated successfully by Homeopathy.

This is an experience similar to many people. Homeopathy has worked for them, and has done so often when conventional, drug-based treatment has failed, often for many years, and sometimes for decades.

Indeed, our experience of the effectiveness of Homeopathy has been shared by literally millions of people, throughout every continent of the world, for over 200 years.

And to these people, we would have to add the animals, both pets and farm livestock, who have been seen to benefit from Homeopathy too.

Homeopathy Denialists just deny these experiences. They just did not happen. They make firm, definitive statements which are not more than 'personal opinions', given without evidence, and usually without even knowing the individual concerned, and his/her medical condition. The denials of Denialists take these forms, and each can be found within this blog:

* The condition healed itself, some kind of 'natural remission' that, strangely, did not happen during the years of conventional medical (ConMed) treatment.
* The connection between getting well and homeopathic treatment was just coincidental.
* We are just mistaken. It was not homeopathy that has made us well.
* We are lying, no such thing ever happened.

So, my first pre-condition for agreeing with Denialists that Homeopathy does not work is this.

I would want to see proper evidence (perhaps from Randomised Controlled Trials - RCTs) that shows that we, all of us, are wrong in making the connection between homeopathy and overcoming illness, and that denialists are correct.

In other words, I would need to be assured that Denialists were approaching the subject of health from a scientific, rather than a commercial point of view. Most denialists claim to be 'scientists', or 'science supporters'. What they need to bear in mind, therefore, is that the first duty of any proper scientist is to observe what is happening in the world. With respect to the millions who (claim to) have benefitted from Homeopathy, this has to be honestly observed, and receive an appropriate (scientific) response. The task of Science, and the purpose of any scientific endeavour, is then to explain what it has observed. Mere denial - for example, it did not happen, or homeopathy did not play a role - is not acceptable.

Second, I would like to see some convincing comparative studies showing that Homeopathy was less successful, in terms of patient outcome, than conventional, drug-based medicine. It has always appeared strange to me that a system of medicine that considers itself so superior to Homeopathy (and other CAM therapies) has never challenged Homeopathy to undertake such trials. Certainly, any comparative studies I have seen, mostly done during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and mainly concerned with the treatment of infectious diseases in epidemics, have show that Homeopathy is far superior to ConMed treatment in terms of outcome for patients.

Third, I would need to see that scientific evidence that is now contained within the Homeopathic Materia Medica (HMM) is wrong, or in some way inaccurate. The HMM explains and describes the conditions each remedy produces, given in their normal state, and therefore (on the basis of the principle of 'Like Curing Like') what conditions each remedy can cure. There are some 3,000 to 4,000 remedy descriptions within the HMM, all painstakingly researched, some of them over 200 years, and within the discipline of Herbalism, no doubt very much longer.

Fourth, I would like to see scientific evidence that proves that the central tenet of Homeopathy, that 'Like Cures Like', or providing to patients a 'similar' remedy that matches their symptoms, does not, in fact, successfully treat those medical symptoms.

The fifth pre-condition concerns the safety of the patient. The first four conditions for my 'giving up' on Homeopathy' are concerned with the effectiveness of Homeopathy. But safety issues are also important for me, and most other Homeopathy supporters.

We do not want to be subjected to a medical system that is dangerous. 

"First, do no  harm" is (or at least should be) a primary pre-condition for any medical therapy, or any medical practitioner. Many, indeed an ever-increasing number of people, are now refusing to take ConMed drugs because of their long, disastrous, and infamous history of causing harm to patients.

Big Pharma drugs cause disease.
And they cause death.
And they have a long and dreadful history of doing so.

So, if Denialists are able to provide me with proper (RCT?) evidence that convinces me that Homeopathy is equally unsafe, that it causes disease and death to the same degree as ConMed, then I would gladly abandon my commitment to Homeopathy.

The sixth pre-condition concerns cost. ConMed has always been the most expensive medicine, dealing is has alway done with powerful, noxious poisonous substances. The costs entailed in making these 'medicines' palatable to the human body has proven too much, and led to medication whose costs are now so astronomical they are threatening to bankrupt national health services around the world. Homeopathy, on the other hand, has just one major cost - the skill and expertise of the Homeopath. The remedies cost little, certainly nothing approaching the exorbitant cost of some of the 'modern' Big Pharma drugs. I would, therefore, need Homeopath Denialist to offer some kind of evidence that ConMed was likely to become affordable, either to governments that support national health schemes, and/or to poorer people in the Third World.

Seventh, and very much the least important, is that I would want an explanation for why Homeopathy Denialists are denying the existence and importance of about 200-250 RCT trials that show Homeopathy to be capable of treating illness and disease successfully. This method is, after all, the denialist's 'method of choice', but by continuing to repeat their mantra's .....

- 'Homeopathy does not work' .....
- 'Homeopathy cannot work' .....
- 'Homeopathy is no better than placebo', etc.,

..... they continue to ignore and discount this large, and increasing body of evidence. Moreover, in doing so, I would want the Homeopathy Denialists to inform my why the Shang meta-analysis, to which they refer so often, was not deeply flawed, and why they fail to acknowledge the existence of the four other important meta-analysis on Homeopathy that have demonstrated positive results.

Finally, Homeopathy Denialists would have to convince me that they were not acting in the commercial interests of Big Pharma, and that they are not paid and guided by organisations like 'Sense about Science', which are funded by drug companies, and little more than a 'front' organisation for their propaganda. In addition, some recognition that recent evidence of massive Big Pharma fraud and corruption, with respect to the evidence of drug trials, the peddling of drugs they know to be dangerous, the financial 'incentives' (bribes) given to government and medical authorities, as well as the Media's silence on these scandals, mean that too many patients are being given too many dangerous drugs that are ?detrimental to their health.

Other than that, I require nothing further. I trust I shall be receiving this evidence in due course. Until such time, I will put my 'farewell' to the Homeopathic Community on hold.