Monday, 23 March 2015

Homeopathy skeptics fail to provide an arguable case


  The Canadian anti-Homeopathy organisation, 'Centre for Inquiry', (similar in aim and purpose to 'Sense about Science' in Britain), took out a class action against Boiron, the largest manufacturer of homeopathic remedies, in April 2012. After three years of legal wrangling, their case has been dismissed, thrown unceremoniously out of court!

Adanna Charles, of West Montreal, and her son, took does of Boiron's remeby, Oscillcochinnum, for influenza. She said there was no noticeable relief, so she decided to launch the suit. The Centre For Inquiry (CFI) was behind the action, sending out a press release encouraging people to join the class action, but later withdrawing it.

The purpose was clear. This was a legal attack on Boron, and the largest store selling homeopathic remedies, Shoppers Drug Mart). They wanted to make an example of them. They wanted to embarrass homeopathy. Iain Martell, then head of CFI's 'anti-homeopathy' said:

"If we win with this case, that sets an example for everyone else. A hefty fine against Boiron might lead other snake oil producers to be more careful in their labelling. And so on... until the next lawsuit." 

This was published in the Canadian Atheist, but again subsequently deleted.

The judgment of the Quebec Superior Court in January 2015 was damning.  Judge Louis Lacoursire completely rejected as evidence three opinion pieces by anti-homeopathy authors.

"...... the Court is reluctant to hold that there is an arguable case to be made that Oscillo products have no effect on the symptoms of flu sufferers strictly on the basis of these articles alone, notably because of the fact that Oscillo products have successfully met the requirements of Health Canada, have been approved for sale and, also, because these articles seem, at first glance, to be all out attacks on homeopathy."

The judge also criticised Adanna Charles, who he did not consider to be a suitable representative for other people who supposedly suffered damages from buying Oscillo products, because she did nothing about the supposed problem until she spotted the article about the American lawsuit about six months later.

As a result, Judge Lacoursire dismissed the suit and awarded Boiron costs. This means that Adanna Charles and her supporters in CFI may have to pay a substantial amount of Boiron's hefty legal bill.

This is a major victory for the homeopathic community against anti-homeopathic organisations, set up and funded (in part) by the pharmaceutical industry, in pursuit of solidifying their monopoly in most national health provision.

And, in the words of the judge, it shows once again the failure of the anti-homeopaths to come up with "an arguable case" in favour of their prejudice.