Thursday, 26 April 2012

World Homeopathy Awareness Week

Source: WorldHomeopathy

Okay, so I missed the actual week (April 10 - 16), but I feel that I really should make a contribution to the World Homeopathy Awareness Week. After all, it is an important area that needs the facts of its effects highlighting.

The Committee published ' Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy', HC 45, its Fourth Report of Session 2009-10, on Monday 22 February 2010. The report included the oral and written evidence.
In a report published today, the Science and Technology Committee concludes that the NHS should cease funding homeopathy. It also concludes that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should not allow homeopathic product labels to make medical claims without evidence of efficacy. As they are not medicines, homeopathic products should no longer be licensed by the MHRA.
The Committee carried out an evidence check to test if the Government’s policies on homeopathy were based on sound evidence. The Committee found a mismatch between the evidence and policy. While the Government acknowledges there is no evidence that homeopathy works beyond the placebo effect (where a patient gets better because of their belief in the treatment), it does not intend to change or review its policies on NHS funding of homeopathy.
The Committee concurred with the Government that the evidence base shows that homeopathy is not efficacious (that is, it does not work beyond the placebo effect) and that explanations for why homeopathy would work are scientifically implausible.
The Committee concluded-given that the existing scientific literature showed no good evidence of efficacy-that further clinical trials of homeopathy could not be justified.
In the Committee’s view, homeopathy is a placebo treatment and the Government should have a policy on prescribing placebos. The Government is reluctant to address the appropriateness and ethics of prescribing placebos to patients, which usually relies on some degree of patient deception. Prescribing of placebos is not consistent with informed patient choice-which the Government claims is very important-as it means patients do not have all the information needed to make choice meaningful.
Beyond ethical issues and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship, prescribing pure placebos is bad medicine. Their effect is unreliable and unpredictable and cannot form the sole basis of any treatment on the NHS.
The report also examines the MHRA licensing regime for homeopathic products.  The Committee is particularly concerned over the introduction of the National Rules Scheme (NRS) in 2006, as it allows medical indications on the basis of study reports, literature and homeopathic provings and not on the basis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) - the normal requirement for medicines that make medical claims.
The MHRA’s user-testing of the label for Arnica Montana 30C-the only product currently licensed under the NRS-was poorly designed, with some parts of the test little more than a superficial comprehension test of the label and other parts actively misleading participants to believe that the product contains an active ingredient.
The product labelling for homeopathic products under all current licensing schemes fails to inform the public that homeopathic products are sugar pills containing no active ingredients. The licensing regimes and deficient labelling lend a spurious medical legitimacy to homeopathic products.
The Chairman of the Committee, Phil Willis MP, said:
"This was a challenging inquiry which provoked strong reactions. We were seeking to determine whether the Government’s policies on homeopathy are evidence based on current evidence. They are not.
"It sets an unfortunate precedent for the Department of Health to consider that the existence of a community which believes that homeopathy works is 'evidence' enough to continue spending public money on it. This also sends out a confused message, and has potentially harmful consequences. We await the Government's response to our report with interest.”

Homeopathy, which many doctors argue has an effect only in the mind of the believer, cost the cash-strapped NHS £12m over three years, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The following was culled from 'What's the harm?';

Jacqueline Alderslade

Age: 55
Hollymount, County Mayo, Ireland
Died (asthma attack)
July 9, 2001
A homeopath told her to give up her asthma medication. She later died of an asthma attack. Read more & more

Lorie Atikian

Age: 17 months
Ontario, Canada
Died (malnutrition, pneumonia)
September 25, 1987
Lorie's parents, concerned about modern food additives, were advised to give her an organic vegetarian diet. She was also treated with herbal & homeopathic remedies and an energy machine. Her parents were convicted of neglect. Read more

Cameron Ayres

Age: 6 months
Fulham, west London, England
May 1999
Cameron was born with a rare but treatable disorder, but his parents distrusted conventional medicine. A nurse/homeopath begged them to take him to a doctor, but they refused. He died. Read more & more

Heather Charles

Bloomsbury, Central London, England
Inadequate treatment
June 8, 2002
She saw a doctor for a throat infection and an injured ankle. The doctor used dowsing to select a homeopathic remedy. Her throat did not improve and she had to get antibiotics in another city. The doctor was disciplined. Read more & more

Photo of Sylvie Cousseau

Sylvie Cousseau

Age: 41
Paris, France
March 31, 2001
Sylvie was diagnosed HIV positive, but pursued alternative treatments for her disease including homeopathy, acupuncture and drinking her own urine. She eventually died of AIDS. Read more & more & more

Lucille Craven

Age: 54
Pelham, New Hampshire
Died (untreated cancer)
Lucille concealed the diagnosis of breast cancer from her family. She secretly consulted a naturopath and took homeopathic remedies. She also used quack treatments like blood irradiation. Her cancer raged out of control and she died. Read more

Photo of Isabella Denley

Isabella Denley

Age: 13 months
Kew, Victoria, Australia
Died (untreated epilepsy)
October 19, 2002
Isabella was prescribed medications for her epilepsy. Instead of using them, her parents consulted an iridologist, an applied kinesiologist, a psychic and an osteopath. She was being treated purely with homeopathic medication when she died. Read more & more

Ralph Gonzalez

Anthem, Arizona
Ralph went in for outpatient cosmetic surgery. The doctor performing his liposuction was actually a homeopath. Instead of looking better, Ralph ended up dead. Read more

Mahendra Gundawar & 6 others

Chandrapur, India
Three dead, seven blinded
December 14, 2007
Gundawar was a homeopath who sold a new tonic, recently introduced on the market, that was supposed to reduce fatigue. He himself died, along with several of his patients. Several others were blinded, and other cases occured elsewhere in India. Read more & more

President Warren G. Harding

Age: 57
Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California
August 2, 1923
Despite the misgivings of a physician, his personal homeopath let him do arduous tasks and speak in the heat. When he had a bout of food poisoning, the homeopath applied heavy doses of purgatives to flush out toxins. He died. No autopsy was done. Read more & more

Jeff Healey (musician)

Age: 41
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Time wasted on useless treatments
March 2, 2008
In 2007 Healey underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue from his legs and both lungs. Radiation and chemotherapy failed to halt the spread of the disease, as did alternative homeopathic treatment in the U.S. this year. Read more

Paul Howie

Age: 49
South Mayo, Ireland
Died (untreated cancer)
April 22, 2003
A natural health therapist & homeopath told Paul and his wife that he would die if he used conventional medicine. The treatable tumor in his neck grew to the point where he died of suffocation. Read more & more

Photo of Russell Jenkins

Russell Jenkins

Age: 52
Southsea, Hampshire, England
Died (untreated wound)
April 17, 2007
After stepping on an electric plug, he self-treated the wound on his foot using honey on the advice of his homeopath. A diabetic, his foot became gangrenous. He died, but doctors said if he'd sought help just 2 hours earlier he could have been saved. Read more & more

Kira Jinkinson

Age: 11 months
Bloomsbury, Central London, England
Misdiagnosed gastroenteritis
October 22, 2000
Kira had an upset stomach. Her doctor used dowsing to choose a homeopathic remedy, claiming that geopathic stress patterns beneath her home were to blame. The baby was later found to be suffering from gastroenteritis. The doctor was disciplined. Read more & more

Coretta Scott King (civil rights)

Age: 78
Rosarito, Mexico
Last days spent on pointless treatments
January 30, 2006
She was the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a respected civil rights leader herself. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and sought out alternative therapies from a clinic in Mexico. She died there of complications. Read more & more & more

Christopher Lemonius

Bloomsbury, Central London, England
Inadequate treatment
June 13, 2002
He saw a doctor for a sore throat and was prescribed homeopathic remedies. Later at a hospital he was diagnosed with a throat infection and abcess. The doctor was disciplined. Read more & more

Charles Levy

Patagonia, Arizona
He was injected with "bovine adrenal fluid" as a treatment for fatigue. He developed a gas gangrene infection and died. The family sued and settled out of court. The homeopathic board dismissed a complaint against the practitioner. Read more

Francesca "Chex" Linke

Age: 37
Los Angeles, California
Died (untreated cancer)
March 27, 1986
She rejected traditional treatments for her breast cancer, instead choosing homeopathy. The eulogy at her funeral was later made into a one-man play called "Time Flies When You're Alive" which was shown on HBO. Read more & more

Susannah McCorkle (Jazz singer)

Age: 55
New York City, New York
May 19, 2001
She battled depression all her life, but stopped taking antidepressants due to side effects. She consulted a homeopath instead. After a setback she promised a friend she would take the Tegretol that had been prescribed. Four days later she was dead. Read more

Sylvia Millecam (actress)

Age: 45
Boxmeer, Netherlands
Died (untreated cancer)
August 19, 2001
A popular television personality, she sought out alternative therapies for her breast cancer, including a new age psychic healer. Two of her physicians were later barred permanently from medical practice. Read more & more

Mary Nedlouf

Orlando, Florida
Sold useless treatments for her cancer, died
When her cancer recurred and was declared inoperable, she turned to a homeopathic physician. He prescribed thousands of dollars of treatments and claimed she was being cured, and yet her cancer raged out of control. Read more

Sarah Parkinson (actress)

Age: 41
East Sussex, England
Died (untreated breast cancer)
September 23, 2003
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was concerned that chemotherapy would prevent her from using IVF to start a family. Instead she used acupuncture, spiritual healing, homeopathy and Johrei to treat it. Read more & more

Charles Paynter

Age: 68
Columbus, Ohio
Hospitalized with kidney failure
He saw a chiropractor for help with his back pain. He was treated with heat, herbs, tonics and homeopathy. Three days after his last treatment, he was rushed to a hospital and barely recovered. A judgment for $147,500 was awarded by a court. Read more

Diane Picha

Janesville, Wisconsin
Died (untreated cancer)
April 2000
When her cancer recurred, Diane tried homeopathic treatment. She was sold unapproved substances and a machine. After she died, her daughter sued the practitioner. Read more

Janeza Podgoršek

Age: 42
Trboje, Slovenia
Died (malaria)
A physician/homeopath advised him to use homoepathic preventatives for malaria prior to a trip to Africa. After he returned with the disease she continued to treat him with homeopathy. He died. Her license was revoked and she got two years probation. Read more

Paula Radcliffe (athlete)

Age: 32
Athens, Greece
Olympic medal attempts ruined
August 22, 2004
She is a British athlete. Weeks before the 2004 Athens Olympics, a doctor injected her with a homeopathic remedy for a leg injury. The treatments allegedly caused a stomach ailment that forced her to withdraw from the marathon after 23 miles. Read more & more

Robert A. Rizzi

Age: 48
Norfolk, Virginia
His Hodgkin's disease recurred but he did not want to do chemotherapy again. His oncologist treated him with homeopathic remedies instead. After he died, a lawsuit resulted in a judgement of $235,715. Read more

Katie Ross

Age: 16
Las Vegas, Nevada
She was suffering from colitis but her mother chose to treat it homeopathically. She was down to 50 pounds when child services intervened. She was hospitalized and her colon had to be surgically removed. A judge ruled neglect. Read more

Alicia Santizo

Anthem, Arizona
Alicia went in for outpatient cosmetic surgery. The procedure was performed by a homeopath. Instead of looking better, Alicia ended up dead. Read more

Diane Shepherd

Provo, Utah
Died (untreated cancer)
October 20, 2004
She refused surgery for breast cancer and went to a naturopath. There she was diagnosed using muscle tests, treated with an energy machine and given homeopathic remedies. She died within five months. The naturopath was arrested. Read more

Malka Sitner

Age: 1
Ashdod, Israel
May 28, 2006
Police believe her parents disregarded a doctor's prescription of antibiotics and took her to a homeopath instead. She died. Because autopsies are forbidden amongst her family's ultra-Orthodox sect, an angry mob stole her body and secretly buried it Read more

Gloria Thomas

Age: 9 months
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Died (untreated infection)
May 8, 2002
Gloria was diagnosed with eczema at four months. Her father, who taught and practiced homeopathy, treated her using that instead. She died of sepsis caused by broken skin due to her eczema. Read more & more & more

Jaspar Tomlinson

Age: 0
London, England
Brain injury during childbirth
December 2004
Jaspar's father is one of England's leading naturopaths. He was warned by a GP that his wife's pregnancy could end in stillbirth. At home, the "homeopathy assisted" birth went horribly wrong. He suffered brain damage and now has cerebral palsy. Read more & more

Dennis Vickery

Age: 54
Wick End, Stagsden, Bedford, England
Pointless dental surgery while near death
November 8-9, 2004
He was dying of motor neuron disease, but a homeopath convinced him it was actually caused by mercury from his fillings. Knowing he was near death and could be killed by anaesthetic, his toxin-obsessed dentist replaced them. He died 16 days later. Read more & more

Lady Victoria Waymouth or "Ms. A"

Age: 57
southern France
September 1, 2004
In a telephone & email consultation (with no physical exam), an alternative care doctor told her to discontinue any other medication and use homeopathic remedies. Within days she died of heart failure. The doctor was suspended for a year. Read more & more & more

Lisa Weatherington & 339 others

Age: 50
Phoenix, Arizona
Anosmia (loss of sense of smell)
January 19, 2006
The makers of Zicam, a "homeopathic" cold remedy, settled 340 lawsuits by consumers who claimed it damaged or destroyed their sense of smell. The company did not admit guilt but paid out $12 million. Read more

1 melanoma patient

Jerusalem, Israel
Delayed treatment, worsening disease
Homeopatthy Read more

33 breast cancer patients

Karachi, Pakistan
Delayed treatment, worsening disease
This study found that many breast cancer patients in Pakistan delayed medical treatment in favor of homeopathic remedies. Read more

5 women

Age: 26,34,39,40,57
Nov 1994 - Jan 1995
This report found 5 women who used a homeopathic preventative instead of conventional medicine prior to a trip to Africa. On return, all five had malaria. Read more

"C.C." (woman)

Age: 45
West Palm Beach, Florida
Improper treatment, infection
December 1995 - January 1996
Her "biological dentist" performed many unnecessary procedures on her including removing amalgam fillings and treating her with "autonomic response testing" and homeopathy. His license was revoked five years later. Read more

"John Doe"

Age: 84
Westmount, Quebec, Canada
June 13, 2008
He was injected with a mineral solution by his homeopath/naturopath. He died the next day of a heart attack, and it was ruled a homicide. The naturopath faces charges. Read more & more

"L. R."

Age: 51
Anthem, Arizona
July 3, 2007
She went in for outpatient cosmetic surgery. Her procedure was actually performed by a homeopath. Instead of looking better, she died. Read more

"Jane Roe"

Age: 1
Wellington, New Zealand
Died (untreated meningitis)
The mother refused antibiotics for the baby's ear infection, preferring homeopathic advice. The baby grew more ill and was eventually hospitalized with meningitis. The baby died. Read more

"Jane Roe"

Age: 40
Nice, France
Malaria, multiple organ failure
November 18, 2000
This case report is about a woman who used a homeopathic malaria preventative, but contracted malaria. At one point she suffered multiple organ failure. Read more & more

Are you aware now?

Tris Stock is a secular atheist, sceptic, pop-philosopher and writer trying very hard to build up a following with a view to one day make an income from doing what he loves. Please follow him on Google+Twitter and Facebook.

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