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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the healing-crystals-considered-harmful dept.

Australia 408

jones_supa (887896) writes "Homeopathy is a 200-year-old form of alternative medicine based on the principle that substances that produce symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick person. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia has officially declared that homeopathic remedies are useless for human health. The body today released a guide for doctors (PDF) on how to talk to their patients about the lack of evidence for many such therapies. Doctors will also be told to warn patients of possible interactions between alternative and conventional medicines. On top of that, the council has produced a 300-page draft report that reviews the evidence for homoeopathy in treating 68 clinical conditions. It concludes 'there is no reliable evidence that homoeopathy is effective for treating health conditions'.

Representing the opposite viewpoint, Australian Homeopathic Association spokesman Greg Cope said he was disappointed at the narrow evidence relied on by the NHMRC in its report. 'What they have looked at is systematic trials for named conditions when that is not how homeopathy works,' he said. Homeopathy worked on the principle of improving a person's overall health and wellness, and research such as a seven-year study conducted in Switzerland was a better measure of its usefulness, he added. There are about 10,000 complementary medicine products sold in Australia but most consumers are unaware they are not evaluated by the domestic medicines safety watchdog before they are allowed on the market."

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If this were the US.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703957)

The Republicans would immediately pounce on this as an invasion of religious freedom, file a lawsuit and start ranting about Obamacare.

Re:If this were the US.... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#46704123)

So you're meta-complaining?

Re:If this were the US.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704211)

Yeah...because its Republicans who are into homeopathy, healing crystals and all that mystical unicorn feel-good hippy bullshit.

Re:If this were the US.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704415)

homeopathy, healing crystals and all that mystical unicorn feel-good hippy bullshit.

Well, that's one way of describing Christianity. Still awaiting repeatability on water-into-wine.

(TBH the Jesus character was a fairly decent superhero - reminds me of Crash Test Dummies' "Superman Song". But so many of his followers are cunts. What's up with that?)

Re:If this were the US.... (2, Insightful)

sageres (561626) | about 4 months ago | (#46704359)

STOP. JUST FUCKING STOP!!!! Why do you have to turn every fucking news into a political commentary? Just to troll people? Or just to make yourself feel better? You just made a few people sick regardless of your political affiliations, you asshole.

Re:If this were the US.... (2, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 4 months ago | (#46704537)

This is a political topic, whether you want it to be or not. It's politics that allows this sort of crap to persist in the US because people should be allowed to do whatever they want, up to and including completely ripping off their fellow man.

Re:If this were the US.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704553)

people should be allowed to do whatever they want, up to and including completely ripping off their fellow man.

This kind of bullshit reminds me that you don't need to find a god to be a whacko religious fundamentalist.

The spokesman for the AHA said... (5, Insightful)

Roxoff (539071) | about 4 months ago | (#46703961)

"There are about 10,000 complementary medicine products sold in Australia but most consumers are unaware they are not evaluated by the domestic medicines safety watchdog before they are allowed on the market." Why on Earth would you ever submit a product to the medicines watchdog when it doesn't contain medicine? You might as well ask them to evaluate the effects of Heinz Tomato Soup as a medicinal recipe. It does bring feelings of well-being and contentment, you know.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46704063)

Because not all of them are intentional frauds. Just like most pastors firmly believe in god(why did I have to go there?) many homeopaths firmly believe in their system of medicine. Others of each group are intentional frauds who see dollar signs, and have no qualms with manipulating suckers.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (5, Insightful)

symes (835608) | about 4 months ago | (#46704237)

Substituting one god for another isn't going to effect your well-being to any great extent. Substituting homeopathy for medicine will.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46704295)

Sure, but the problem is that (some/many of) the people doing this aren't aware that they're affecting anyone's well being(except positively). And the rest will lie through any amount of interrogation over it, because sociopaths don't have any issue with lying, normally.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#46704421)

In my experience, sociopaths find it extremely difficult to lie.

I grow bamboo, by the way. Would you like some in a pot?

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 4 months ago | (#46704393)

Might do, move from Hindi to Jehovah's Witness and then need a life saving blood transfusion would have a serious impact on your health.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704531)

As well as switching from the religion of peace to, well, anything else.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (0)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 4 months ago | (#46704469)

Mmmm... when one actually listens to what the different gods say, yep, it does, whether positively or negatively iis another discussion though ^^

As for homeopathy vs medicine, I'm actually not convinced either way. I spent my youth on homeopathy w/o any major issues, and now that i'm sick, neither homeopathy nor commercial medicine are much help. I think even a placebo effect is enough in a lot of cases, and that commercial medicine is often akin to an elephant in a glassware store, randomly wreaking havoc while looking for an elusive cure.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 4 months ago | (#46704513)

Substituting one god for another isn't going to effect your well-being to any great extent. Substituting homeopathy for medicine will.

That entirely depends upon which "god" you substitute.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (3, Funny)

coinreturn (617535) | about 4 months ago | (#46704559)

Substituting one god for another isn't going to effect your well-being to any great extent. Substituting homeopathy for medicine will.

Rumor is that abandoning Islam is reason for a death sentence.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

hamvil (1186283) | about 4 months ago | (#46704297)

I did not know that medicine was about believing... So, I'll start believing that i do not have the flu. Let's see if this works.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704477)

And that's why homeopathy continues.

Homeopathy is indistinguishable from, "Take good holistic care of yourself and keep psychologically strong!" - two important pieces of advice which are significant to health. If medicines alone were so effective, you wouldn't need to do the whole double-blind placebo-controlled trial thing, would you? It'd be obvious from the medicine's effect alone.

The trouble is that it's really hard to give people faith (in their own body's healing power) without giving them a icon, or some other symbol of their faith. Think of homeopathic medicine as such an icon.

Not everyone who takes homeopathic medicines is dying of cancer - an example of a disease where medical intervention is often vital. By using these edge cases, people arguing against ineffective treatments are missing the point entirely.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46704503)

It's not, but the "medicines" administered by a particular depend on their beliefs about what works. If they've been indoctrinated into homeopathy, and never learned to doubt it, they're going to administer treatments that don't work. If they're a real doctor who's been fed lies about how generics don't work as well, and haven't really learned to doubt that(happens for some doctors) they're going to prescribe expensive brand-name drugs.

Human folly gets deeply intertwined in medicine, because its a high stakes game.

Placebo [Re:The spokesman for the AHA said...] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 4 months ago | (#46704515)

I did not know that medicine was about believing...

It's called the placebo effect [howstuffworks.com] , and it's quite unreasonably effective.

So, I'll start believing that i do not have the flu. Let's see if this works.

It will! That's an effect called regression to the mean [wolfram.com] .

Firmly believing you don't have the flu will, in all likelihood, cure your flu in two days to two weeks [about.com] !

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704369)

Tell that to the parents of a dying 4 year old girl who has cancer, who put their faith in something they don't understand.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46704517)

They also don't understand modern medicine, by and large. I'm not endorsing quackery, just trying to understand the motives at play.

Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 4 months ago | (#46704467)

Just like most pastors firmly believe in god

Too bad no government has enough courage to officially release a 300 pages document that informs people there is no proof of the existence of [a] god.

diminished placebo effect (2, Interesting)

mspring (126862) | about 4 months ago | (#46703967)

But won't telling the patient "the facts" diminish the placebo effect?
What would maximize the placebo effect?
Is using the placebo effect always bad practice?

Re:diminished placebo effect (3, Funny)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 4 months ago | (#46704021)

Let me see if I understand this correctly. You want people to remain ignorant so that they can trick themselves into thinking homeopathic treatments work. I'm too terrified by the prospect to even come up with a clever insult.

Re:diminished placebo effect (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 months ago | (#46704109)

I believe a carefully constructed mosaic of facepalm images to appear to be one giant facepalm is appropriate.

Re:diminished placebo effect (0)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 4 months ago | (#46704549)

Why not? Placebos must deflinitely be cheaper than actual medicine. And on top of that, I don't think any research has yet shown that knowing you're taking a placebo diminishes the placebo effect.

Re:diminished placebo effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704091)

> But won't telling the patient "the facts" diminish the placebo effect?

Yep, probably.

> What would maximize the placebo effect?

Nobody is sure. It's an active area of research.

> Is using the placebo effect always bad practice?

No. But allowing for homeopathy because it has a placebo effect _is_ bad practice, because the effect comes from the belief that it works. Supporting the belief that homeopathy works is too close to supporting homeopathic practice, which is generally fraudulent misrepresentation based on the idea that "allopathy" as they put it is somehow corrupt.

For the state to encourage any form of homeopathy (even as placebo) is very bad public health policy.

Re:diminished placebo effect (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#46704107)

Unless "conventional medicine" is also a placebo, there is no real medicine and all these shenanigans about homeopathy are just to strengthen the paradigm.

But don't think too much about it, or you'll lose your only defense against the plague.

Re:diminished placebo effect (1)

negablade (2745981) | about 4 months ago | (#46704459)

Which is why drug trials use double blind procedures. A placebo effect is unlikely to correlate when neither the researchers nor the patients know beforehand which is the test medication and which is the control medication.

Re:diminished placebo effect (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#46704579)

Unless researchers are in on the conspiracy. They all know there's no such thing as "medicine", only placebos. But they have to protect humanity from such knowledge.

Re:diminished placebo effect (5, Funny)

BradMajors (995624) | about 4 months ago | (#46704171)

Research has shown that you can maximize the placebo effect by charging more money.

re: diminished placebo effect (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46704233)

It wouldn't seem to be the case. A study has suggested that the placebo effect works even if patients know they are getting fake medicine. Possibly because many patients know about the placebo effect,. and thus believe that believing has a positive effect.

Re: diminished placebo effect (5, Funny)

Rhaban (987410) | about 4 months ago | (#46704567)

I use meta-placebo effect instead of medicines.

I know that the placebo effect exists and is effective, so believing something can heal me will indeed heal me.
Therefore, I juste have to believe that just believing that believing will heal me will heal me, and it heals me.

Re:diminished placebo effect (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#46704303)

What would maximize the placebo effect?

This is like the medical version of the broken window fallacy. Why do something that doesn't work and rely on the placebo effect when you can do something that does work and rely on the placebo effect?

Re:diminished placebo effect (4, Informative)

gadget junkie (618542) | about 4 months ago | (#46704339)

But won't telling the patient "the facts" diminish the placebo effect? What would maximize the placebo effect? Is using the placebo effect always bad practice?

My father was a village MD, and we talked at lenght about this, so here goes:

1. yes, and that's why the Placebo effect is largely ineffective on the medical professionals;
2.Sadly, increasing price is one of the things that correlates with placebo effects;
3. Emphatically no, but there is not a real need for specific "placebo"medicaments: lots of active principles help lower the symptoms, all the while not doing anything much, and they are mostly cheaper than "alternative" medicine.

P.S.: as to point 2, there is a solution: putting a reasonably big price tag on the box and telling the patient that 90% of it is borne by the insurance, since it's so effective.

Re:diminished placebo effect (3, Informative)

BergZ (1680594) | about 4 months ago | (#46704453)

But won't telling the patient "the facts" diminish the placebo effect?

"Placebo effect works even if patients know they're getting a sham drug
Study suggests patients benefit from the placebo effect even when told explicitly that they're taking an 'inert substance'"

http://www.theguardian.com/sci... [theguardian.com]

Homeopathy doesn't work that way (4, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#46703969)

It doesn't work by treating conditions. You're using it wrong. The first thing you need to do is stop expecting it to do anything.

Re:Homeopathy doesn't work that way (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 4 months ago | (#46704139)

Using it wrong? The only way to win is not to play.

Re:Homeopathy doesn't work that way (5, Funny)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#46704141)

Homeopathy is great for treating dehydration.

Re:Homeopathy doesn't work that way (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 4 months ago | (#46704411)

Homeopathy is great for treating dehydration.

or hypoglycemia...

Re:Homeopathy doesn't work that way (2, Informative)

kooky45 (785515) | about 4 months ago | (#46704485)

Actually, drinking nothing but pure water when you're dehydrated can often be very dangerous.

Re:Homeopathy doesn't work that way (2)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 months ago | (#46704365)

But most people who buy and use homeopathic medicines, as opposed to homeopathic practitioners, believe it does. They feel unwell, look for a medicine to make the unwellness go away, and pick a homeopathic remedy off the drugstore shelf. People are buying homeopathic treatments as if they fitted into the standard medical treatment model.

BS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46703985)

Homeopathy worked on the principle of improving a person's overall health and wellness

If this is true, then why are they marketed to help with specific ailments?

Not going to work... (3, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 4 months ago | (#46703995)

Most people I know who spout this nonsense don't visit the doctor very much, after all "big medicine" is in the pocket of "big pharma," so they wouldn't hear the message anyway.

For those who might listen, one might temper it by saying homeopathy *does* work, but it's thanks to the placebo effect.

Re:Not going to work... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704287)

I actually know a homeopath who visits a doctor every week to deal with her own health issues, and recommends her clients do the same (in addition to homeopathic treatment of course).

How about letting people choose what methods of healing they want to use?

Re:Not going to work... (5, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | about 4 months ago | (#46704385)

How about letting people choose what methods of healing they want to use?

That's fine.

Selling little bottles of very expensive water with labels that very carefully imply that they do, indeed, cure diseases (while legally not saying anything of the sort) to people who don't know any better is what gets people up in arms.

Re:Not going to work... (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#46704481)

I support a system of government where, every once in a while, in extreme moderation, we get to precision invalidate due process and just nail those involved to a tree. It would take decades to crucify the dozen or so folks we need to cleanse the earth from, but this is an extremely dangerous tool which threatens our very existence every time it is wielded; fortunately a single mistake is small, while a single precision strike is massive.

Let's start with Monsanto or Goldman.

Re:Not going to work... (-1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 4 months ago | (#46704289)

A while back I was prescribed an anti-depressant. The doctor said he didn't know if it would work for me. He said it wasn't even well understood *how* it worked.

That confused me because presumably whatever was in the pill was added for a reason, but clearly there's a lot of trial and error. And clearly there are extremely nasty side effects from many drugs.

So many pharmaceuticals' effectiveness may be overrated, as may be their safety. I'm not sure some medicinal plants are necessarily less effective or less safe.

Presumably chemicals in our drugs are often extracted from nature. why wouldn't the same chemicals in their natural form have the same potential to work? For example, willow bark has salicin (from whence aspirin came), and has been used medicinally since the time of Hippocrates.

The idea of treating the whole person instead of just the symptom is a growing concern in western medicine. This has always been the defining characteristic of homeopathy's holistic approach.

So many homeopathic treatments are almost certainly bunk, but throwing out all homeopathy may be short sighted, just as throwing out all of western medicine would be.

Re:Not going to work... (5, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 months ago | (#46704441)

Presumably chemicals in our drugs are often extracted from nature. why wouldn't the same chemicals in their natural form have the same potential to work?

True - but nothing to do with homeopathy. You are describing herbal medicine which certainly certainly works sometimes - though there are dangers from unknown potencies and interactions with other medicines. Homeopathic medicines are based on something that causes the symptoms they are intended to cure - but diluted so far that not a single atom of the original substance remains. It is sort of an analogy with inoculation - by giving someone a killed or weakened version of a dangerous virus, you protect against the full-blown version of the virus. But we know what is happening in this case - we are pre-loading the immune system. The mechanisms by which we prepare wakened virus are well understood. Homeopathy has a theory that, by means unknown, dilution beyond non-existence somehow infuses the water with a potency to counteract symptoms similar to those caused by the diluted substance. Unfortunately,there is no theoretical or (importantly) experimental backing for this.

Re:Not going to work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704487)

You're confused. Homeopathy is NOT synonymous with "natural remedy." Homeopathy is the very specific practice of taking a substance and diluting it down to the point that there is unlikely to be a single molecule of that substance remaining. And if there were, it would be regulated by the FDA. A homeopathic remedy is just water! It's pure pseudo science.

Re:Not going to work... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#46704521)

I did this once. My problem was not understanding homeopathy.

What you say is valid, and probably why people buy into homeopathy. Boiling willow bark in vinegar, distilling milk thistle, or steeping ginger root will have great effects. Further, many medicines are concentrated forms of plants which are ineffective or contain toxic elements and thus cannot be taken as herbs; while, conversely, many medicines (LOVASTATIN) are hellaciously toxic in the purified form, but safe and effective in natural form.

Homeopathy is just water. It's water poisoned with something terrible, fractioned 2^1000 times, until not a single atom of the original impurity is likely to exist in the result. You get a jig and a bottle of pure water.

Re:Not going to work... (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 4 months ago | (#46704545)

Homeopathy is bunk, and throwing it out wholesale would be as big a leap forward as throwing out astrology. Studying the claimed effects of an item is actually medicine. Treating the entire person is now possible in western medicine, earlier they were concerned about actually fixing what was going to kill you tomorrow or the next day. We've solved many of those challenges, and are now looking for much longer term solutions.

Re:Not going to work... (3)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#46704563)

Homeopathy is pure bullshit beyond any redemption. It's physically impossible.

Homeopathy != nonindustrial medicine

Re:Not going to work... (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#46704573)

The problem is you're confusing herbal medicine, holostic medicine, drug descovery and homeopathy.

No one sane denys the existence of herbal medicine: many drugs were originally dervied from plants, and many others are known to have a whole variety of different effects.

Holostic medicine is not unreasonable: no point curing one ailment at the expense of creating others even worse than the original.

For drug descovery, some are stumbled upon by pure chance (Viagra), and for many, especially brain related ones, the mechanism is poorly understood, and they only work on some people. Nevertheless they have been tested and it's reasonably well known roughly what proportion they do work on, the likely side effects and interactions with other common drugs. So, the knowledge is incomplete, but nor worthless.

Homeopathy is by contrast utter crap.

Different subjects (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704007)

Doctors will also be told to warn patients of possible interactions between alternative and conventional medicines.

Obviously not talking about homeopathy anymore. Water won't interact with real medicine.

Re:Different subjects (2)

EvolutionInAction (2623513) | about 4 months ago | (#46704257)

Not actually true. There are a couple medications that have very different effects if you drink a lot of water or are dehydrated.

I agree with your point, just thought I'd point that out.

s/homeopathy/creationism/g (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704029)

Replace homeopathy with creationism.

One wonders what the response would be then.

Re:s/homeopathy/creationism/g (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#46704131)

Replace homeopathy with creationism.

One wonders what the response would be then.

"What they have looked at is systematic trials for named conditions when that is not how creationism works," he'd say. "Creationism worked on the principle of improving a person's overall health and wellness, and research such as a seven-year study conducted in Switzerland was a better measure of its usefulness," he'd add.

Not in Canada, eh (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#46704035)

In Canada the debate is about whether the practitioners have to speak in English to their patients, not about whether the snake oil works or not. However, since it is mainly Chinese using this quackery it doesn't matter all that much...

Re:Not in Canada, eh (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 4 months ago | (#46704281)

Even in Quebec?

"What they have looked at is systematic trials.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704039)

...for named conditions when that is not how homeopathy works"
Says it all...

Curse you, actual scientists, with your "facts" and "data". Where we come from, we don't need no facts.

Re:"What they have looked at is systematic trials. (4, Funny)

fey000 (1374173) | about 4 months ago | (#46704155)

...for named conditions when that is not how homeopathy works"
Says it all...

Curse you, actual scientists, with your "facts" and "data". Where we come from, we don't need no facts.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. I was recently afflicted by a non-systematic, unnamed condition, and drinking lots of water helped.

Hmm, now that I think about it, I may have been thirsty.

Homeopathy Works (1, Interesting)

goruka (1721094) | about 4 months ago | (#46704075)

And is a scam at the same time. I've met homeopaths who were certain that It didn't really work, but have seen a great deal of patients recover from terrible illnesses only because it helped them not give up, or worked very efficiently as a placebo. Where I live, to work as homeopath, you need am university degree in medicine so It's not really that the practitioners don't know what they are doing, and will often send patients to a real doctor when they see imminent danger or can't see results.

By the same logic, Astrology should be banned, as it probably affects human relationships in an even more negative way.

Re:Homeopathy Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704143)

Astrology nearly caused WW3, so probably yes.

Re:Homeopathy Works (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#46704151)

I have long maintained that if you could induce the placebo effect 50% of the time you'd be doing better than modern medicine.

That being said, since homeopathy has no measurable effects, and works in an undefined way which can't be seen or measured ... calling it out as bunk is probably good.

You can't make medical claims unless you have evidence to back it up. And it sounds like there's zero actual evidence.

Re:Homeopathy Works (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 4 months ago | (#46704523)

I have long maintained that if you could induce the placebo effect 50% of the time you'd be doing better than modern medicine.

Don't you think modern medicine should have just as much of a chance of tapping into the placebo effect as anything else?

Re:Homeopathy Works (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#46704153)

It's not the working or not working that pisses me off. It's charging $30 for a vial of distilled water that makes me hate all of them.

Re:Homeopathy Works (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46704273)

As someone noted, more expensive placebos seem to be more effective. If you're an ethical homeopath, you will charge those $30 to make it more effective, and then donate the money to cancer research foundations. ;-)

Re:Homeopathy Works (1)

abhi_beckert (785219) | about 4 months ago | (#46704363)

Homeopaths I know charge $8 per vial. And $4 of that is just for medically certified empty bottle.

If it's $30 per vial where you are, I suspect more than half of that is going to the retail outlet.

Re:Homeopathy Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704425)

Can I pay for homeopathic medicine using homeopathic money? (Disclaimer: does not contain any money.)

Re:Homeopathy Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704161)

And you think anyone on /. would have a problem with banning astrology? LOL

Re:Homeopathy Works (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 months ago | (#46704177)

Astrology should be banned,

In my U.S. states, astrologers must use some form of, "For entertainment purposes only" so people (the ones not so gullible to visit an astrologer) are warned astrology isn't real.

as it probably affects human relationships in an even more negative way.

You mean more than preventing someone with a serious affliction for getting real medical help?

Homeopathy does not, and has not, ever worked. Under any circumstance. The best that can be said about it is it gets people to drink water (which conveniently "remembers" whatever substance was diluted in it but not the piss, shit, radioactivity and dead carcasses that have been lying it).

Re:Homeopathy Works (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46704267)

but I have seen a great deal of patients recover from terrible illnesses only because it helped them not give up, or worked very efficiently as a placebo

And how is that an improvement over giving them a medicine that beside a placebo effect of identical magnitude additionally causes direct pharmaceutical effects? Since when do these two effects clash?

Re:Homeopathy Works (1, Interesting)

goruka (1721094) | about 4 months ago | (#46704419)

And how is that an improvement over giving them a medicine that beside a placebo effect of identical magnitude additionally causes direct pharmaceutical effects? Since when do these two effects clash?

Your answer makes sense, but you lack the whole picture. Homeopathy doesn't work like that.
Homeopathy is not just the "fake medicine", as most articles you read on the internet work. There is a whole theatrical performance. It works like this:

1) The "doctor" asks for a few questions about your problems, your dreams, your social life, family, etc.
2) He has a book where each of the things you mention (or the closest one) have an homeopathic ingredient listed
3) He correlates and finds an ingredient that appears the most in the issues that you mentioned. He will show it to you.
4) He will ask you to buy a medicine with that ingredient.
5) However, before leaving, he will warn you that it's possible that he might have given you something that is too strong, and will explain you that you have to dilute it a little (or do something like that, I don't remember) to mitigate the effects of an overdose.

So, the reason why it works as a placebo is because it's designed to be convincing, not because you are drinking water.

Re:Homeopathy Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704341)

Exactly. A friend of mine is such a homeopath. She studied for years at university and is required to perform ongoing study and annual tests to verify she hasn't forgotten.

She treats her patients in addition to their GP, not instead of.

When the drugs your GP is prescribing do not work, having something else to try or even just someone else to talk to about your health is extremely valuable. Keeping a positive attitude is everything, since the alternative might simply be suicide.

Re:Homeopathy Works (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#46704465)

She treats her patients in addition to their GP, not instead of.

Really? Isn't that up to the patient? Will she refuse to see someone who hasn't been to the GP?

When the drugs your GP is prescribing do not work, having something else to try or even just someone else to talk to about your health is extremely valuable. Keeping a positive attitude is everything, since the alternative might simply be suicide.

Yes, that's all very lovely, but then you should be seeing a counsellor, not a magic bean salesman.

Breaking news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704119)

Magic is not real, lucky socks do not cure cancer, and homeopathy is a scam.

Statins (1, Flamebait)

srussia (884021) | about 4 months ago | (#46704147)

The lipid theory of cardiovascular disease is nonsense. At least homeopathic "remedies" do no harm. Statins do.

Australia Had Homo Paths? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704159)

That would never fly in the United States. Paths for just homos to walk on...

BS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704193)

If it worked it would be medicine, not alternative medicine.

My experiences (5, Funny)

symes (835608) | about 4 months ago | (#46704201)

I visited a homeopath once. I had dreadful allergies and was quite desparate. So off I trundled to the homepaths tent in the festival I was attending. There they did some sort of reading and asked a few questions. They opened a huge old book and spent a few moments throughtfully reading through various passages. Then delivered the news that I needed arsenic. Only this poison could help me. They procused a small plastic bag containing small spherical white pills. I complained that I was not keen on taking arsenic in any shape of form. So they explained that they started with a huge vat of water with a little bit of arsenic in it. Took a tiny drop of that water and diluted it further, and once again until only the essense of asenic remained. There wasn't any arsenic in those pills. By this time I was laughing so hard I had completely forgotten about my allergies. I left with a big smile on my face and used the sugar pills in my coffee.

So sorry everyone, homeopathy works.

Re:My experiences (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#46704571)

Yeah sucks to be them. I've already patented using Vibranium to imbue water with the essence of arsenic by pulsing the natural molecular vibrations through the fluid.

Stupid white men.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704221)

"substances that produce symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick person"
You mean, like a vaccine ???? So vaccinate is a placebo ???

Dr. Oz (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 4 months ago | (#46704223)

I've seen two episodes of Dr. Oz. In the first, he talked about treating a jellyfish sting. Knowing nothing about jellyfish stings, I assume his advice was legit. The second episode he talked about homeopathic medicine and all of the wonderful treatment options it provided. He didn't laugh when he was saying that. I never watched again -- can't trust anything he says to be valid.

just keep in mind (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#46704241)

Just keep in mind that Zinc and specifically Zicam is classified as homeopathic and it actually contains zinc which actually prevents viruses from attaching to cell walls in the first place so they can't replicate and actually stops a cold in its tracks. So not all homeopathy is bullshit or contains mostly water or uses snake poison or any of that nonsense. Sometimes it just means they didn't have the budget to get FDA approval.

Re:just keep in mind (4, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 4 months ago | (#46704277)

If it contains actual measurable quantities of something, it isn't homeopathy. Keep THAT in mind.

Re:just keep in mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704343)

There seems to be some conflict over the usage of terms. Many of the homeopathic haters are arguing about the 'infinitely diluted pathogen as treatment' tactic and how that has exactly the same benefits as drinking a shot of tap water. Your post suggests that 'homeopathic' has become a synonym for 'holistic' in many areas. Holistic medicine is a mixed bag of some vitamins, some minerals, some symptom easing leaves and some distracting flavor/odor.

Well, if it works (5, Funny)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 4 months ago | (#46704283)

Surely I can pay for homeopathic medicine by simply rubbing money on the seller?

Re:Well, if it works (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704501)

Dunk a few dollars into a bathtub full of water. Take out one cup of this water. Refill the bathtub, putting in the cup you saved from the first fill. Repeat ten times. Give a cubic centimeter of the last tubful as payment.

300 pages of scientific results (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 4 months ago | (#46704293)

But here is an opposing viewpoint from someone without the ability to evaluate truth claims.

Homeopathy is not the only nonsense here (0, Troll)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#46704313)

"There are about 10,000 complementary medicine products sold in Australia but most consumers are unaware they are not evaluated by the domestic medicines safety watchdog before they are allowed on the market."

This is absolutely backwards thinking. The assumption is that no product should possibly be 'allowed' in the market without costly and time-consuming 'evaluation' and 'approval' by a 'watchdog.' That's just a recipe for guaranteeing the profits of existing market leaders at the expense of the consumer.

People are selling nonsense? Don't buy it. Easy-peazy as they say in Oz.

Re:Homeopathy is not the only nonsense here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704461)

> That's just a recipe for guaranteeing the profits of existing market leaders at the expense of the consumer.
And this is the proper function of a Government in the civilized world. ... apparently

Homeopathy is not alternative medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704315)

It's quackery. That's the point. Tell people what it is they're paying for, what the numbers mean.

WMD on credit cabalers' last gasping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704333)

all we need is love... da da da da da

It's cost effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704367)

Here in Netherlands, in general health insurances think 'alternative' therapies are generally cost effective. This is not limited to homeopathic medicins, but also to other threatments.

First of all, it is recognized that normal medicins are not always needed either. About 50% of the medicins are deemed ineffective, because patients would cure anyways. The other aspect is that 'real' doctor consults cost a lot of money.

So, placebo or not, there's a large group of patients that basically just need some attention - someone to talk to; someone to discuss issues (think of relational problems, trauma's, life habits, etc). It is much cheaper to allow this group to find the attention they need in the alternative circuit, than to have them consulting `real` doctors describing them real (but probably just as ineffective) medicins.

Re:It's cost effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46704491)

Rub and tugs and gigolos, and good listeners would be more useful than chugging water though :)

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