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Government Medicine Science

Is the End of Government Acceptance of Homeopathy In Sight? 668

cold fjord writes: It looks like homeopathy is in for a rough stretch ahead as shown in a chart and noted by Steven Novella at NEUROLoOGICAblog, "Homeopathy is perhaps the most obviously absurd medical pseudoscience. It is also widely studied, and has been clearly shown to not work. Further, there is a huge gap in the public understanding of what homeopathy is; it therefore seems plausible that the popularity of homeopathy can take a huge hit just by telling the public what it actually is. ... In 2010 the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee completed a full report on homeopathy in which they concluded it is witchcraft – that it cannot work, it does not work, and support for homeopathy in the national health service should be completely eliminated. In 2015 the Australian government completed its own review, concluding that there is no evidence that homeopathy works for anything. Homeopathy is a placebo. ... The FDA and the FTC in the United States are now both receiving testimony, questioning their current regulation of homeopathy. ... There is even a possibility that the FDA will decide to do their actual job – require testing of homeopathic products to demonstrate efficacy before allowing them on the market. If they do this simple and obvious thing, the homeopathic industry in the US will vanish over night, because there is no evidence to support any homeopathic product for any indication." — More on the FDA hearings at Science-Based Medicine.
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Is the End of Government Acceptance of Homeopathy In Sight?

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  • by zr ( 19885 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @07:27PM (#49958501)

    and let it be..

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @07:35PM (#49958533)
    that's what my mother would say.
  • by Beck_Neard ( 3612467 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @07:41PM (#49958563)

    What's wrong with having placebos? Placebos work. They are quite effective treatments for a variety of health problems, especially things like mental health problems. Homeopathy is obviously ridiculous, but I don't see anything wrong with having some kind of government-sanctioned system of placebo sugar pills available. Use the profits to fund actual medical science. The fact that the pills are placebo doesn't even need to be secret - you can post directly on the label that it has no active drugs in it and that it is still an effective treatment (both facts are true). A lot of people would consider lack of 'active drugs' a plus. Most people wouldn't even read the labels anyway. The pills would sell quite well.

    • by Gibgezr ( 2025238 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @07:52PM (#49958617)

      The problem with labelling something no better than a placebo as "healthcare" is that people who could benefit from real treatments can be led to use a placebo as a replacement for actual effective treatments; if the placebos don't work, they may have just aggravated the health issue by delaying real treatment.

      It's like saying "Scientology worked for me"; you are promoting a very dubious form of (mental) health care, instead of scientifically proven options. If your medical doctor wants to prescribe a placebo, fine, but make sure you go to a real doctor for that.

      • The problem with labelling something no better than a placebo as "healthcare" is that people who could benefit from real treatments can be led to use a placebo as a replacement for actual effective treatments; if the placebos don't work, they may have just aggravated the health issue by delaying real treatment.

        Many "real treatments" are actually only moderately better than placebos and come with significant side effects; yet placebos are often much better than no treatment at all. The problem with eliminati

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As long as they move the shelves in the candy section, I have no problem at all with these sugar pills.They are even authorized to add flavor if they wish. But selling them as if they are medication and working drugs is another matter.
    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @07:59PM (#49958647)

      What's wrong with having placebos? Placebos work.

      yeah, they worked great for Steve Jobs, as i recall.

    • Placebos (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @08:03PM (#49958669)

      What's wrong with having placebos? Placebos work.

      No placebos do not work. They are the very definition of not working. There is a reason we use placebos as the control group when doing double blind tests. The placebo effect is real but the placebos by definition have no medicinal effect whatsoever.

      Placebos do have their occasional use as a therapy but homeopathy is for all practical purposes a placebo sold at a huge markup to stupid people. Homeopathy is pure fraud for that reason. It astonishes me that it is legal to represent them in any way as something even vaguely medicinal.

      • Yes they do work. If I'm feeling down and I take a placebo pill, It's likely I'll feel great again. That's the definition of 'working.' When you take a placebo pill it causes real biochemical changes in your body: http://link.springer.com/artic... [springer.com]

        And as for control groups, most often they use a treated group, a placebo group, and a non-treated group. And I never said homeopathy is anything other than a placebo.

        You completely lack knowledge of medical science. Your opinion is worthless.

    • What's wrong with having placebo? Nothing, as long as they are labelled as such. Labeling them as something that might sound like it works although it's only placebo, is misleading marketing and advertising. It's like I see you a car with no breaks, but I will tell of its secret powers of stopping itself. You can believe in it if you want, but it is a fact of life that I sold you a lie. Same for homeopathy.
    • The problem is that some people, called homeopaths, make a living out of it and that it is close to a fraud. Profits don't fund medical science. Profits fund homeopaths and corporations developing the pills. And worse, they do not admit it is a placebo.

    • by MacTO ( 1161105 )

      If you're talking about a condition that will not become progressively worse if left untreated, then sure, go for a placebo. If you're looking for a cure because you're paranoid of conventional methods, either because you don't trust the motives of pharmaceutical companies or are scared of the side-effects, for a condition that will deteriorate if left untreated -- well, let's just say that is downright foolish.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @08:08PM (#49958695)

    People will indulge in homeopathy, chiropractery and crystal healing. OK, they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but do you think banning these things will help? How's that worked out for drugs? Or cigarettes? Those have disappeared. Right? Oh, wait, they haven't.

    For all these things, put the warnings on the label and let Darwin take care of the rest.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @08:45PM (#49958843)

      OK, they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but do you think banning these things will help?

      Short answer? Yes. Selling "medicine" under false pretenses is 100% of the reason why the FDA exists. If these products were represented accurately then I guess I have no problem with them being sold as entertainment but they are NOT medicine. You know what they call alternative medicine that is proven to work? MEDICINE.

  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @08:12PM (#49958719)

    IIRC, homeopathy in France is officially accepted by health authorities as being a useful placebo: it cannot harm, but it can help thanks to the placebo effect, therefore its use is allowed. It is not reimbursed by socialized healthcare, though.

    I note the following in the summary:

    the FDA will decide to do their actual job – require testing of homeopathic products to demonstrate efficacy before allowing them on the market.

    I assume it is demonstrating better efficacy than placebo, because placebo has an efficacy itself.

    • "placebo has an efficacy itself."

      MAY have an efficacy. Mostly not though. Also, many of those products claim to have certain ingredients - ginko, for example - and have been found to simply contain ground up random trash plants. Some have been found with Jimson. Not exactly confidence inducing, eh?

      • What is nice with placebo is that actual content is irrelevant, it's the patient's belief of efficiency that does the job. Hence random trash plants can be fine (provided they are not toxic and the patient does not know it is trash plants).
  • by agm ( 467017 )

    Homeopathy today, religion tomorrow! Working towards reason is reasonable and away from it is, well, unreasonable.

  • I agree that homeopathy is total nonsense. Unfortunately, it's commonly linked with other forms of alternative medicine that actually do work, and I won't want to see those go down as well. In fact, there is a push by the pharmaceutical companies for the FDA to regulate alternative medicines such that they will become no longer cost-effective to produce. Herbal meds take money out of the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies, so they will try to take advantage of homeopathy going down to elimiate herba

    • Dessicated porcine thyroid gland is fabulous if you have a thyroid disorder and Levothyroxine hasn't been effective.

      "Thyroid disorder" LOL!!! Yeah, right. Of course, there are cases where Levothyroxine won't work: hyperthyroidism.

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @09:39PM (#49959087) Homepage Journal

    If they do this simple and obvious thing, the homeopathic industry in the US will vanish over night,

    Not really -- it will just be diluted until not a single homeopathy vendor remains, but the market will retain the essence of the original vendors and the effect will be even more potent.

  • Two more centuries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday June 21, 2015 @09:47PM (#49959121) Journal
    Homeopathy was invented two centuries ago. Somehow, it's still around.

    So now, for the next two centuries, we'll have to hear stories about how government is suppressing "natural" cures that they don't want people to have, because of big pharma (and Monsanto). Oh well.
  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @12:59AM (#49959761)
    Homeopathy works the way religion works. If you believe in it, that is.
  • Nonsense! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kinthelt ( 96845 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @10:12AM (#49961595) Homepage

    I took a homeopathic medicine for dehydration and got better.

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