Sunday 6 February 2011

Fake Homeopathic Remedies For Sale

Let's make one thing very clear from the outset, because there's a lot of confusion over this issue: homeopathy is not a synonym for alternative or complementary medicine.  There are some forms of complementary medicine that do have a real effect on the body - chewing willow bark for example, because it contains a molecule that is very similar to aspirin, or using dock leaves for nettle stings.  Maggots aren't a traditional part of western medicine, but have been used very successfully in treating certain open wounds.  Complementary medicine isn't always bunkum.  Sadly, a lot of the time, it is. Or at best a well constructed placebo.
You know what they call 'alternative medicine' that’s been proved to work? Medicine.
Tim Minchin
 So I'm not having a wholesale go at alternative medicine here, just one part of it, specifically homeopathy.  Homeopathy is a very specific type of treatment based on the concept that the same thing that causes a symptom can treat it if used in small enough quantities.  So, for example, to treat insomnia you would give the patient a very, very small amount of caffeine.  The problem arises when you look at just how small an amount is used.  Homeopathic remedies are so dilute that, statistically, you'd be very lucky indeed to find a single molecule of the "active ingredient" in a dose.  Practitioners claim that water, the solvent normally used, has a "memory" of some description.  If this is the case, and can be shown with some reliable data and maybe a pie-chart, then there's probably a simultaneous Nobel Prize for physics, chemistry and medicine to be had, and at 10 million Swedish Kronor, or about 1m Sterling per prize, that's a lot of money to put towards a charitable homeopathic clinic in the third world.  I'm surprised nobody has claimed it.  Maybe they need some help with the pie-chart.

Suffice to say, I'm not a fan of homeopathy.  So I've decided to go into business.

Anybody want to buy some homeopathic medicine?  It's £2.50 a pop (plus p&p), which is half the average price of one of the main UK retailers.

The only drawback is that it's fake.  It's fraudulent.  I've had no training in making it, I don't have a leather thing to bash the bottle against and the remedy has never been close to the active ingredient I'm claiming it's made with.

So am I worried about being taken to court over this?  Well, yes it might happen, and yes it would bankrupt me (not that I have anything anyway), but I'm not in the slightest bit worried about a conviction.  UK law, you see, requires more than a simple admission. If I plead not guilty there has to be at least one other piece of evidence - in this case, some regulator or other would have to perform a chemical analysis on my fake remedy and show that it's got a different form of "no active ingredient" to the "no active ingredient" in a real homeopathic remedy.  I don't believe this is possible, even in principle, and if somebody does manage it then there's a few Nobel Prizes for them and I'll have been at the centre of one of the biggest scientific revolutions the world has ever seen.

If you would like to order any of my fake homeopathic remedies please comment below or email me, not forgetting to include details of the active ingredient/s you want me to not put into it.

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