An intriguing article a few years ago in the UK’s The Spectator magazine was headlined – If homeopathy is just water and sugar pills, why do doctors get so upset about it? The article wondered: “What is the problem with tinctures so dilute that you couldn’t overdose on them if you tried?”
The subject of homeopathy seems to enrage some people. Every time an article or report comes out in the press, the skeptics scream placebo effect, magical thinking, flim-flam quackery, pseudoscientific nonsense etc. The British Medical Association even labelled it witchcraft. And any claims of homeopathy’s efficacy by individuals are typically dismissed by skeptics as just anecdotal, as though personal experience doesn’t count. Homeopathy’s detractors argue it can’t work because it defies conventional medical/scientific understanding.
In contrast, Nobel Prize (in Physiology or Medicine) winning scientist, Prof Luc Montagnier noted in the December 2010 edition of Science: “I can’t say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions (used in homeopathy) are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.”
And Rustum Roy, a materials chemist research professor at Arizona State University, discovered that water does indeed have a ‘memory’ and can contain elements of an original substance, even after it has been diluted one million times. In a letter Rust humorously reported: “I accidentally also discovered a new social disease, ‘homeophobia’ – that is, a phobic reaction (mainly by scientists) to the word homeopathy.”
Finally there’s Dr. Charles Menninger, founder The Menninger Clinic: “Homeopathy is wholly capable of satisfying the therapeutic demands of this age better than any other system or school of medicine.”
According to the World Health Organization homeopathy is now the second most widespread medical system in the world. WHO statistics tell us in 2008, France spent more than $408 million on homeopathic medicines; Germany $346 million, and the UK more than $62 million. In the United States, adults spent $2.9 billion on homeopathic products in 2007.
In India, 40% of all prescriptions are for homeopathic remedies. The Indian government in 2007 launched a national campaign to encourage homeopathic remedies to mothers and children. India’s Health Minister Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss announced: “Homoeopathy has a very definite role to play in the health care delivery system because it is effective, safe and affordable and the treatments are also simple to administer.”
So who supports the assault on homeopathy? In the UK organizations like the Science Media Centre and Sense about Science (funded by pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and GalxoSmithKline), regularly trot out attacks, along with supporting the GMO industry and the safety of glyphosate, and questioning the role of neonicotinoid pesticides in bee deaths.
In the U.S., organizations like Science Based Medicine ridicule homeopathy, as well as GMO foes, gluten diet followers and holistic dentistry, while asserting that glyphosate is safe and that the risks of endocrine disruptors like phthalates and BPA are unproven.
Back in the late 1890s and early 1900s the American Medical Association formed an alliance with the pharmaceutical industry to mount a campaign against homeopathy. At the time homeopathy was practiced by around a quarter of the nation’s doctors and it was considered more successful, economical and patient friendly than allopathy.
Then in 1910 the Flexnor Report was published. It was commissioned by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, who was aiming to gain a monopoly in the drug and pharmaceutical industry, and limit the influence of alternative approaches like homeopathy. It concluded there were too many medical schools and it led to the AMA only endorsing schools with a drug-based curriculum. And graduates of homeopathic medical schools were only allowed to join the AMA if they denounced homeopathy or stopped practicing it.
And that’s how Big Pharma took over.