Homeopathy: Placebo or Clinically Proven Treatment?

no better than placebo.


UK House of Commons: Science and Technology Committee report ‘Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy.

Edzard Ernst: A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy.

It was time that this got a repost; time and time again, the best performed trials and research in to if homeopathy is efficacious, provides a resounding negative result.

But, I think this goes deeper than looking at the evidence.

The key problem is why people THINK they work; and that largely comes down to human psychology, and the failure to recognize a regression to the mean.

Snapped: Chiropractors’ Association of Australia advertised homeopathic cream; TGA sets the record straight

Late in 2011 the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia was caught out advertising a homeopathic “pain relief” cream from “Simply Flower Power” in a catalog after a complaint about was made to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.

When questioned by the TGA about the advertisement, the CAA initially argued that the law didn’t apply to them before asserting that the representation “Natural Pain Relief Cream that really works!” was “a statement of ‘mere puffery’ that has no balance or substance”.

The cream is manufactured by Simply Flower Power; operated by Jessica Read, a Chiropractor who identifies herself as a “holistic healer” who performs “Aura and Chakra Balancing” and “Crystal, Colour & Sound Healing”.

The TGA’s Complaint Resolution Panel, who systematically investigates complaints of misleading health claims, noted in their formal findings that they found the CAA’s argument to be “quite extraordinary” particularly because it was made by an organisation purportedly to be representing “healthcare professionals”.

While the CAA were keen to market the cream as something that “really works!”, the panel noted that the CAA was “in no way prepared to argue that the words were truthful or accurate”, and were explicitly concerned at the unwillingness of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia to acknowledge responsibility for the material they had published.

Since the publication of the advertisement, the CAA has ceased selling the product; the TGA has requested the CAA contact the parties who were provided with the misleading claims, provide evidence that they have withdrawn the misleading representations, and provide evidence that they have complied with the other sanctions imposed by the TGA.

Coupon Deals: The Latest Marketing Avenue for Woo

Marketing Ignorance

Group-purchasing websites and applications like Groupon and Scoopon have been very  popular over the last year and it’s no surprise that the likes of Chiropractors, “alternative” health retailers, or even other retail outlets are jumping at the opportunity to sell consumers products and services that don’t work, for conditions they don’t have.

For most consumer products and services, the repercussions are small – maybe a bit of egg on your face. However, when it comes to advertisements making medical claims, this invokes a couple of laws put in place to prevent people from being hurt, or indeed being scammed.

Today’s Scoopon “Side-Deal” was for a Colon Cleansing – sometimes called colonics, or colonic hydrotherapy. Now, I’m not going to spend this post going over why it’s a load of shit, there are many well-written pieces that look at evidence-base of Colon Cleansing. There’s the Harm from Colon Cleansing, or the fact that The US’s National Council Against Health Fraud position paper concludes that a colonic has no real health benefits. You can look how the concept that digestive waste is infecting other parts of the body is bunk, and if you’re interested, you could even find out “how clean your colon should be“.

Face of Man, the company making the claims seen in the Advertisement, note on their website “Recommended in a course of one per week for 6 weeks for best results.” I’m just going to skip over the fact the listed value is $139 but it’s listed as $99 on their website. At $99 for the each of the recommended subsequent visits, they stand to make a steady income out of consumers; with that kind of time and financial commitment,cognitive dissonance can take care of the rest. Soon, people are regularly reporting how vibrant they feel in an attempt to justify having someone throw water up their arse while claiming it helps their health.

But then, this is what we’ve come to expect from “Alt Med” retailers.

HomeopathyPlus to be reviewed by the TGA’s Secretary

A copy of the letter sent to the complainant

HomeopathyPlus is an online retail outlet for products and books about homeopathy; and advocates a number of dangerous concepts to the public under the guise of “informed choice’. Consumer protection groups have highlighted the blatant disregard for the health of Australians demonstrated by HomeopathyPlus’ advertisements in the past.

The latest news is an escalation because of Homeopath, Fran Sheffield’s refusal to adhere to legislation put in place to prevent Australians from being exposed to unbiased, or even fabricated information about the products they are considering to use on their own.

An investigation in to HomeopathyPlus’ unethical advertising practices was initiated after a complaint was registered with the TGA. The complaint was about an advertisement put up on HomeopathyPlus’ website by Fran Sheffield for a “homeopathic prevention for meningococcal disease”.

On the 16th of June 2011, that investigation, by the Therapeutic Goods Administrations’ Complaint Resolution Panel (TGACRP) determined that Fran Sheffield’s advertisement had breached ten sections of legislation.

Specifically, the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Sections 4(1)(b), 4(2)(a), 4(2)(c), 4(2)(d), 4(2)(f), 4(2)(i), 4(4), 4(5), 5(2), 6 – See the TGACRP’s Determination

This includes the advertising of unrealistic expectations of a products’ effectiveness, abusing the trust of consumers, using language that could bring about fear or distress, and inadequate evidence being presented to support the claims made in the advertisement, despite being given time to both prepare and submit the evidence to support the claims made.

Fran Sheffield, the person responsible for the advertisement on HomeopathyPlus’ website, and the primary profiteer from the advertisement ignored the TGACRP requests to “Withdrawal of representations”, “Withdrawal of advertisement”, and to include a “Publication of a retraction” – None of these have been complied with.

Because of this, the complaint has now been referred to the TGACRP’s Secretary with the recommendation that the Fran Sheffield be ordered to comply with the requests made in the determination.

Rebel Sport to dig deeper in to customer pockets: NRG Titanium Ion Bands on sale now!

They just don’t learn, do they.

This was spotted in Rebel Sport down at Warringah Mall the other week. You’d think they’d stop taking their customers for a ride, wouldn’t you?


They’re the same bullshit, unsupported claims made by PowerBalance and EKEN PowerBands. /rollseyes

If you’re on the cover, you’re a muppet.

£51 Pounds for 1L of Water Diluted in Water


Bullshit Price for Bullshit Remedy

The folks over at Helios are raking it in with their homeopathic water. That’s right, water diluted in water.

At £51 a liter, it equates to about $78 for us Aussies. It is revealing about the nature of homeopathic manufacturers, given the homeopathic community often rants about the profits made by “Big Pharma”, despite large chunks of that profit being used towards developing new and better medicines.

There is little evidence to show that Helios actually produces any of these remedies in accordance with homeopathic “tradition”. They may use some of the crazier methods like  emptying the vials and refilling them over and over, or having a platform shake a container with their initial ingredient then replacing that container with water, or – they may not even waste their time doing anything at all.

It’s possible Helios are simply selling blank pills and supplying spring water rather than tap water.

It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they were.

Update: @MLOCallaghan from Nerditorial was kind enough to bring these Homeopathic Ear Wax Drops to my attention:

Expensive "medicine".

At  £44.39 for 10mL, that brings the cost of 1L of these ear drops to £4438. For us Aussies, that’s $6,869/L

Water at that price should be criminal.

Advertising Standards Authority puts an end to homeopaths Double Standards


The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered online homeopathy advertisers to stop making claims that their treatments work.

In letters sent to advertisers of homeopathic products over the last three months, the ASA said it had not seen reliable or objective evidence to substantiate their claims.

Read more at Research: Advertising authority clampdown on homeopathy