Homoeopathy sceptics plan mass ‘overdose’ – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

First, don’t do this:

In what is being billed as “rationalism's Kool-Aid moment”, a mass “overdose” is being planned next week in protest at the marketing of homoeopathic medicines.

More than 300 people who style themselves as “homoeopathy sceptics” will each swallow an entire bottle of homoeopathic pills in protest at the continued marketing of homoeopathic medicines by Boots, the high street chemist chain.

via Homoeopathy sceptics plan mass ‘overdose’ – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent.

Second, I’m with them in spirit!


  1. The allopathic community seems to be taking a great deal of delight in this whole affair — I was stunned that one person even bragged that her pregnant daughter would be taking part. That demonstrates a lot of confidence in the safety of ingredients and manufacturing methods used, IMHO.

    I’m curious…If nobody gets sick or dies from the homeopathic overdose, what’s been proved really? Apparently the hypothesis here is that if a medication is effective, it must therefore be harmful to take too much of it. Am I the only one in the allopathic community who finds this somewhat disturbing? :-/

    As far as I can figure, the only thing this “experiment” can demonstrate is whether homeopathic medications are safer than allopathic medications.

    Honestly, does protesting “unscientific” claims by using flawed research methods really do any more than just make even more people look stupid?

  2. I think the point of the experiment is that if your medication is effective than taking it will have an effect. The overdose is just to amplify the effect…or the startling lack thereof. Also, it’s funny.

    I take your point that it’s not the most sound scientific study but who are they trying to convince: the allopathic intelligentsia who already think homeopathy is ridiculous or John/Jane Everyman who don’t know what a p value is?

  3. When I see or hear someone using the word “allopathy” in a non-ironic way, I suspect I’m in the presence of a homeopathy true believer, or a believer in other forms of pseudomedicine such as chiropractic, reiki, or Therapeutic Touch.

    Saturday’s event wasn’t intended as an “experiment” or a “study”. It was, well, OK, a publicity stunt. But a stunt with a purpose — to change UK public perceptions of homeopathy.

    10^23 points http://www.1023.org.uk/

    1. To educate the public that literally there is nothing other than water or sugar in homeopathic products.
    2. To disambiguate homeopathy from herbal remedies: bring to public awareness that homeopathic remedies are very different than herbs or herbal remedies.
    3. To bring to public attention to the public cost of homeopathy. The UK National Health Service (NHS) is cash-strapped. Demand for services is higher than supply. The NHS “spends around £4 million per year on homeopathy, money which could have paid the salaries of almost 200 nurses.”
    4. To bring to public awareness there’s potential harm in homoepathy.

    Given the coverage of the stunt and its reasons in the UK, I think the 10^23 campaign organizers (working with about 10 cents of funding) is making a good start on their goals.

    And for your reading pleasure, Deborah Olenev, C.C.H.’s A Chart Contrasting Homoepathy with Allopathy. Caution may cause neuronal apoptosis.

  4. mark p.s.2 says:

    Making fun of people who believe in homoeopathic pills? Thats okay if its homeopathy.
    If I make fun of people who believe in psychiatric pills I’m magically a scientologist Nutcase, because I don’t believe in the science of pills.
    The science of measuring mental illness under a microscope or in a petri dish to make it a disease is as scientific as homeopathy.
    Science of life long pill treatments for mental illness that do not work in reality.
    Do you not remember all the claims of the Pharma Co’s when new magical antidepressants/antipsychotic are discovered?
    No one is cured and the percentage of serious mentally ill in the population continues to rise. 1 in 17
    Be careful who you point a finger at when you have three more pointed at yourself.

  5. @4 Maybe you get grief because the drugs used to treat mental health issues (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder) actually contain an active ingredient unlike the placebo sugar pills hawked by homeopaths.

    Also, there is the notion that some of these mental disorders are not cured per se, but rather managed, much in the same way as diabetes or arthritis. Some mental disorders actually have a physical cause (i.e. serotonin imbalance), so yes, in fact you can analyze and measure and quantify them and treat them with drugs.

    Maybe the increase in the number of mentally ill people is attributable to increased reporting and the broadening of the definition of ‘mentally ill’, much in the same way that the so-called autism ‘epidemic’ is a result of reclassifying less severe behaviors under the umbrella of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders.) Further, there’s a lot less stigma to getting treatment for mental health issues today which may mean that people who in years past would’ve suffered quietly are now more willing to get treatment.

    But all that said, homeopathy is utter bullshit. It defies everything we know about chemistry and atomic physics, meaning there is no plausible theory by which it could work, and further, there is no valid clinical evidence to show that it works any better than a placebo. Homeopathy has been thoroughly discredited and the only reason it lingers on is the popularity of magical thinking among the ignorant and the profits made by Big Placebo. Like much of 18th century medicine, homeopathy belongs in the dustbin of history.