Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Nice to see...

I was happy to see this article in the Guardian on Saturday. Edzard Ernst holds the Laing chair in complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, and has published a book with Simon Singh on CAM, entitled "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial". At the Hay literary festival, Ernst was talking about the book. He laid into pharmacists in general, and Boots in particular, for selling homeopathic remedies. There is no good evidence that such remedies work, and they have no plausible mode of action, as they are generally so diluted that the chance of them containing any of the purported active ingredient is vanishingly small.

Ernst is gratifyingly direct, saying that Boots "seems to be fast becoming the biggest seller of quack remedies in UK high streets". He also said that pharmacists have a responsibility to adhere to the code of ethics of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society: "This can only mean that pharmacists should tell their customers that a homeopathic remedy they are about to buy doesn't contain a single molecule of whatever it says on the label, and that there's no clinical evidence that it works beyond a placebo effect".

I couldn't agree more, and it's good to see someone come out and say these things clearly and publicly.


Oatmeal said...

Dr Crippen reported some strong words from an angry pharmacist Christine Glover of Glover's Integrated Healthcare.
""Because she has noticed that Christine Glover is herself a pharmacist, and an eminent one at that. She is an ex-President of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society. It is inconceivable that such an experienced and eminent a pharmacist would suggest any sort of medical treatment for which there is not a strong evidence base. And as she is advertising her Presidency of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, one can only assume they approve too. How things have changed."

Homeopathy is among the items she promotes - along with an Udder Care remedy, for cows. Equal opportunity homeopathy.

Paul Wilson said...

Wow, thanks for that link.

Further evidence, if such were needed, that there is no quackery too silly that you can't find someone with good qualifications to endorse it.