The 10:23 campaign has been a great success. The mass homeopathic ‘overdose’ on January 30th, 2010 was a fantastic way to show that “there’s nothing in it”. It raised public awareness, got some column inches and with a little comedy amongst the seriousness, wonderfully demonstrated that homeopathy wasn’t just another name for herbal remedy. In many cases, you couldn’t even claim that it’s all natural. Over 400 skeptics took part in the stunt in the UK and Australia. All good. The medicine was bought from Boots. We could trust that it was safe to swallow a whole bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills.
But….is there “nothing in it” all over the world?
Is a homeopathic remedy in, say, Sri Lanka as inert and harmless (and as useless) as a remedy in the EU? Is a homeopathic remedy in Paraguay just water and sugar? Are the laws for what can and can’t be called homeopathic the same in Papua New Guinea as they are in Europe?
Many people think homeopathic remedies are like herbal remedies. Is it possible that the word homeopathy has a become almost a trusted “brand name” in some countries? Perhaps an Indian pharmacy decides to add the word “homeopathic” to one of their products because it adds credibility. A lot of people trust and believe in homeopathy in India. Could unscrupulous individuals say something is homeopathic in the hope of making more sales, even though the product was not creating using homeopathic techniques and does actually contain active ingredients. Just recently a fake homeopathy medicine factory was busted in India and worrying stories are emerging.
Or could homeopathic remedies accidentally contain active ingredients? Just a few days ago consumers were warned about homeopathy remedies that actually contained traces of belladonna (i.e. not just water and sugar); the FDA have released a Consumer Safety Alert about Hyland’s Teething Tablets and how they may pose a risk to children.
In 2011, I assume there will another skeptical 10:23 homeopathy stunt. No doubt there will be more volunteers from more countries.
My question is this: could a similar mass overdose event in other countries, or even in the EU, actually turn out to be dangerous?
I’m posting this as a “request for comments”. So, please add your comments below.
The Twenty-first floor have also blogged about the Belladonna incident (in Homeopathic Remedy Causes Belladonna Poisoning)
If homeopaths want to play around with substances like Belladonna, then they must submit to regulation. For every pill they produce, they must be made to explicitly demonstrate that there’s “nothing in it”.