Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Don't Homeopanic

I was delighted to be one of a number of bloggers to receive a rather amusing email in my inbox this morning, reportedly leaked from a panicked administrator at the South Downs School of Homeopathy.

The MRHA (Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency) are currently undertaking a review of the UK medicines legislation. The practical upshot of which is that there is a possibility that they might change the highly misleading label required for homeopathic products to a slightly less misleading label. Please read Zeno’s excellent blog here for more details.

As a result of this review, here’s the homeopathic sympathiser’s panic stricken call to arms :


This is urgent. TOP PRIORITY!!! The deadline is the 18th of February. The practice of homeopathy by lay homeopaths is at stake, and if the MHRA changes the wording to the document mentioned below, we will ...not be allowed to practice any longer. This will take effect immediately. The new wording which is being suggested by sense against science, and is being considered by the MHRA will effectively put us in catch 22 so that we can no longer give out remedies - basically, it is about the difference between dispensing and prescribing. all homeopaths dispense remedies as a normal part of daily practice. the new rules will mean that it will be illegal to dispense without a license, and only a qualified doctor can make a prescription. without the ability to dispense, all we can do is sit and listen to people's problems, but can do nothing else about it. this will also have an affect on the homeopathic pharmacies, who will only be allowed to dispense licensed remedies (currently, only arnica and possibly one or two others are licensed) unless prescribed by a physician, and this means the potential loss of thousands of remedies. The key words in the version we want, which help keep homeopathy going are "...use within the homeopathic tradition". This avoids the need to prove the science behind prescribing of remedies and allows us to practise as normal.

Could you please send this template to EVERYONE and inundate Ms Farmer with requests to keep the wording as shown below, so that homeopaths can continue to practise homeopathy legally.

Please contact everyone on your database, if you are a homeopath, please send it in yourself and contact all your patients to do the same. we can counteract sense about science with numbers. we just proved we have greater numbers than they do, and that when we mobilise, we can beat them at their own game. last week, they started a poll against homeopathy in an irish newspaper ( see link -
and inundated it with votes against. it was 435 against 67 for. we started a campaign on facebook, and within 24 hours, we shifted the balance of power to what you see here in the link - 67% for 27% against. they gave up and went away with their tails between their legs, and we showed them that people don't want what they have to offer.

Please help us to do this again. many people don't realise this new risk we are facing. it only takes a minute to copy and paste the below template and email it. Apologies in advance if you have acted on this already.

Thank you to everyone in advance - i know if we all work together, we can beat this.

email address:
Ms Andrea Farmer
MHRA, Area 5M
151 Buckingham Palace Road
Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

Dear Ms Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled; Review of Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR regime and homeopathy. As a member of the public who chooses to use homeopathy and benefits from its application/practicing homeopath (delete as applicable), I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign against homeopathy, which is led by a self-appointed pressure group, Sense About Science, and a number of bloggers.

I consider it to be a fundamental right of any citizen living in a country which purports to be a democracy, to have ready access to the healthcare option of their choice. This includes homeopathy, which as you know is included in the original NHS charter.

I find your statement below acceptable for the new registration labels, and can see no reason to change this statement:

"A homeopathic medicinal product licensed only on the basis of safety, quality and use within the homeopathic tradition"

Yours sincerely,

I read this through twice as I thought at first some clever satirist was exaggerating the uncritical thinking of a made up sympathiser. Does the author really think that the wording of a medicine labels should be determined by a popularity contest rather than reviewing the clinical trials of a products efficacy and safety? Surely not.

Personally I think we should go with Andy Lewis’ suggested label.

Or if you prefer, here’s my last charitable suggestion:

I was going to write an alternative letter in my lunch break, but I just noticed that @Billysugger has posted an excellent suggestion in the comments section, so I've saved myslef the effort and simply pasted his text into the main body of the post. Here it is ...


Ms Andrea Farmer

MHRA, Area 5M

151 Buckingham Palace Road

Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

Dear Ms Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled "Review of Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR regime and homeopathy".

As a member of the public who values evidence based medical practice, and recognises the dangers inherent in misleading claims for medical efficacy, I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign in support of unproven homeopathic treatments, and their potential to delay or avoid the application of proven medical therapies, which is led by self-interested homeopaths.

I consider it to be a fundamental duty of a democratic society to ensure that patients and clinicians are provided with clear information about potential remedies which is founded on reliable scientific evidence. This includes homeopathy, the efficacy of which, as you know, is not supported by the current scientific consensus.

I contend that the marketing of any substance which may be offered for sale or application, with an implied or explicit claim of medical efficacy, and which may be considered by patients or clinicians to be suitable as a substitute for, or an addition to, conventional therapeutic remidies, should be subject to the same Marketing Authorisation (MA) requirements as the therapeutic remedies for which they may be substituted.

Therefore I strongly urge the MHRA to move homeopathic products to full Marketing Authorisation (MA) requirements, rather than the NRS or simplified scheme.




And Alan Henness' measured submission to the MHRA can be downloaded from here

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