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January 23, 2010

UK skeptics plan mass homeopathy "overdose"

Kudos to the UK skeptics planning a mass homeopathy "overdose" to protest the fact that the National Health Service wastes public funds on these quack remedies:

There is still time to sign up for one of the most rational dates of 2010: next week's mass homeopathy overdose. At 10.23am on Saturday 30 January, anti-homeopathy activists, organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society, will down entire bottles of homeopathic remedies outside branches of Boots, the better to demonstrate that these preparations are worthless.

Even though sales of Hahnemann's potions are likely to be unaffected, there remains a chance that the survival of hundreds of sceptics might persuade officials at Nice, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, to re-examine the funding of homeopathy within the NHS. It remains one of the world's great mysteries that the health service, with its austere, cash-strapped commitment to evidence-based medicine, should continue to spend an estimated £4m a year on sugar pills. [Guardian]

At least sugar pills contain actual sugar. Homeopathic tinctures are so heavily diluted that they are unlikely to contain any active ingredient whatsoever. It's such an egregious ripoff that I wouldn't even buy a bottle of homeopathic "medicine" in order to chug it. So, next Saturday, I'll homeopathically OD on a glass of New York City tap water. Same difference.


The article doesn't say what they're consuming, and so I don't know if there is much risk.

But over-the-counter pills can be dangerous.

Ephedra was a factor in deaths for years before it was banned in 2004.

Typical muli-vitamins contain iron. One shouldn't take more one-a-day of a typical multi-vitamin to avoid excess iron.

Yes. Homeopathic remedies are just water. They indicate as much on label by listing the massive dilution factor.

But other kinds of "natural" and "herbal" remedies and supplements can be just as potent and dangerous in overdose as pharmaceuticals. Just because you can buy it in a health food store doesn't mean it can't make you sick.

Don't homeopathic remedies include other things, such as sugar pills or dissolved salts? Or is it always pure water?

I didn't really know what homeopathy was, so I had to look it up. Jesus. Industrial strength stupid.

When I hear "alternative medicine" I pretty much turn to any other subject, figuring I'm not here on earth nearly long enough to waste time with woo. So I wikipedia the thing and sure enough there's a whole trainload of goo-goo bullshit there which I'm not going to read all the way through because it isn't worth the time even if I knew I were going to live to be older than Methuselah.

Enjoy your glass of New York City tap water which as I recall, is very good. If there actually were anything to homeopathy, the nasty effluvia that passes for tap water in many western cities, e.g. San Diego, should make those places disease-free zones.

Hey, New York tap water has to pass through old buildings' lead pipes. Back when I lived on campus housing, I had to let the water run for a minute before I could even use it for cooking, much less drink it. Indeed, I've never gotten a serious illness in the last few years, unless you count 1-2 instances of the flu, so clearly, homeopathy does work...

I'm sure the skeptic protesters will make sure to read the labels before taking the drugs.

Erica Jaffa illustrates one of the points of the campaign: to educate the public that homeopathy isn't the same as "herbal medicine".

There's literally nothing other than water (for most of the liquid remedies) or sugar (the pillules).

Another point of the campaign: the UK government, through the National Health Service (NHS) actually pays for homeopathy.

Hey, New York tap water has to pass through old buildings' lead pipes.

I've got water that tastes great but tests just under the legal limit for radon. I drink it all the time so I should be well protected against fallout in the event of nuclear war.

Another point of the campaign: the UK government, through the National Health Service (NHS) actually pays for homeopathy.

Which is why health care is, and should be, (the horror!) rationed. Some cures are are hopelessly expensive or are, for one reason or another, just plain hopeless. Insurance companies ration the care they pay for and so should any government plan. Duh.

Some cures are are hopelessly expensive or are, for one reason or another, just plain hopeless.

How expensive is that? And if they are just plain hopeless, they aren't cures, are they?

If you want to overdose on homeopathic medicine, don't you have to drink distilled water?

They've forgotten about the "less is more" dictum of homeopathy... The real way to OD on homeopathy is not to take any at all.

I do like that they're doing it at 10:23, although I wonder how many people will get the joke...

I'm not a believer in homeopathy, but the unavoidable corollary they are relying on here is the idea that "legitimate" medicine will always kill or injure you in overdose.

Hardly a selling point for "legitimate" medicine. If there is any validity to homeopathy, which I doubt, one of its selling points would be its safety. This stunt proves nothing. How about showing us the science and sparing us the pro-pharma propaganda?

It's more an illustration that homeopathy is a non-entity. There's no there there. Even safe medicines are bad for people who don't need them. If these folks are willing to chug randoms bottle of homeopathic "remedy" they're literally putting their mouths where the NHS money is.

Many people do not understand how homeopathy works, so they are skeptics.

Homeopathy is a very complex medicine, and it works because of quantum physics.

Steps to make a remedy:
1. One drop of the original substance with 100 drops of water
2. Shake
3. One drop of that substance, 100 drops water
4. Shake
5. Steps 1-4 are repeated until there is no amount of the original substance in the tincture
This point is called Avogadro's number or Avogadro's constant.
As steps 1-4 are repeated, the remedy becomes stronger.
This is because of quantum leaps and quantum physics.
Hey, just because we didn't know how bats flew in caves, doesn't mean they didn't fly in caves.
Just because we don't have the technology at this point in time to figure out how homeopathy works, doesn't mean it doesn't.

My aura can kick your aura's ass. just watch it with this bad mouthing homeopathy.


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