Monday, 1 February 2010

None dead in mass homeopathic overdose

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The mass homeopathic overdose, organised by the 10:23 campaign, went ahead on Saturday morning, and it appears everyone involved lived to tell the tale. Hundreds of sceptics gathered at various locations around the country, many of them outside branches of Boots, and at 10:23am downed entire packets of homeopathic pills. With the exception of an amusing remark reported in the Observer from Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris, who quipped that one "swallower" hurt their thumb while opening the pill bottle, there were no reports of casualties.

But while they may not have succeeded in taking their own lives (that was the aim, wasn't it? Or am I missing something?), the 10:23 campaigners have succeeded in raising awareness of the inefficacy of homeopathic medicine, and the double-standards of leading pharmacists who happily stock them while admitting that they don't work. The campaign has received a huge amount of media coverage – it's been in the broadsheets (Telegraph, Guardian, Times) the tabloids and even on BBC News. Martin Robbins, one of the campaign organisers, told me they're delighted with the response:
"We're absolutely thrilled with the amount of media interest we managed to generate, not just across the British media but from places all around the world, as far afield as Brazil and New Zealand. The reaction has been great fun to watch too. In New Zealand for example homeopaths were forced to admit that their remedies have nothing in them, to the amusement of the local media. We really hope that this will encourage more people to ask awkward questions of their local Boots pharmacist!"
And with the House of Commons select committee on science and technology due to recommend a reappraisal of £4 million per year spent on homoepathy by the NHS, this may not be the best time to be a homeopath. Indeed, the trigger for the 10:23 campaign was Boots' professional standards director admitting to the select committe that there is no evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathy.

The photo I've used here is from the 10:23 Campaign's Flickr gallery, which you can peruse for more pics. And if you want to hear more about Saturday's event, why not have a listen to the latest edition of the sceptical Pod Delusion podcast, which features interviews with Simon Singh, Evan Harris and Dave Gorman, who were all present at the London "overdose".

3 comments:

Ben Zvan said...

Won't this just end up proving that homeopathic medicine is 'safe?'

Shani said...

Homeopathic medicine is not supposed to cure anything, but to help strengthen your system. So an overdose wont kill you.

Anonymous said...

Its safe because all it is is sugar pills and water, the only risk you have is getting amild sugar rush.....