...If it Quacks Like a Duck, it's Homeopathy
In a move which has baffled some and angered others, Canada Health has approved influenzinium, a nosode whose provders claim prevents flu. The problem with this ruling is that nosodes don’t and can’t defend against the flu because they are not medicine. Nosodes are homeopathic 'vaccine' preparations with no active ingredients at all, no mechanism of action and no evidence supporting their effectiveness.
What is Homeopathy?
The short answer is placebos packaged in quackery. Founded in the 18thcentury by Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy was founded on the principle of ‘like cures like’. An example of this would be when looking for a cure for headaches, a drug (mostly plant based) which normally causes headaches can cure it. If that sounds a bit peculiar, counter-intuitive and silly, that’s because it is, but the mind-twisting doesn’t end there. These active ingredients are then repeatedly diluted and shaken over and over until no active ingredient remains, in keeping with the backwardness of the logic; Hahnemann claimed this increased the potency of the preparation. The most ‘powerful’ homeopathic preparations are diluted 1 part in 100 and then this dilution is diluted 1 in 100, this process is carried out 30 times or more until statistically, there is no active ingredient left.
The evidence against effectiveness of homeopathic preparations is unequivocal; it is as effective as a placebo and no more. Since this is the case we might wonder why homeopathy is still around, part of the answer is strong advocates. Supporters of ‘alternative medicine’ are usually particularly firm and vocal in their beliefs and some of them are quite high profile, such as Prince Charles whose Foundation for Integrated Health lobbied for the use of homeopathy in the NHS.
Canada Health claim that all drugs that it licenses are safe and effective, however scientists have pointed to the mountain of evidence that shows homeopathy is no better than a placebo. Since Canada has also licenced homeopathic nosodes for measles, rubella and pertussis, many in the public health forum are pointing out that this may leave many vulnerable patients unprotected against very serious illnesses with children and elderly people being particularly at risk. Canada Health have defended their decision by claiming that the nosodes are safe, but critics argue that since the nosodes do not protect against the diseases that they claim to, their safety is not relevant.
Critical Period for Vaccinations
Vaccinations are possibly the most effective health intervention that science has ever devised. Vaccinations eliminated smallpox, a disease which killed 400million people in the 20th century alone, from the face of the earth and in a matter of years will do the same for polio. In this century over 1 billion (1,000,000,000) lives could be saved by vaccinations; however this has been undermined in recent years by people who make irresponsible and untrue accusations such as the claim that the MMR vaccine causes autism. These voices are gaining popularity and as a result, outbreaks of whooping cough and measles are on the rise. The Canadian public health agency recently released the statistic that only 62% of 2 year olds are up to date with their vaccinations, a level that does not come close to protecting the population against the spread of infectious diseases. Public health workers are making the case that giving this approval to homeopathic ‘treatments’ will only exacerbate a potentially dire situation.
*This article was ammended on 31/05/13
What do you think about this situation? Should the Canadian government take action over the approval of nosodes? Let us know in the comments below.