Creating Waves of Awareness
THE SCOOP Appears to be Anti-Homeopathy
NZ Skeptics Invite Homeopaths to Join Campaign
NZ Skeptics Invite Homeopaths to Join Campaign
The New Zealand Skeptics are inviting homeopaths to join their call
for pharmacies to stop selling homeopathic products, as both groups
are opposed to the practice, albeit for different reasons.
The New Zealand Council of Homeopaths and others in the trade have
stated that their customers require lengthy personalised sessions to
"match the energy of the potency of the remedy with the person".
According to homeopath Mary Glaisyer, this involves matching symptoms
with the huge range of materials on which homeopaths base their ultra-
diluted preparations. For example, causticum, more mundanely known as
potassium hydroxide, is said to manifest its homeopathic action in
"paralytic affections" and "seems to choose preferable [sic] dark-
complexioned and rigid-fibered persons".
Pharmacists who sell homeopathic products in the same way they sell
deodorants and perfumed soaps are clearly not meeting basic
homeopathic practice. When a number of pharmacies in Christchurch
were checked by purchasers of these products, no pharmacy staff asked
about symptoms; one simply asked "do you want vitamins with that?".
The New Zealand Skeptics have been calling for pharmacies to stop
selling homeopathic products as they contend there are consumer
rights issues involving informed consent and misleading labelling.
"Homeopathy involves diluting a material until there isn´t anything
left of it at all - the NZ Council of Homeopaths have admitted that.
But we know 94% of homeopathic customers aren´t aware of this. They
think their expensive bottle of drops actually contains the
ingredients listed on the label- not water which once upon a time had
some of that in it," says Skeptics Chair Vicki Hyde. "Stocking it
next to genuine medical products gives homeopathic products
credibility which they don´t deserve."
Many people equate homeopathic products with herbal products, hence
the belief that the products contain real substance. In addition, the
products are commonly used for conditions which get better with time
regardless of treatment, as well as exploiting the well-known placebo
Hyde was disturbed to hear one pharmacist say that he didn´t care if
the industry was exploiting the placebo effect to claim results, he
stocked the products because people would buy them.
"We don´t think it´s a good idea for health practitioners to mislead
people. They should tell them that they are selling water for $10 a
teaspoon. And we think the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths should
take an ethical stand by calling on their product manufacturers to
stop supplying pharmacies."
Community pharmacists in Canada have recently been banned by their
professional regulators from selling non-licensed herbal medicines
and homeopathic remedies on the grounds of public safety. The
National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities has stated
that "pharmacists are obliged to hold the health and safety of the
public or patient as their first and foremost consideration" and
cites the need to ensure safety, efficacy and quality in products
offered by pharmacists.
The call for the NZ Skeptics and homeopaths to join forces is not the
first time such action has been considered. In 2002, when an Auckland
pharmacy starting selling products labelled homeopathic
"meningococcal vaccine" and homeopathic "hepatitis B vaccine", Hyde
and then-president of the NZ Homeopathic Society, the late Bruce
Barwell, discussed a joint release condemning this highly dangerous
move. Hyde was concerned that relying on water as a vaccine would
lead to unnecessary deaths - she already had notes from a Coroner´s
Court where a baby being treated with homeopathic ear drops died of
"It´s bad enough when the product labelling misleads people into
thinking they are buying something more than water - it´s far worse
when they misuse a word like vaccine in such a life-threatening
The homeopaths were concerned then, as now, that their 200-year-old
practices were being misrepresented by non-homeopaths keen to benefit
from the multi-million-dollar industry.
"If the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths joins the New Zealand
Skeptics in encouraging pharmacists to be ethical enough to stop
stocking these products, then we both will have done something
towards improving the health of New Zealanders."
Hyde has already had people contact her asking for a list of ethical
pharmacists that they can support with their business. She says the
NZ Skeptics are happy to hear from any pharmacy willing to take a
stand on this issue, and will start to create a database for
concerned members of the public.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
NZ Skeptics Homeopathy Campaign:
NZ Skeptics Homeopathy flyer:
1023: Homeopathy, there´s nothing in it (UK-based campaign)