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Malaria cure scam: the follow-up

August 26th, 2007 · 12 Comments

A recent post, Homeopathic “cures” for malaria: a wicked scam, revealed two more cases of claims to cure malaria with homeopathic funny water.

One was the claim of Kate Birch, the vice president of the North American Society of Homeopaths, that “Homeopathy is more effective that any western medication”
for treatment of malaria.

This is so dangerous that some action was needed.

The other was a claim by a UK company that claims for Demal 200 (which contains nothing but 15% alcohol)

“Demal 200 is highly effective in treating all types of Malaria even the strains that have developed a resistance to chemical based drugs”

But on checking the web site in 28 Aug, 18 days after the original post, guess what? Demal 200 has vanished. I wonder who told them to do that? The advert was still in the Google cache, and you can download it here, as it appeared on 10th August. Don’t worry though, 20 seconds with Google shows that there are plenty of other people willing to sell this expensive hooch. For example ‘Blueturtle Remedial Sciences’. They give a lot of email addresses to which you can write for further information.

I made a lot of complaints about these wickedly dangerous claims. So far, the result is close to zero.

The Society of Homeopaths, both UK and USA, refuse point blank to give any opinion about the ability of homeopaths to cure malaria.

The Society of Homeopaths is also making its contribution to deaths in Africa by its utterly delusional attitude to AIDS.

They do nothing to stop their many members who do make such claims from killing people. As regulatory organisations, they are just a sick joke.

The Advertising Standards Authority and the Trading Standards people disclaim any responsibility, as does the Center for Disease Control (USA). The FDA and the MHRA have yet to reply, but they did very little after the revelation that homeopaths claimed to be able to prevent malaria.

Nobody seems willing to do anything at all.

But is characteristic of quasi-religious organisations that they split in to warring sects. The Faculty of Homeopaths (UK), in stark contrast to the Society of Homeopaths,

” . . . does not promote the use of homeopathy for the prevention of malaria.

It also supports steps to inform the public of the dangers of malaria and the need to follow government guidance. Last year the Faculty worked with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on a statement for the HPA website: http://www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/malaria/homeopathic_statement_260705.htm

All that can be said for the malaria scandal is that it has revealed that the curious world of homeopathy is in in chaos when it comes to serious diseases. And it shows very starkly how utterly meaningless self-regulation of homeopathy is, and how government agencies disclaim responsibility

There is lots more about this wickedness on the web: try The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing.

Here are some of the results of complaints.

Society of Homeopaths (SoH) (UK)

I wrote (13 Aug) to the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) to ask about the use of the initials RSHom and RSHom (NA), and to ask about their attitude to the claims made for Demal 200.”Please could you tell me the opinion of the Society of Homeopaths about someone describing herself as RSHom behaving in this way, and also about Demal 200.”

I had a very quick reply from Paula Ross, chief executive of the SoH. She said

“There is no connection between The Society of Homeopaths (whose registered members use the designation ‘RSHom’) and the North American Society of Homeopaths (whose registered members use the designation ‘RSHom NA’).”

But she ignored the second question.

My other question was about whether SoH would like to comment on Demal 200.A company called giftofafrica says of its homeopathic malaria treatment. “Demal 200 is highly effective in treating all types of Malaria even the strains that have developed a resistance to chemical based drugs.” The company selling this is based in Wolverhampton, UK. and their claim seems to contradict directly your statement at http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/patientinfo.aspxBest regardsDavid Colquhoun

After more than a week, and two reminders, I got no reply whatsoever.from
Paula Ross. However a correspondent sent a similar enquiry to the Society of Homeopaths, asking of Demal 200

“Would you recommend this product for use in Malaria regions or are the claims bogus?”

This was the ‘response’.

Dear ***,
Thank you for your email.May I suggest you contact one of the Homeopathic manufacturers who will be able to advise you and give you more information regarding Demal 200.For our list of Pharmacies please visit our website www.homeopathy-soh.org
Regards
Melissa Wootton
Office Administrator
The Society of Homeopaths.
11 Brookfield, Duncan Close,
Moulton
Park, Northampton NN3 6WL
Website: www.homeopathy-soh.org

It is hard to imagine any more irresponsible evasiveness than this.The North American Society of Homeopaths was less reticent when I asked about their attitude to claims to be able to treat serious infectious diseases.

13 Aug 2007

Please can you clarify for me the policy of NASH regarding infectious diseases.

Recently the Society of Homeopaths (UK) issued a statement that read thus
“The Society of Homeopaths, the UK’s largest register of professional homeopaths, acknowledges that malaria is a serious and life-threatening condition and that there is currently no peer reviewed research to support the use of homeopathy as an anti-malarial treatment. ”
(see http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/patientinfo.aspx )

I can see no such statement on the NASH web site. In fact there are some things that seem to suggest that NASH approves of homeopathic treatment of infectious diseases (not least Kate Birch’s book), despite the fact that your Standards of Practice Guidelines says

“Do not claim that you can treat any disease, condition or ailment or imply that you can do so.
Be extremely careful when speaking or writing about the treatment of particular diseases or conditions (and never offer or claim to help anybody)”

Please could you give me a clear statement of your policy concerning homeopathic treatment of malaria, AIDS, cholera, typhoid fever, yellow fever and tuberculosis.

Best regards

David Colquhoun

The reply ignored entirely the question about their own code of practice

Dear Mr. Colquhoun,

Thank you for your inquiry of 8/13/07. NASH does not have a policy on the treatment of any disease category, in accordance with the tenet that homeopathy treats the whole person based on characteristic symptoms rather than a diagnosis.
Sincerely,

Liz Bonfig
NASH Administrator==============================

The NORTH AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOMEOPATHS
PO BOX 450039, Sunrise, FL 33345-0039, USA ~ Tel: 206-720-7000 ~ Fax:
208-248-1942 343 Carrville Road, Richmond Hill, ONT L4C 6E4, CANADA ~ Tel:
905-886-1060 ~ Fax: 905-886-1418

Again, the question was totally evaded. These people can’t be serious. But then, on 17th August I got from Ms Birch a note that suggests that there has been a bit of internal dissension within NASH. Have they censured their vice president for going too far? If so will she recant? Don’t hold your breath.

X-UCL-MailScanner-From: katebhom@hotmail.commy final statement to you is: The personal response that was solicited from me on my private e-mail does not represent the views of the North American Society of Homeopaths.

Next, here is my mail to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concerning the claims of Kate Birch, “Homeopathy is more effective that any western medication“.

It has come to my attention that a Ms Kate Birch (vice chair of the North American Society of Homeopaths), is advocating homeopathic treatment of malaria and also yellow fever, typhoid, dengue fever and cholera. She does this through her book and also in emails to potential customers.This seems to me to be very dangerous, so I have asembled some of the relevant evidence at http://dcscience.net/?p=24Please can you tell me if it is legal in the USA to claim to cure serious diseases like these with “remedies” that contain nothing but water and alcohol?

Their reply was nothing if not blunt (but not very helpful).

Dear Mr. Colquhoun,I forwarded your email to one of our staff scientists; his response was as follows:—–Original Message—–FDA regulates medicines, vaccines, and drugs. States regulate the practice of medicine.Charlatans and quacks can be reported to these regulatory agencies.However, the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and authors can write all kinds of wacky stuff that is bad for your health.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Internet Response Team National Center for Infectious Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Demal 200 UK

This UK company makes the outrageuous claim that their 15% alcohol “”Demal 200 is highly effective in treating all types of Malaria even the strains that have developed a resistance to chemical based drugs”

A complaint about this to the Advertising Standards Authority about this mendacious
advertisement produced a quick reply which said it did not come under their remit,

They suggested trying the Trading Standards people. The Trading Standards Authority replied on 28 Aug 07 (Adrian Winter).

” . . . this is not a matter that falls under the jurisdiction of
Trading Standards. The Medicines and Heathcare

Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the appropriate body in this instance.”

I’d already written to the MHRA (13 Aug 2007) thus,

A company called giftofafrica says of its homeopathic malaria treatment:

“Demal 200 is highly effective in treating all types of Malaria even the strains that have developed a resistance to chemical based drugs.”

This direct claim of effectiveness seems to me to be mind-bogglingly irresponsible.

The company selling this stuff is based in Wolverhampton, UK. It costs £31.99 (or $56.40) for 30 ml of 15% alcohol (and 200C homeopathic dilutions, .i.e., nothing)

Please can you tell me about the legal position concerning claims to be able to cure infectious diseases, and whether or not the MHRA has any responsibility in cases like this.

Best regards

David Colquhoun

The MHRA are taking their time. No response by yet. But all they did after the Newsnight programme was to issue a statement which nobody is likely to read. They have done nothing to stop these dangerous advertisements.

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Tags: Anti-science · Bad journalism · CAM · Dangerous advice · Politicians

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mojo // Aug 28, 2007 at 22:19

    DC wrote: “But is characteristic of quasi-religious organisations that they split in to warring sects. The Faculty of Homeopaths (UK), in stark contrast to the Society of Homeopaths,

    ” . . . does not promote the use of homeopathy for the prevention of malaria.

    It also supports steps to inform the public of the dangers of malaria and the need to follow government guidance.“”

    Perhaps the crucial difference between the FoH and the SoH in this respect is that the Faculty is a “professional body for doctors and other statutorily regulated healthcare professionals”.

    Their members are also regulated by non-homoeopathic bodies. If they were to advise patients to rely on homoeopathy to prevent or treat malaria, regulatory bodies other then the Faculty would get involved.

  • 2 Shinga // Aug 29, 2007 at 16:36

    Ach – this gets very tricky. Dr Peter Fisher of the FoH participated in an event with Dr Ben Goldacre. Fisher said:

    If I could just put the record straight on the vexed question of vaccination.

    It is true, regrettably, highly regrettably in my view, that many homeopaths recommend against MMR and this is quite clearly not part of the homeopathic tradition, it is absolutely clear. Homeopathy, actually, was invented in the same year as vaccination, 1796, and Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, is on record, absolutely clearly, unequivocally, he wrote a lot, so if you really want to find him contradicting himself you can, but on one thing he never contradicted himself on vaccination, he was 110% in favour. So let’s not, you know, get, you know, be quite clear. Homeopathy is not anti-vaccination. It has become associated with anti-vaccinationionism but this is not part of the authentic homeopathic position.

    However, a truly extraordinary number of the doctors on the FoH list are publicly anti-vax and quite a number of them signed the Nigel Thomas petition as part of that stance.

  • 3 jdc325 // Aug 31, 2007 at 12:25

    I tried the MHRA on Demal 200 and NASH on the comments by Kate Birch.
    Have yet to hear from either, with the exception of an acknowledgement email from the MHRA.

  • 4 jdc325 // Sep 6, 2007 at 16:39

    The link to Demal 200 now comes up as ‘page not found’ and redirects to a catalogue that does not feature any homeopathic remedies. Maybe the MHRA have taken some action?

  • 5 Society of Homeopaths: cowards and bullies // Oct 11, 2007 at 14:52

    […] pretence to be able to cure malaria, the non-medical (and much larger) Society of Homeopaths has consistently refused to do the same. OK it’s fun to see the fantasy world of homeopaths riven by their internecine squabbles, but […]

  • 6 A visit from Kate Birch // Oct 25, 2007 at 10:08

    […] The follow up to that outrageously wicked claim is posted here. […]

  • 7 Depleted Cranium » Blog Archive » Homeopathy Strikes Again. This time it’s Malaria. // Nov 7, 2007 at 00:40

    […] Source: BBC Report Follow-up information […]

  • 8 Homeopathy: science or religion? « A canna’ change the laws of physics // Jan 11, 2008 at 17:26

    […] most egregious examples are offering prophylaxis and cures for malaria as well as treatment of HIV/AIDS.  These fantasies are indulged in by doctrinaire homeopaths in […]

  • 9 knowhow4x4 // Jan 9, 2010 at 02:30

    What about remedies that use Silver? It’s not really homeopathic and it’s commonly used as an antibacterial medical instrument, like in catheters, etc and for the treatment of burns. I heard that silver can be used to treat Malaria as well, can anyone confirm this? ProtectSol in particular is making this claim as a “Silver Supplement”. ProtectSol

  • 10 More homeopathic killing // Mar 16, 2010 at 14:17

    […] American Society of Homeopaths, who advocates sugar pills for every disease under the sun (and follow-up to these claims).   Memorably, she visited me in late 2007 and gave me a copy of her book. A visit from Kate […]

  • 11 rukshin // Sep 21, 2010 at 08:34

    Mr. DC – you really seem to have too much spare time in your fruitless life.. You could have spent all your energy in trying to do something fruitful but rather without the minutest knowledge of the H of homoeopathy you have gone about ridiculing it.. I have first hand seen cured cases of Malaria in a country like India where we get cases everyday by the dozens… We have years of follow ups showing no relapse. Please do not ridicule the 1000’s of Doctors who over the past 100’s of years have tried to help improve the health of society by trying to not over drug and over dose your body….. No hard feeling…

    @SHINGA – Please do get your facts straight… All the stalwarts from Dr. Hahnemann to Dr. Stuart Close and Dr. Roberts.. etc. etc. have all written of the harmful effects strongly outnumbering any of the so called use of vaccinations. There is a lot of mordern scientific proof and records of this in various books n also online.

  • 12 David Colquhoun // Sep 21, 2010 at 09:46

    @rukshin
    I must admit that I do enjoy comments like yours, if only because the bitterness and misinformation in them can only help to discredit the fraud that is homeopathy.

    Of course you have no idea how much I have studied homeopathy, or what else I have done in my life. You simply don’t like my conclusions.

    On the particular questions of malaria and vaccinations, perhaps you should argue that out with the Queen’s Homeopathic Physician, Peter Fisher. On these particular questions his view is much closer to mine than to yours.

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