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It Had More Than Water In It …

A memorandum on pseudoscientific character of homeopathy issued by the RAS Commission  on struggle against pseudoscience has closed another chapter in the argument between  the academic medical community and followers of the German doctor Christian Hahnemann, who formulated the core principle of homeopathy “like cures like” in the XVIII century. Another, but definitely not the last. The belief in the reality of miracles seems to be ineradicable in humans. Particularly belief in a drug, which will help all diseases, even the most frightful. Homeopathy offers seemingly therapeutic (“seemingly” is the key word here!) drugs, containing extremely small doses of the active substance. Of course, miracle cures did happen, for the placebo effect is a medically confirmed fact. Let’s recall Jeff Peters, a hero of O’Henri’s series of stories The Gentle Grafter: “Fake? – No, sir. There was two dollars’ worth of fluid extract of cinchona and a dime’s worth of aniline in that half-gross of bitters. I’ve gone through towns years afterwards and had folks ask for ‘em again”.

But the things people used to believe in a hundred of years ago, now require serious justification. Attempts to place a scientific foundation under the theory of homeopathy were fruitless. Effectiveness of homeopathic drugs and methods of treatment has not been evidenced in any of the numerous clinical trials conducted in different countries at different time. Attempts to provide theoretic explanations of possible mechanisms of action of homeopathy explicitly contradict the scientific view of the structure of matter, live organisms and action of medicinal drugs”, says the Memorandum of RAS Commission. Of course, there will be defenders, who will accuse those clinicians, psychotherapists, psychologists, physicians, chemists, biochemists, immunologists, pharmacologists, experts in other areas, who signed the document, of “witch hunt”. It is easy to understand: manufacturers of homeopathic drugs and homeopaths, running a smooth practice, will struggle for their business. By the way, nobody is going to ban this method. If people want to spend money on drugs with unproven efficacy, at the same time neglecting the effective medicines, they are in their own right to do that. But they should be aware of what they are doing and what it will lead to. It would be useful for them to read the conclusion of the expert interdisciplinary work group, which was the basis for the memorandum, and only after that decide which treatment to prefer.

By the way, many people already thought about that. This conclusion may be deduced from simple statistics. Sales of homeopathic drugs are reduced from year to year both by value and in packs.

The Commission on struggle against pseudoscience and falsification of scientific studies under the Panel of the Russian Academy of Science and the Federal Antimonopoly Service support this decision. However, it will be able to follow the recommendations only if some amendments are made to the Law on Drug Circulation. To regulate the current situation, by order of the Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation Veronika Skvortsova, a work group consisting of representatives of RAS, leading medical  institutions of this country and experts in homeopathy will have to be called.

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