Active ingredients: still none (hopefully)

While some of us were composing our considered responses to the MHRA’s consultation on homeopathy, supporters of the magic sugar pills panicked and urged friends and homeopaths to flood the MHRA with their ill-considered responses.

This orchestrated campaign was leaked last night and gave us all a good laugh.

It was obvious the writer of the original email either hadn’t read the MHRA consultation document or was just unable to understand it and her email no doubt scared many a homeopath to write desperate emails to the named official at the MHRA. Of course, everyone is perfectly entitled to respond and make their views known. It does help, though, if you have some basic understanding of the regulatory framework and what issues the MHRA was consulting on.

The panic email contained many errors, including this gem:

The practice of homeopathy by lay homeopaths is at stake, and if the MHRA changes the wording to the document mentioned below, we will …not be allowed to practice any longer.

The originator of the email appears to be the Administrator at a ‘school’ of homeopathy, so you would have thought she might have better understood the consultation.

Her assertion is — like homeopathy — nonsense: homeopaths are not about to be stopped selling their products. The consultation is about ending the privileged position some homeopathic products were inexplicably granted 30 years ago and about the warning labels on some of them. Of course, I have no idea why homeopaths would want to maintain the status quo…

The full email and Andy Lewis’ thoughts on it can be read on his blog:

The Homeopaths’ Desperate Campaign to the MHRA

And Crispian Jago has, of course, his own take on it:

However, I have submitted my own views on the consultation, on behalf of the Nightingale Collaboration.

The full document is here, but the summary is:

  • To protect the public, homeopathic products should be properly defined.
  • All PLRs should be revoked at the earliest opportunity.
  • The normal fees for the transfer of PLRs to other licence categories should be charged to the manufacturers, saving the MHRA some £250,000 to £700,000.
  • The warning labels on all homeopathic products should be revised so that the public have the information necessary to make fully informed choices.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 18 February: I urge all those concerned about the public being misled by homeopathic products to respond to the consultation.

But read it first.

13 thoughts on “Active ingredients: still none (hopefully)”

  1. I wonder about the inclusion of the reference to democracy in the email. Was there some national referendum about homeopathy that I missed? Or does the writer think democracy means anyone can have anything they want?

    Hmm….this ‘plea for help’ is beginning to smell like the work of an evil skeptic trying to make homeopaths look stupid.

  2. You are correct in stating that homeopaths are not about to stop from selling their magic pills. The proposals made by the MHRA in the consultation would make very little difference to the current situation.

    But it has been the case since 1971 that there have been products that pharmacies can not legally supply to lay homeopaths and that lay homeopaths can not supply to their clients. If a homeopathic product is not registered with the MHRA it has the status of an unlicensed medicine. The vast majority of the homeopathic products on the UK market fall into this category.

    The MHRA have a statutory duty to ensure that these products do not appear on the UK market.

  3. Nancy

    It shows no such thing. What it does show is either extremely poor manufacturing methods or extremely poor experimental technique.

  4. Have you seen Jack of Kent’s April Fool blogpost today? I predict you’ll get one of your regular cerebrally-challenged chiroquacks along any time now to make yet another gratuitously nasty, pointless comment attacking skeptics.

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