That’s what all homeopathic ‘medicines’ should say on their labels because that is precisely what they contain: no active ingredients.

Saying anything different is misleading the public.

For various unfathomable reasons, we have the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulating a non-medicine and a non-healthcare product. They don’t really even regulate homeopathic products. Not in any way that properly protects the public.

In fact, they do the opposite: they give these sugar pills and potions the legitimacy of having MHRA licence numbers — just like real medicines — and ‘Government approval’. This misleads the general public who are unaware that homeopathy isn’t some ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ system of medicine. It isn’t a system of medicine at all.

The MHRA are currently asking the public about some aspects of their regulation, including what wording should be on some homeopathic products and this is an ideal opportunity to tell them what we think.

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This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards

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Very laudable indeed, particularly in these economically tough times — we all need to tighten our belts (so we’re told). But there are sick people out there needing healed.

But this isn’t just any doctor. They want a specialty doctor. A specialty doctor in homeopathy, no less.

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Ever anxious to ensure the taxpayer isn’t paying for bogus therapies, I though it was about time I asked my local NHS trust.

I duly sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the North West London Hospitals NHS Trust. I wanted to get a comprehensive understanding of what AltMed therapies they indulged in. Their responses are in italics:

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Science and evidence frequently have a hard time surviving in the seat of our democracy, but it seems it is going to become even more difficult in this new session, particularly where health is concerned.

David Tredinnick (Conservative, Bosworth)

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Fellow scourge of chiropractors, Simon Perry, has just blogged about the admission by the CNHC — the quack’s regulator — that they are refusing to, well, regulate: OfQuack launches six-month bullshit amnesty: the regulator that doesn’t regulate.

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The NHS Choices website has the tag line “Your health, your choices” and aims to inform the public:

NHS Choices is the online ‘front door’ to the NHS. It is the country’s biggest health website and gives all the information you need to make choices about your health.

They provide first-rate information about your health, illnesses, careers, etc as well as helping you find a local GP or other NHS services.

They also have some pages on alternative therapies such as homeopathy. On the page for homeopathy, they say:

Homeopathy is a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAMs are treatments that are not based on conventional scientific theories. Other CAMS include:

  • acupuncture – where needles are placed in certain parts of the body,
  • chiropractic – where physical manipulation of the spine and joints is used to try to relieve symptoms, and
  • faith healing.

It’s good to see them place chiropractic firmly along side homeopathy, acupuncture and faith healing.

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Do you know who your MP is?

If you don’t, you can find him or her on the excellent They Work for You website.

Why is this important? Well, in case you’ve been hibernating all winter (and who could blame you), there’s going to be a General Election fairly soon and there’s no better time to lobby your MP and find out what his/her views are on important issues.

In case you’re struggling to think of something to ask your MP, here’s a suggestion:

Libel law.

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Today [Sunday] Professor Richard Dawkins will put the case for libel law reform to the Liberal Democrat conference proposing an amendment to the civil liberties bill.

The scientist and author is to appear as a guest speaker at Liberal Democrat Party Conference on Sunday.

Professor Dawkins will tell the conference that the chilling effect of libel laws on public debate about science and medicine, on writers and authors and on responsible journalism can no longer be ignored.

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David Colquhoun’s frustration — and indeed anger — is palpable. And understandably so.

He brilliantly covered Monday’s announcement by the Department of Health (DoH) of their consultation into the regulation of “acupuncture, herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and other traditional medicine systems”.

This consultation is the DoH’s response to the infamous Pittilo Report, which saw the light of day just over a year ago.

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