The random thoughts of a sceptical activist.
Just two days ago, a fellow Twitterer, Yogzotot, mentioned a rumour that Boots had removed their homeopathic potions from their shelves.
I emailed Boots, seeking confirmation of this rumour. I got a reply at 09:55 this morning, New Year’s Day!
In Casting the runes, I highlighted the abject failure of OfQuack to reach even their ever-so-slightly modified 2009 membership target. Remember, it started out at 10,000. Then it was downsized to 4,000 — just five months after they opened for business — by re-writing their press release from the previous December. Then, in September, The Lay Scientist announced that their July Committee meeting minutes said they were planning a celebration in the Autumn when their membership was expected to reach the dizzy heights of just 2,000.
Well, now it’s the last day of 2009, how have they fared? For those following the OfQuack Fail widget, it’ll come as no surprise to find that they have failed — spectacularly.
Phew! This has been a spectacular week or so for alternative medicine.
Firstly, we had the Landmark ASA ruling on asthma and colic. Then we have the spectacle of some of its major proponents being tortured and exposed before the House of Commons Science and Technology Sub-committee looking into the evidence (or lack of it) for homeopathy. Skepticat tells it far better than I could, but the admission by Boots of the absence of evidence for homeopathy and that they just sell the stuff ‘cos their customers want to buy it has been described as a Ratner moment.
That was Wednesday; but today was another significant day for the regulation of quackery.
The deadline was today, and I only just managed to get my response in to the Department of Health consultation (take a deep breath):
A joint consultation on the Report to Ministers from the DH Steering Group on the Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Other Traditional Medicine Systems Practised in the UK
…otherwise known as the Pittilo consultation.
I covered the launch of this consultation in August (see Regulating nonsense). Since then, Professor David Colquhoun has blogged his response and urged everyone to respond to this consultation to ‘help to stop Department of Health making fool of itself‘.
David also published the excellent response by someone known as Allo V Psycho. David correctly summarised this response:
‘The document is a model of clarity, and it ends with constructive suggestions for forms of regulation that will, unlike the Pittilo proposals, really protect patients.
I have taken my lead from these responses and concentrated on my unique view of current statutory regulation: that of chiropractors.
This is Homeopathy Awareness Week. The triumvirate of Lewith, Dixon and Fisher are on the attack against those silly people who think there is no evidence for homeopathy.