Consumer Protection & Homeopathy

Here’s a guest posting I’ve just done, for the Science-Based Pharmacy Blog: Homeopathy and Consumer Protection.

Here’s a snippet:

I’m going to pose two questions for homeopaths to answer, questions that I would likewise pose to any other kind of reputable business, especially any other reputable business in the field of health.

1. How do we detect phoney homeopathic preparations? In order to protect consumers, we need to be able to detect fake remedies — fake versions (sold by counterfeiters) that are really just inert look-alike copies of genuine remedies. In an age of international trade and Internet-based pharmacies, phoney pills are a big problem. …

2. What advice would you give a potential patient/customer who is trying to choose among various alternative therapies? How should a potential customer/patient choose between homeopathy, Therapeutic Touch, acupuncture, Angel Therapy, and so on? In other words, how can consumers know that they’re about to buy something good, rather than something bogus? “Trust me” won’t do…

Basically, the blog entry is an attempt to have a constructive conversation about consumer protection in a realm typified by name-calling and mutual mockery. The online “debate” over homeopathy typically involves science-minded folks smacking their foreheads at the scientifically-implausible claims made by homeopaths, and homeopaths smacking their foreheads at how skeptics “just don’t want to see” the truth. But the topic is too important to leave at that level. The two sides are never going to agree about how (in)effective homeopathy is. But they must agree on the importance of protecting consumers. The question, then, is how best to do that.

5 comments so far

  1. Bruce Ricketts on

    The best defense is education and common sense.

    Alternative therapies should be just that – alternative. But charlatans and snake oil salespeople have been around forever. The problem is that we cannot “just trust” conventional medicine either and that you cannot legislate common sense.

    People have to smarten up, ask questions, get educated and take a little responsibility for their own lives.

  2. […] Consumer Protection & Homeopathy (April 12, 2010) […]

  3. […] doesn’t revolve around a single event, like Rapture insurance does. What about, for example, selling homeopathy? Now, it’s one thing for a homeopath to prescribe and sell homeopathic treatments. After all, […]

  4. Chris MacDonald on

    Here’s a useful resource:

  5. […] Consumer Protection & Homeopathy April 12, 2010 […]

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