A few weeks ago I reported on The Merseyside Skeptics Society’s involvement with the 10:23 Campaign to put pressure on Alliance Boots to withdraw sales of homeopathic remedies following an incredible admission by Paul Bennett, professional standards director for Boots, to the Commons Science and Technology Committee in November 2009 that the company knows full well that the “treatment” has no appreciable effect, but they continue to stock it simply because customers buy it.
If homeopathy has any effect whatsoever, theoretically, it should be possible to “overdose” on it. To prove beyond doubt that this is not the case, the 10:23 Campaign – so called after the level of dilution that most homeopathic practitioners use in their potions – will be staging a series of swallowing events outside Boots stores in several cities throughout the UK at 10:23am on 30 January 2010: Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, Southampton and London, with sympathy protests in Australia, Canada and the United States.
At 10:23am on January 30th, more than three hundred homeopathy sceptics nationwide will be taking part in a mass homeopathic “overdose” in protest at Boots’ continued endorsement and sale of homeopathic remedies, and to raise public awareness about the fact that homeopathic remedies have nothing in them.
Sceptics and consumer rights activists will publicly swallow an entire bottle of homeopathic “pillules” to demonstrate that these “’remedies”, prepared according to a long-discredited 18th century ritual, are nothing but sugar pills.
The protest will raise public awareness about the reality of homeopathy, and put further pressure on Boots to live up to its responsibilities as the “scientist on the high street” and stop selling treatments which do not work.
If you want to get involved with the event, contact your nearest skeptics in the pub organisation. National press enquiries should be directed to Martin Robbins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Martin Robbins, a spokesman for the society, said: “The remedies themselves may not be directly harmful, but there is a real danger in misleading customers into thinking that homeopathy is somehow equivalent to real medicine.
“Patients may believe that they are treating themselves or their children adequately, and delay seeking appropriate treatment; or they may receive dangerous advice after consulting with homeopaths rather than their GPs.”
He added: “The ‘overdose’ is a dramatic way of demonstrating to the public that these remedies have literally nothing in them. If eating an entire box of homeopathic sleeping pills fails to send one person to sleep, then how on Earth can their sale be justified?”
The group expects at least 300 people to take part. I hope to be at the London “overdose”.
Tags: Alliance Boots, alternative medicine, bunkum, Commons Science and Technology Committee, confidence trick, Doing a Ratner, Gerald Ratner, homeopathy, medicine, merseyside skeptics society, nonsense, Paul Bennett, pharmacy, pseudo-science, snake oil