JDC has just put up an excellent post about Holford, Burne and Serotonin pills: noting that, while Jerome Burne is given space on Holford’s blog to argue for the need to “Save NHS money on ineffective drugs, not homeopathy”, Holford’s own recommendations for depression are neither cheap nor based on good evidence. I think that two further things are worth emphasising re this post on Holford’s blog:
Neal’s Yard were nice enough to agree to feature on the Guardian’s Ethical Living Blog: to answer reader questions. Guardian readers donated thiee time in order to contribute plenty of interesting questions (the comments page on this story runs to five pages) on issues such as what level of evidence they demand before selling a product, the ethics of their previous policy of selling homoeopathic pills for malaria (now withdrawn), or the ethical problems involved in distributing non-evidence-based anti-vaccine information.
Sadly, though, Adam Vaughan of the Guardian was left to report that
Unfortunately, despite previous assurances that they would be participating in this blog post, I’ve now been told they ‘will not be taking part in the debate’.
So yes, as several people have pointed out, this has become something of ‘You Ask’, rather than a ‘You Ask, They Answer’. I’m still hoping NYR will reconsider.
Despite attempts to persuade Neal’s Yard to participate, that comments thread has now been closed.
This is a real shame: there are fascinating ethical issues around the marketing and selling of ‘complementary and alternative’ treatments, and it would have been great to have discussed this with Neal’s Yard. We were just putting together a question about their position on vaccinations, before we learnt that they were not going to respond.
Ever-optimistic, we will e-mail Neal’s Yard shortly: to invite them to address some of the questions raised on EthicalLiving here (in the comments, or a guest post). If there is anything else you would like to ask them, feel free to post the comment here – we will be sure to e-mail them a link to this thread. Continue reading
Official Homeopathy Resource breaks some shocking news: New York Times: Beware of Anti-Homeopathy Journalists and Bloggers- They May Be Sponsored By Drug Companies. Drawing upon the recent (good) article in the New York Times about the conflicts of interest of health journalists, they express their anguish at the conflict of interest that they imagine for Dr Ben Goldacre and for Gimpy. Continue reading
Bad Science‘s Dr Ben Goldacre has collaborated with Radio 4 to produce a 2-part exploration of the potent, intriguing power of placebo. Both Part 1 and Part 2 discussed the history, science and theatre of this fascinating phenomenon and it has been notable that the examples spanned from Perkins Tractors, Mesmer and animal magnetism, to work that was published only this year. Placebo has such an extensive and rich history and encompasses so many issues aside from medicine such as social influence and trust that it isn’t practical to present more than a tasting menu of it in 2 half-hour programes. Nonetheless, at the risk of sounding like Brillat-Savarin, it was strangely unsatisfying that neither of the programmes addressed the issue that some researchers argue that the placebo is both over-rated and ineffective and that there is no role for it in medicine, outside the context of a clinical trial. Continue reading