Montreal, Wednesday, November 24, 2021 – The Marketplace episode “Homeopathic remedies: investigating drugstore chains”, that aired on November 19, 2021, on the English-language CBC television network, contains erroneous facts that the Coalition pour l’homéopathie au Québec (CPHQ) and the Canadian Coalition for Homeopathy (CCFH) would like to point out and correct with updated, verifiable, and referenced information.
An update on modern science and homeopathy
Marketplace suggests that “no scientific study has been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of homeopathy and that homeopathy cannot have any effect because, essentially, homeopathic products are just sugar and water”. (1)
The current state of scientific knowledge about homeopathy no longer allows for such claims, which are now simply outdated. There is sufficient research and varying types of research that can attest to the following 3 facts:
1) Modern technologies such as nuclear magnetic resonance2 and spectroscopy3 allow for a good measurement of the differences in characteristics and properties between pure water and water containing a homeopathic preparation. Nothing could be further from the truth than saying that homeopathic medicines are only sugar and water.
2) Homeopathy has an action where the placebo effect is not possible: plants, animals and in vitro. Numerous experiments, some of which were done on duckweed (4), immune cells (5), and tadpoles (6), and repeated by various independent laboratories, have demonstrated the effect of homeopathic preparations.
3) Homeopathy has also been shown to have a therapeutic effect on humans. To this end, let us recall in particular:
a) that in 2011 a group of experts published a report for the Swiss government, demonstrating the effectiveness of homeopathy and its interest as to its costs/benefits.(7)
b) that the pharmaco-epidemiological survey EPI3 (2006-2010), compared homeopathic and conventional treatments of 825 doctors with 8500 patients, in France. The study measured the significant reduction in the consumption of conventional medicines for a comparable effectiveness.(8)
c) that in 2012, Australia concealed the results of a draft report, published only in 2019 after 3 years of public and political pressure. These results suggest efficacy beyond the placebo effect for 5 health conditions, including fibromyalgia, ear infections and upper respiratory infections. (9)
Correct information is the key
Members of both coalitions support the initiative to improve the identification and labeling of selfcare products so that consumers are well-informed about the products they purchase.(10) Since 2016, a review process to this effect has been taking place with all stakeholders in collaboration with Health Canada.
The evidence of efficacy supporting many products, called “traditional homeopathic references”, is based on more than 200 years of experience and observations of the effect of medicinal ingredients and their repeated therapeutic results. They are utilized by Health Canada and by the many health authorities around the world who recognize the value of this type of evidence.
“We must recognize that there are those who would like to see homeopathic products clearly eradicated from the landscape, claiming that anyone who buys a homeopathic product or recommends it is necessarily misguided or misinformed. This is false”, says Paul Labrèche, homeopath, president of the CPHQ and the Syndicat professionnel des homéopathes du Québec (SPHQ).
“Most consumers are generally unaware of the type of evidence that supports the efficacy and safety claims of all self-care products, whether they be natural or conventional. Despite this, there is no evidence that such a perceived lack of knowledge undermines consumers’ ability to make their choices”, adds Marie Lamey, homeopath, Chair of the CCFH and President of the BC Association of Homeopaths (BCAH).
“In fact, the 6 out of 10 pharmacists who provided consumers with a homeopathic medicine in the report made the choice based on the safety of these products in the first place. To have their competence and judgment questioned because they provide a homeopathic product is unprecedented. It is an infringement of the consumer’s right to be adequately informed and to make a choice”, continues Marie Lamey.
“After watching the report, we are also concerned about the first signs of a reduction in supply, which already presages an attack on Canadian cultural diversity and the commitment of our institutions to respect it. Whether they come from India, South America, France, or Eastern Europe, for example, these Canadian citizens are also entitled to find health products in our country that they can trust”, added Paul Labrèche.
200 years of effectiveness and acceptance
Homeopathy has been used for healing for over 200 years. According to the latest WHO survey (11), it is practiced in 100 of 133 member countries. Approximately 400,000 homeopaths, physicians, midwives, pharmacists and other practitioners and health professionals worldwide use it. Consumers, estimated at 200 million (12) , gather everywhere. In Europe alone, there are 19 user associations. There are now two in Canada.
About the Coalition pour l’homéopathie au Québec (CPHQ) and the Canadian Coalition for Homeopathy (CCFH)
With a mission to promote and defend homeopathy and to rectify misinformation about homeopathy in Quebec and in the other provinces of Canada, the Coalition pour l’homéopathie au Québec (CPHQ) and the Canadian Coalition for Homeopathy (CCFH) bring together an association of professionals regulated by the College of Homeopaths of Ontario, associations of practitioners from all provinces, manufacturers as well as users of homeopathy across Canada. Both coalitions work closely with the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) based in the UK.
Source : Coalition pour l’Homéopathie au Québec (CPHQ); Canadian Coalition for Homeopathy (CCFH); Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), United Kingdom
For information and interview requests:
2 Van Wassenhoven M, et al. (2017), « Nuclear Magnetic Resonance characterization of traditional homeopathically-manufactured copper (Cuprum Metallicum) and a plant (Gelsemium Sempervirens) medicines and controls », Homeopathy (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.homp.2018.08.001
3 SarkarT; Konar A; Sujul NC; Singaha A; Sujul A. (2015) « Vibrational and Raman spectroscopy provide further evidence of free OH groups and hydrogen bond strength underlying difference in two more drugs at ultrahigh dilutions. » Int J High Dilution Res. 2015;15(3): 2-1
4 Jäger T, Scherr C, Simon M, et al. Effects of homeopathic arsenicum album, nosode, and gibberellic acid preparations on the growth rate of arsenic-impaired duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). Scientific World Journal. 2010 Nov 4;10:2112-2
5 Belon P, Cumps J, Ennis M, et al. Histamine dilutions modulate basophil activation. Inflamm Res. 2004;53(5):181‐188.
6 Endler PC, Scherer-Pongratz W, Harrer B, Lingg G, Lothaller H. Amphibians and ultra high diluted thyroxine–further experiments and re-analysis of data. Homeopathy. 2015;104(4):250‐256. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2015.10.001
7 Bornhöft, et al. (2011), Homeopathy in Healthcare – Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs, An HTA report on homeopathy as part of the Swiss Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme, 2011, ISBN: 978-3-642-20638-2
8 Rossignol M. et al.(2012) Impact of physician preferences for homeopathic or conventional medicines on patients with musculoskeletal disorders: results from the EPI3-MSD cohort. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Oct;21(10):1093-101
9 Homeopathy Research Institute, https://www.hri-research.org/wp content/uploads/2019/10/20191009_HRI-Statement_NHMRC-FirstReport-Findings 2.pdf
11 WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019
12 Homeopathy Research Institute, https://www.hri research.org/resources/essentialevidence/use-of-homeopathy-across-the-world