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Canada: About a month ago, a class action lawsuit of 30 million dollars was filed against homeopathy

The plaintiffs focused on the claim of the drug manufacturer Biron that the drug contains a certain active substance - duck heart and liver extract - and this substance is not found in the pills at all * The manufacturer will be required to face these claims in court in Canada

Event logo 10:23 - Homeopathic overdose
Event logo 10:23 - Homeopathic overdose

Almost three years ago, during the great hysteria over the swine flu, one of my aunts (Aunt Hava, if you must know) entered a pharmacy in France and asked what should be taken against the disease. The young pharmacist offered her, without blinking twice, a package of Oscillo pills at a price equal to about 15 dollars. The medicine was supposed to protect Aunt Hava from the swine flu.

To this very day, Aunt Hava still tries to use this whole thing as proof of homeopathy's effectiveness. There is no doubt that the medicine worked, as she never contracted the swine flu. Of course, she has never been devoured by a dragon either - living proof that Oscillo also protects against ravenous dragons.

This is an amusing story, especially from the point of view of the Boiron company, which manufactures the homeopathic medicine known by its full name as 'oscillococinum'. If you look at the package, you will see that the active ingredient of Oscillo is an extract of the liver and heart of an Anas Barbariae duck. Want to know how duck liver and heart can cure flu? They probably aren't. Still, we'll ignore the need for proof for a moment, and continue to focus on the active ingredient here. The extract goes through two hundred dilutions, each of which dilutes the original extract a hundredfold. This means that after the first dilution, there is only one drop of active substance for every hundred drops of water. After the second dilution, there is only one drop active, for every 10,000 drops. And so on, and so on.

After two hundred dilutions, we arrive at a solution that contains, in practice, only water. So according to every physical, chemical and logical law known to mankind.

In this water, Biron moistens pills, which contain one gram of different types of sugar. She sells each of these six pills for about $15, or $2,500 per kilogram. As a comparison, one kilogram of sugar costs around one and a half dollars. I leave it to the intelligent reader to calculate Boiron's profit from the whole story. It's not such a difficult challenge. In fact, it's so easy that at least one sane public body in Canada got annoyed by the fact that Byron was selling preparations worse than grandma's medicine (and certainly less effective than chicken soup), and decided to fight them in the dirtiest way known to mankind. Exactly - he filed a class action lawsuit against them for 30 million dollars.

The lawsuit was filed in collaboration between the Roy-Elliott-O'Connor law firm and the Canadian Research Center. And here's the really interesting part: although the lawsuit contains complaints about the violation of 12 different sections for the protection of innocent customers, the main focus is not that Oscillo is ineffective. If the prosecutors did that, they would fall again into the old trap of proving effectiveness, for which you need studies upon studies. Instead, they focused on Boiron's claim that the medicine contains a certain active substance - duck heart and liver extract - and this substance is not present in the pills at all, according to all the calculations we did a few paragraphs ago. Oscillo contains nothing but sugar, with a little well-distilled water.

This is an ingenious strategy to combat homeopathy. More than anything else, it's entertaining because it throws homeopaths their arguments back. Do you believe that shockingly low dilutions can help? There is no problem with that. Your full right. But you have no right to claim that there is even one atom of the same active substance in the final preparation. And the pharmacist in the store has no right to tell customers that "Oscillo is made from duck liver and heart". she does not. It is made of sugar. only sugar. And everyone - from a child to court judges in Canada - can see the basic logic in this claim.

Is it possible that the water from the final and diluted solution of Buron still retains some memory of the early duck period? Yes of course. We cannot dismiss theories in science. We can only say that no evidence has ever been discovered that water remembers medicine, but quickly forgets the taste of sewage. Such a phenomenon would have been discovered in such a large number of experiments that it seems ridiculous to continue to treat it even as a possible theory. Today it can be safely regarded as a myth. But the beauty of the lawsuit is that there is no need to address this point at all. The lawyers won again: they take the scientific debate to court, reduce it to the level of Boiron's statements, and confront the representatives of society with the common sense of the judges.

Is there a chance that Byron will lose the lawsuit? The chance is definitely there, although I highly doubt if the court will impose a fine of tens of millions of dollars on them. It is more likely that the judges will lighten the sentence, and will require Byron to correct the wording on the packaging so that it states something like this - "These pills were produced from an extract that was diluted many times, which originally contained the active ingredient so and so. There is no original essence left in the final ball."

Hopefully, such wording might be enough so that the next time Aunt Chava goes into the pharmacy and looks at Oscillo's packaging, she will realize that she really shouldn't buy sugar pills, at a price 16,000 times higher than the real value.

And now it remains only to ask: who will lift the glove in Israel as well?

Source - on the skeptical north website
Information about the lawsuit
The detailed history (much beyond what Byron would have liked) on Oscillococquinum
Oscillococquinum on Wikipedia

17 תגובות

  1. I'm sorry, but the lawsuit is going to fail, and rightfully so.

    Because what do the charlatans claim? The pills were prepared using material X that went through 200 dilutions (and everything is written on the box, apparently). This is equivalent to saying that the balls have 0 molecules of substance X, as demonstrated in the article. If the producers do not work with this method and do not shorten processes and skip these steps, then all the requirements concerning "truth in advertising" are met and they probably pass the court's threshold. So in two years you will be able to read that it "passed the test of the Canadian court".

    Why is this a rule? That it is allowed to sell giraffe mustache hairs as a remedy for impotence, if they do provide giraffe mustache hairs.

  2. And again slogans... do you have empirical research that shows the success?
    Is a sentence such as: "I don't believe in prostrating on the graves of the righteous, it almost never helps, but how can you argue with the fact that women who go to the illuminated tomb of Jerahmiel get pregnant at a higher percentage than any IVF in the world?"

  3. As someone who has been treated with this...and without success by the way...I think I can be quite neutral and objective on the subject...

    Homeopathy is not supposed to work at all, but somehow there is solid evidence that it works on patients with asthma or allergies... How do you explain that???

    There is a preparation called INFLUHEEL that is simply amazing against the flu and it is all homeopathic. It worked and it works more amazingly than any dexmol of any kind...

    I have no explanation as to why it works..but with success we don't the specific case the company should be sued for giving components or not giving components as stated...but there is a little difference between one offending company and the won't sue all the hospitals in the country because one of them has A charlatan doctor, right????…

  4. Following on from Uri 2, and this is before the tendency of some homeopaths to recommend avoiding receiving conventional treatment or the patients' mistaken belief that they do not need it even in cases that are not a simple cold (cancer, not receiving vaccinations for life-threatening diseases or avoiding receiving timely treatment for something that later gets complicated), in case It is also dangerous to receive homeopathic treatment. By the way, medicines do have side effects, there are also medicines whose action is dangerous (not a side effect but the phenomenon for which the medicine is intended) therefore they are received under specific prescriptions from doctors. It's one thing to claim that there is a problem with drug X because it's an over-the-counter drug and in your opinion it should be a prescription drug, it's another thing entirely to say that drugs are bad and should not be taken at all costs...

  5. No. Ben Ner: There are two problems I see with what you say.
    One is that it is wrong to consciously and openly allow charlatanry because this enabling will cause harm to human society.
    The second problem is that you don't really know if there is more benefit than harm to humanity from using homeopathy and its placebo effect. For example, maybe without using homeopathy at all but only real medicine, there will be less loss of working hours as a result of illnesses.

    To the source: one case doesn't prove anything of course.. that's what there are studies for. In the case of homeopathy, the basis is weak and the only interest in it should be psychological.
    It is intriguing to know whether the placebo effect as a result of homeopathy is greater than the effect in clinical studies. If so it is worth investigating psychologically.

  6. Maayan, apparently the medical problem that homeopathy definitely helps with is dehydration. I have no idea what the medical history and conventional experience has been but one thing you can be sure of is that if there is a homeopathic remedy that really cures a runny nose and it doesn't require all the medical research that costs millions then the pharmaceutical companies would be heavily involved in it

  7. I hope that this article does not imply that all homeopathic medicines are placebos, some of them really work. from experience
    (My father had a runny nose for almost 20 years, which they were unable to solve with conventional medicine, and with the help of homeopathy it was solved. In terms of the placebo effect, he also believed in conventional medicines, and they did not work. (I am not saying to leave conventional medicine, only that in chronic cases, sometimes it is worth trying Something else)

  8. Maxi, Shemdarush and all those who don't understand what the commotion is about:

    I also fell into the trap of homeopathy. When I was a child (maybe 12 years old) and I didn't know what homeopathy was. They took me to an "expert" homeopath who prescribed me the same sugar pills, which are made of sugar, and cost 16,000 times more than sugar. I didn't know there was nothing in these pills, and neither did my parents.

    I took these sugar pills until the next appointment with the homeopathic mother (of course each appointment also cost about NIS 300), and at the appointment she asked me if I felt a change. Needless to say, there was no change (in case you were wondering), so she wrote a new prescription for a different drug. The second medicine, unlike the first, was made entirely of small sugar pills, which I had to take until the third appointment with the specialist.... And you understand where this leads. I don't remember how many such meetings I went through, although I don't think I made it to the fourth, but I didn't get the money back.

    Of course, if it had been indicated on the packaging that there was no active substance in these pills, we would not have wasted our money on this nonsense. Do you still think that they should not be sued, or written on the packaging something like "this product does not contain any active ingredients, there are no side effects, and to be honest there are no effects at all"? Do you think I wanted to pay for a placebo effect maybe? So I tell you that absolutely not.

  9. To Roy Tsezana - a question on the border of philosophy:
    What is better ? A homeopathic medicine that does nothing but the placebo effect ..or
    A "real" medicine that is the fruit of research, which unfortunately even causes
    Certain damages (and it is possible that in the future it will be replaced by an improved medicine)?
    On the one hand, placebo-pathy is not very helpful but also not very harmful
    On the other hand, the real cure. It is the result of a real-research-continuous effort at the end
    (so we hope) he will find a solution and a cure but, along the way...causes here and there (and even more than that)
    In my opinion, in the long term, the clear advantage is the "real" drugs
    The placebo drugs represent the short-term illusion.
    It is possible that for desperate people they also have "real" value and this is their right to exist.

  10. Maxi, a free market cannot operate without free and correct information.
    Claiming that there is an active substance in these pills is a lie.

  11. Skeptical I don't understand your claim, are you claiming that drugs can be harmful? that they can even kill? I don't think anyone here will argue with you. But what's the connection? (ie what is the connection you were referring to).
    Maxi- I don't understand the market customers argument, what you're saying is that if Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion continue to be sold, this supposedly confirms their validity? That the Bible is widespread because it is pure truth? If millions of people smoke cigarettes then it probably isn't something harmful to health?
    Sorry, I don't understand the logic...

  12. Roy Cezana

    Why don't you publish a similar article about the fraud in the sale of "Propecia" which is an apparently legitimate drug.

    Propecia is a medicine for "skeptics" who suffer from male pattern baldness. This drug is being pushed in Israel today by the "Skeptic" company, which tells the public about the wonderful effectiveness of Propecia. Turns out there was good reason for skepticism, it's a drug that hurts many men.

    For years and years it has been known that Propecia causes a loss of sexual desire and harm to male fertility, in a significant part of its users, only that they did not tell this to the public of users (the public of users believe that there is reliable criticism of "legitimate drugs").

    Propecia stops the conversion of testosterone hormone into a testosterone derivative (complicated name) that causes male pattern baldness. Apparently, Propecia was not supposed to harm the production of testosterone itself, but apparently in practice it also harms the production of testosterone. (Apparently, the damage to the amount of testosterone in those who use it is the cause of the loss of libido and the loss of sperm fertility.) Only a short time ago FDA remembered to publish this fact. Published a few days ago in YNET health section.,7340,L-4215566,00.html
    Propecia is not the only legitimate drug that has hidden from the public the harm it causes.

  13. Aunt Hava doesn't pay for sugar pills friend, she pays for their placebo effect on her.
    And apparently if she does it then it's worth the money for her, what's more, you probably know the proven effectiveness of the placebo effect (probably to a certain extent) according to lots of studies.
    Just as well, she could go to a Kabbalist rabbi and buy "holy water", red threads and blessings.
    The same remorse, the same effect.
    Give money - get a placebo.
    The seller is crazy (assuming he's not a conscious charlatan), the buyer is crazy, and everyone's happy.

  14. The claim will be rejected or accepted and Kanson will be sentenced, because all they have to do is change the writing on the packaging. And it will probably be something more convincing than what Roy wrote. (nano?)

    It's a shame that no one has the courage to sue under the pretext of efficiency - we would all benefit from proper research and public discussion.
    Or not... when money and interests are involved, you never know.

    And it's a shame that no one sues companies that sell vaccines under the pretext of effectiveness... here too we would benefit from proper research and public discussion.
    Or not... when money and interests are involved, you never know...

  15. Good luck with the claim

    This whole attitude is so childish.
    People want to use homeopathy and they feel it helps them.
    What bothers you?

    Don't tell me that people were killed, etc., they are also killed in Alupti.

    There is nothing like market forces. If it works there are customers. If it doesn't work there will be no customers.

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