By the ANH Communication Working Group.
HOMEOPATHOSIS, THE ORGANIZED PSEUDO-SCEPTIC MOVEMENT.
No one will be surprised at this point the certainty that there is an international crusade against homeopathy . Spontaneous? No, obviously not. It is not possible for the same modus operandi, the same media and institutional communication actions, as well as the same messages to be repeated over and over again and repeated in different parts of the globe for infused science.
No. Obviously it is no accident. The pseudo-skeptical movement, which embraces scientism as a new orthodox religion where everything that does not sound like a protocolized drug is considered blasphemy, has expanded as surprisingly as unnaturally.
The skeptical (or pseudo-skeptical) movement is an international, consolidated and well-financed network present in 54 countries worldwide. Its strong point is the English-speaking countries but they have found in Spain their own laboratory to try again and again different ways to approach, discredit and end complementary and / or unconventional therapies, especially with homeopathy. Until they have found the password and exported it.
But why homeopathy? Why invest so many resources, effort and money to end a therapy that does not reach 0.7% of the worldwide expenditure of OTC medicines and that is the equivalent to the pharmaceutical industry what Linux to operating systems?
Well for that. Because it is Linux and because pharmacoepidemiological studies such as EPI3, in France, conclude that patients treated by homeopathic doctors take 71% less psychotropic drugs, 46% less anti-inflammatory drugs and 57% less antibiotics, than those who only resort to conventional medicine . And all this with similar clinical results and without greater risk of complications (without loss of opportunity for the patient). Yes, they will tell us that precisely France is not a good example because the HAS has just concluded that homeopathy has not proved effective enough to justify its reimbursementbut we bring it here just because of that, because to obviate such clear and forceful results as these are proof not only of the bias of the evaluation but of the effect of the media controversy, in the words of France’s own minister of health , more typical of ‘ The Great Carnival ‘by Billy Wilder de Larra.
THE SPANISH INCUBATOR: THE FORMULA OF SUCCESS
Spain may be where the pseudo-skeptical movement has had the most activity, not only because of the variety of actions they have carried out but also because of the time they have invested.
In Spain, the reference group for the skeptical (pseudo) movement was created in the late 80s (1986) as a cultural and scientific association, whose headquarters are located in the Pamplona Planetarium. What began as a movement that sought to dismantle the UFO phenomenon, has evolved into a pressure group, with members as illustrious as the Spanish Minister of Science himself, Pedro Duque, who defend transgenics – where Monsanto , from Bayer, is king – while attacking homeopathy … paradoxical? We leave it to your assessment.
According to their statutes, their financial resources come from: membership fees, results of their activities, private donations (both private and institutional) and also accept public subsidies.
This movement logically has its spokespersons that share the functions among different associations: the Society for the Advancement of Critical Thinking (ARP), the RedUne Association (Network for Sectarian Prevention and Weakness Abuse) and APETP. Among the four associations (including Skeptics), the media and institutional cake is distributed.
As revealed by the digital platform BlastingNews in the news “ The success of the antihomeopathy movement that leads Spain ”, this organized movement has a busy media and institutional agenda that has allowed them, among other things, to influence public opinion as well as important organizations like the WTO and the Government of Pedro Sánchez itself. In this sense, in 2017, the WTO created the Observatory against Pseudoscience, having among its drivers, according to the document published by the WTO, the APETP, the ARP-SAPC and the Skeptic Circle. Just the same associations that appear as institutions that have advised the government in the Plan presented by the Ministries of Science and Health, in November 2018. Chance? No, causality.
However, the “guerrilla plan” and methodology of the pseudo-skeptical movement to corner homeopathy begins in academia . In Spain, for example, in five years, this movement has achieved that no public or private university offers training courses in this therapy. The procedure they have followed is simple:
STEP 1 . Make public and institutional pressure (something similar tried in France with the University of Lille, which suspended a training course in homeopathy but without success , since the Conference of Deans of the Faculties of Medicine and the Conference of Deans of Pharmacy wrote a statement joint in favor of training in homeopathy with an “objective approach” ).
STEP 2. Take the next leap, to professional institutions and societies. The method is the same as the previous one but, in addition, public opinion and the media come into play here. An example of this is the open letter to Maria Luisa Carcedo, current minister of health in functions, promoted by the four “skeptical” associations mentioned above and signed by some 400 health professionals against pseudotherapies and which erroneously included Homeopathy
We insist that “they erroneously included homeopathy as pseudotherapy” because this therapy is a medical , legal, social and scientific reality , which is also not in the list of 73 pseudotherapies presented by the Government in February 2019. And again we insist wrong to label pseudotherapy homeopathy, because after that open letter came another signed by 600 health professionals who claimed their right to prescribe or recommend homeopathic medicines in freedom and without pressure .
STEP 3. Once enough media controversy has been generated, the assault on the respective governments – local, regional and national – is a piece of cake.
Three simple steps that have been repeated in France : first the University of Lille, then a rostrum against complementary therapies signed by 124 doctors in a national media, then a similar report from the Scientific Council of the Academies of European Sciences (EASAC) against homeopathy, more media pressure , the French minister asking for a report from the HAS and the subsequent decision of the Commission with dyes of little rigor and impartiality .
OTHER EUROPEAN EXAMPLES
And history repeats itself … Now it’s Germany . Since it is fashionable, the president of the association that brings together doctors from Germany’s public health care (KBV), Andreas Gassen, has told the media that medical insurance should not cover homeopathic services to his patients. Strange question now brought to the debate when a little over half a year ago the president of the German WTO, Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery said that homeopathy is a complementary medicine that helps many people .
It seems that there is always someone who insists on igniting and maintaining a non-existent debate. It would be funny if it were not because it endangers the health and well-being of patients as well as their free right to choose the best treatment that suits their needs. The German case is paradigmatic since German insurers reimburse the cost of homeopathic medicine not because it is mandatory but because patients so demand it.
In Sweden , in 2011, several scientists and a nationally renowned astronaut (does that sound like it?) Contributed to the media controversy by carrying out sanitary irresponsibility as a public suicide with an overdose of a homeopathic medicine. This resource has also been used in Spain by several representatives of pseudo-skepticism, especially in social networks, with the sole objective of getting an audience.
Switzerland , on the other hand, is the most representative case in the lost art of doing things right. As in the previous examples, in 2011, the controversy led the Swiss Government to commission an exhaustive report on homeopathy that, today, represents the most complete evaluation of Homeopathic Medicine that a Government has published to date.
The Swiss Report concludes that homeopathic treatment is effective, safe and cost-effective, and that it should be included in that country’s national health program. In addition, approximately half of the population of Switzerland uses complementary and alternative medicine treatments and values them positively. At older, approximately half of Swiss doctors consider complementary and alternative treatments effective. Although perhaps the most outstanding fact is that 85% of the Swiss population prefers therapies of this type and also choose that they are part of their national health program. At present, homeopathy is included in the Swiss national health system by popular referendum. In this case, fortunately RIGOR and OBJECTIVITY were imposed The interests of the pseudo-skeptics and their plan of harassment of homeopathy were frog.
However, Europe is not its only objective. Since the skeptical lobby is international, it is not surprising that similar requests have landed, and almost simultaneously, in letter format, in the respective ministries of health of Peru and Mexico .
History repeats itself. And sadly everything presumes that it will be repeated in other American and European countries: talking about homeopathy is in fashion, and it seems that going against it even more: it makes you look fun among colleagues, it leads you to be trending topic on the Internet, it gets you a lot of likes and retuits. The medicine was never so frivolous. He never trivialized so much with the health of the patients. The professionals have never been so cynical; those who a few years ago were trained in therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy, today are dedicated to give talks and participate in debates attacking furiously these same therapies.
There is no doubt that the consequence of all this is the erosion, erosion and unreal transformation of what is homeopathy among public opinion. We suffer from “homeopatosis”. And against this, the antidote is simple: professionalism and truthful information without prejudice. An example of a trusted health website to be recommended by everyone is Suma Homeopathy .
In short, defending homeopathy today has become, purely and simply, a matter of freedom. Because like homeopathy, in health we all add up, and that is why both professionals and patients should unite for a More Human Medicine.