Boots And The MHRA

Last week, on the 26th January 2010, the Merseyside Skeptics Society sent a detailed and lengthy complaint to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority detailing a litany of what we believe to be irregularities regarding the language used to promote and describe the homeopathic offerings available from Boots through its online store and more generally in the information surrounding homeopathy that Boots supplies to its consumers and others. The letter to the MHRA sets out the many points of concern that we feel are serious enough to warrant complaint, of which some are:

While the complaint procedure is still underway, we’d prefer not to go into specific details – we do, however, acknowledge that since making the complaint Boots have withdrawn sections of the website relating to specific items of the complaint (action taking by Boots at 10am on Feb 1st, 2010).

More details to follow shortly…

  1. #1 by Jo on February 2, 2010 - 19:52

    That’s brilliant, it’s looking good so far.

  2. #2 by Gareth Binks on February 2, 2010 - 20:26

    Cracking result! Brilliant! Really good that we have a voice and we are using it and getting results!!!!

    Website sections…..lets see what next!

    Although we were a small bunch compared to the Company it goes further to my thoughts that the general public aren’t aware of what homeopathy ACTUALLY is but Boots doesn’t want to be seen to be ripping people off!

    GB aka FunkyFredFrog

  3. #3 by Allan on February 2, 2010 - 22:09

    *giggles while also kicking self about the take-down…*

  4. #4 by Jeff on February 3, 2010 - 14:04

    Wondering what to do with those left-over Boots pillule dispensers?

    Why not carefully dismantle one (preferably one where the seal has not been broken). Perhaps someone can explain the purpose of the open glass vial?

    Surely plastic would do just as well? Is it there to add weight to the packaging, or “weight” to the contents?

    I wonder what a homoeopathy-believer would make of this?

  5. #5 by Lard on February 3, 2010 - 15:48

    According to the vial of ‘inert glass’ is to ‘protect the pillules’. All this effort to stop them getting contaminated. One has to wonder if the user should bleach the inside of their mouths before taking them?

  6. #6 by RSB on February 3, 2010 - 16:46

    I’m quite amazed both as a pharmacist and a homeopath at the behaviour of some individuals.

    I get referrals from doctors, dentists and various harley street consultants when they cannot deal with the patient. In most cases (97%) the patient has recovered. Now you cannot tell me that 1000 odd patients (most educated with professional backgrounds) are getting better with placebo action.

    Why don’t these skeptics take a dose of 200c Nux Vom at night and see how they feel in relation to their bowels the next morning – surely if you believe that 13C has no molecule then the 200C dilution is simply water.

    My patients and colleagues look at your skeptics and thinking ‘how misinformed some individuals are’

    Basically your issues are in your tissues.

  7. #7 by Mike on February 3, 2010 - 16:49

    I’ve been taking Nux Vom 30C four times a day for the past week. Hasn’t done a thing.

  8. #8 by Top Homeopath on February 3, 2010 - 16:50

    It seems like the martians have left a few of their people at Merseyside.

    Why don’t these skeptics wake up and smell the coffee?

  9. #9 by Top Homeopath on February 3, 2010 - 16:51

    Mike why are you taking a Nux Vom? Can I help

  10. #10 by Mike on February 3, 2010 - 16:54

    Because people like our friend RSB are implying that if I take it without needing it, it’ll make me sick (in relation to my bowels, apparently). Which it hasn’t. It hasn’t done anything at all.

  11. #11 by Top Homeopath on February 3, 2010 - 16:56

    Try this experiment . Obtain a batch of Chlorophyll 200C in liquid form. Get 2 identical plants and place them so that they receive the same amount of water , light etc. Give exact amount of water to each every day then give one plant some chlorophyll 200c and the other same amount but in water. Plants don’t have bias and you will all swallow your words and have respect for a age old form of medicine. I challenge all of you to do this.

  12. #12 by Top Homeopath on February 3, 2010 - 16:58

    Mike you were told that 200c may give you loose stools (not make you sick) not 30c. Get it right. AQlso you were told to take one dose at night – beacuse Nux Vom works at night

  13. #13 by Mike on February 3, 2010 - 17:02

    I’m just following the instructions on the bottle, which says four times a day. And far from “working at night”, it is doing nothing at all.

    I’ll be happy to try 200C if you’d prefer. Or 1000C. Or MM. Go crazy.

  14. #14 by RSB on February 3, 2010 - 17:18

    The point here Mike is that something is happening at a dose greater (diluter) than 13C – which is what you are all trying to question. Have you ever been in a pharmacy and asked the pharmacist why they sell cough medicines? With the exception of Codeine Linctus none have been shown to have any efficacy – this industry is begger than the homeopathic industry – why then do you not question this. Stop having double standards and just accept the fact that you haven’t actually looked well AT HOMEOPATHY and are just expressing views of others.

  15. #15 by RSB on February 3, 2010 - 17:23

    Let people have a choice. There should be freedom of choice. When you have gone to the doctor e.g. with cold symptoms and he/she has given you antibiotics which havent worked have you then gone back to the manufacturer and said I’ve been taking your antibiotics three times a day and nothing is happening. Common guys get a life!

  16. #16 by RSB on February 3, 2010 - 17:27

    In India, most people are unable to afford allopathic medicines and homeopathy is the way forward. In a country where millions take remedies and feel better are you telling me that the 10 brains behind your skeptics society feel that all these people are getting better by psychosomatic means. Millions Vs the 10 Brainy Merseyside skeptics. The stats are here.

  17. #17 by Mike on February 3, 2010 - 17:29

    Any doctor prescribing antibiotics for a cold needs to have their medical license carefully examined.

    But no-one is trying to stop people having a choice. When did I say that people shouldn’t have a choice?

    And, as it happens, I don’t use cough medicine for the very reason you cite. The evidence, like homeopathy, doesn’t back up the claims.

  18. #18 by RSB on February 3, 2010 - 17:29

    In relation to the boots guy who said homeopathic medicines don’t work – that is his assumption. He is entitled to his view but I don’t think his viewpoint is going to make a ounce of difference to the world of homeopathic but it may make him cautious about the statements that he makes in future

  19. #19 by Allan on February 3, 2010 - 19:19

    Oh yes, and he who smelt it, dealt it.

  20. #20 by Allan on February 3, 2010 - 19:32

    Maybe, a la homeopathic principles, if you dilute your message into the most potent, unarticulated form, then we could all live forever without hearing nonsense about how wonderful the system in India is.

    In terms of life expectancy at birth, India is 161st out of 224 nations. I think you’ll find the top 50 dominated by the evil Axis of Allopathy. Please take your “India is a homeopathic paradise” away.

    If a billion people believe something is the truth, then that doesn’t make it so. The truth is not democratic.

    If a thousand people say a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.
    If a million people say a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.
    If a billion people say a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.

  21. #21 by Allan on February 3, 2010 - 19:40

    And then there’s the plastic mechanism at the top of the vial, which the pillules then have to travel through.

    So much for their ‘protection’.

  22. #22 by Allan on February 3, 2010 - 19:45

    Indeed, Auntie NHS is under the impression that people shouldn’t be getting antibiotics for their colds and most coughs as well…

    Colds last for up to 2 weeks or so, then they get better all by themselves. Funny that… It’s almost like nature designed us with an, oooh, errr… Immune? System?

    Something like that. No need for pointless sugar pillules after all. Panic over.

  23. #23 by Paul on February 3, 2010 - 19:52

    If millions cant afford real medicine, the affordable (sham) medicine must work? That makes sense.

    How can the Brainy Skeptics ignore those stats 🙂

  24. #24 by Helen on February 3, 2010 - 20:19

    I love that people assume because something is ‘old’ it is therefore ‘right’. Yes homeopathy has been around for a long time. So has the belief that the Bible is literally true. Scientific evidence contradicts both. Now you either believe science, or you don’t. Either way there is only one option backed up by logic, and let’s face it that’s not homeopathy.

  25. #25 by Gittins on February 3, 2010 - 22:26

    I think both physically and chemically 30c and 200c are exactly the same. The only difference is psychological – the homeopath has spent longer preparing the 200c solution so they perceive it to have greater value.

  26. #26 by Andy Wilson on February 3, 2010 - 23:06

    @RSB How does the healing get into the water, and from the water into the sugar, and from the sugar become the cure?

    If you can’t answer any of these just write “pass” and answer the others as best you can. I’ve thought this through and it doesn’t make sense to me. I want to see how it makes sense to you. Seriously.



  27. #27 by Lard on February 4, 2010 - 10:55

    @RSB – “…both as a pharmacist and a homeopath…”

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  28. #28 by Lard on February 4, 2010 - 11:04

    @Top Homeopath – So homeopathy works by the law of similars, and you’re ‘treating’ the plants in your test with chlorophyll?

    Can you tell me, please, what ‘symptoms’ chlorophyll produces in a healthy plant, that you are hoping to alleviate with your basically-just-water? In a plant that is not ill anyway?

  29. #29 by AexMagd on February 5, 2010 - 14:45

    Why do people insist that the viable way to argue against the laws of physics is with anecdotes? Homeopathy cannot work, end of story. It’s not up for debate! Whether or not it does work is different and that’s why there have been hundreds of trials of its efficacy, but it cannot work by the methods homeopaths describe.

  30. #30 by Michael on February 5, 2010 - 18:47

    Homoeopaths are either MENTALLY ILL or F***ING LIARS. Choose the most appropriate, for the homoeopath close to your heart and wallet.
    Oh and another thing- why don’t homoeopaths have a moratorium on charging, until they can prove by publishing in say, Nature or the Lancet that it is effective.

    Benveniste is dead (and reputation ruined) so who is carrying the torch for truth today?

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