Germany To Say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ To Homeopathy?

Homöopathie: Es gibt nichts in ihm

Homöopathie: Es gibt nichts in ihm

It’s admittedly and regretfully rather rare that we at the Merseyside Skeptics Society cover stories of a non-English language nature. That’s entirely mea culpa, malheureusement my non-English language abilities are limited at ‘meilleur’. Still, it would be ridiculous of us not to mention the Wünderbar developments coming out of Germany, where top magazine Der Spiegel ran with the cover story:

Homoöpathie: Die groβe Illusion (‘Homeopathy: The grand illusion’) – Source: Der Spiegel

This, of course, is HUGE. Not least because Germany is oft-cited as a prime example of a healthcare system in which homeopathy is given the ‘respect’ it deserves (I’d argue 10:23 actually gave the respect homeopathy REALLY deserves), but also because Germany is the home of homoeopathy and Hahnemann – all of which making the prospect of the magic water getting ‘Das Boot’ from the German equivalent of the NHS an incredibly sweet pill to swallow.

Far be it from me to wallow in all of the delicious, delicious developments too much, but here’s a glimpse at the online version of the Der Spiegel article, for any of our Deutsch companions out there. What’s that at the bottom? Why, that would be the 10:23 Campaign, cited as an influence! Needless to say (although I will anyway), our collective bosoms swell with pride here at 10:23 HQ. My aforementioned linguistic limitations prevent me from doing it justice in the original German, and the Google translate is admirable if patchy (“Many patients believe the cash to pay only that which helps also detectable. Ennoble why the health insurance with their approach to homeopathy.” – I swear Google hires Master Yoda to do their translating…). With that in mind, allow me to quote from the English version of Deutsche World:

The 200-year-old dubious medical treatment may soon be dropped from German medical insurance providers as a cost-saving measure. The the United Kingdom may also do the same.

Too right we might.

In recent days, the over-two-centuries-old practice of homeopathy has come under fire in Germany.

Dr. Karl Lauterbach, the chair of the parliamentary health committee, recently called for public health insurers to stop funding the practice, which typically involves solutions of small amounts of herbs or other medicines heavily diluted with water and then shaken or stirred to “add energy” to the solution.

According to its proponents, homeopathy can heal patients as well – if not better – than conventional medicine, while its detractors, including nearly all medical doctors and scientists, say that it is no more powerful than a placebo.

What’s more:

“If everybody pays for his beer, then he can pay for his homeopathy,” said Dr. Kay Brune, a professor in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg, in southern Germany.

Brune added that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that homeopathy actually causes any meaningful and healing bio-chemical reactions in patients, but that doesn’t stop people from believing in a practice that has been so deeply ingrained into the German psyche.

“Homeopathy has a very long tradition in Germany,” he added in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “The founder, Hahnemann was a brilliant physician. But at that time doing nothing was helpful to the patient. In 200 years, the pseudo-science has not taken any steps forward.”

Now, of course, we aren’t arrogant enough for one second to think that we had a huge part to play in this – but if the actions of the 10:23 Campaign and our amazing support (not least the hundreds of national and international ‘overdoses’ who joined in back in January) had even a small effect on this development, I safely speak for everyone at 10:23 and the MSS in saying how immensely proud we are to have been involved.

What’s been staggering over the last 6 months, and in fact back to October when we started letting the 10:23 cat a little out of the bag, is the phenomenal response we’ve had from ordinary people – not just doctors and working scientists. We’ve been blown away by the level of involvement support, coverage and interest 10:23 has had so far, and as we’re starting to see the homeopathic dominoes tumbling here in the UK – and in Germany too, now – the level of interest continues to amaze me. On our side we have the science, we have the support, and we have the momentum.

Homeopathy: There’s nothing in it / Es gibt nichts in ihm

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  1. #1 by Vicky on July 13, 2010 - 19:35

    I never thought I’d see the day… Germany’s so wedded to alternative / ‘natural’ remedies this must be causing a real storm over there.
    Smug linguist alert: ‘Homöopathie: nichts drin’ might be a better translation. I’m not sure, but I think it can mean both ‘there’s nothing in there’ and ‘no hope’.

  2. #2 by HildegardP on July 13, 2010 - 23:47

    Kaloo, kalay, oh frabtuous day! *chortles*

    Contrary to David Tredinnick’s fond imaginings, the French have also scaled back their funding of homeopathy. It now attracts only a 35% cost reimbursement, having been downgraded by their dept of health (well, the minister; not sure how happy the dept actually are about it) to a treatment considered to have only “low to moderate efficacity”. Clearly Mr T’s information on European healthcare is right up there with his knowledge of haematology.

    For a searing little piece on homeopathy from the French National Academy of Medicine in 2007, may I direct you to;

    The first line reads; “L’homéopathie est une méthode imaginée il y a 2 siècles à partir d’a priori conceptuels dénués de fondement scientifique. ” (Homeopathy is a process dreamed up* 2 centuries ago, based on a-priori reasoning devoid of scientific basis.) and it just gets better from there.

    * Sure, that could be translated as “devised” or “invented” but my version’s equally defensible.

  3. #3 by XtalDave on July 14, 2010 - 05:19

    +9000 internets for the excellent and inventive use of “Das Boot”

    Deutschland, Deutschland über alles!

  4. #4 by N.R. on July 14, 2010 - 06:07

    I would like to remind the first commenter, that there is nothing wrong with “natural” remedies as opposed to homeopathy. Asperin originally came from willows and there are many poisons from plants too. Homeopathy, on the other hand, doesn’t contain anything natural (except sugar and water).

  5. #5 by CW on July 14, 2010 - 08:32

    I’m sure I’ve already missed ‘das boot’ on this one, but now seems like a good time to start the ball rolling to promote on FB and Twitter October 23rd as an annual International Homeopathy “Just Say ‘No’ to H2O” Day

  6. #6 by Markus on July 14, 2010 - 15:58

    Great news indeed. However, please DON’T translate “There’s nothing in it” as “Es ist nichts in ihm”. While grammatically correct, it absolutely doesn’t make any sense, as it means “There’s nothing in HIM”. It should be “Es ist nichts dran.” or “Es ist nichts drin.”

  7. #7 by Michael on July 15, 2010 - 14:36

    I have patted myself on the back.

  8. #8 by Richard Jacques on July 16, 2010 - 03:13

    Die Homöopathie: da ist nichts drin.

    Spiegel actually reported the 10:23 event back in February, with links through to the 10:23 website and to the open letter to Boots. See:,1518,675190,00.html

    They have been running article critical of homeopathy for some time. It’s interesting that it has now made it to the cover article. Unfortunately, you have to pay to read the current issue on-line.

  9. #9 by Richard Jacques on July 19, 2010 - 14:56

    Following on from the article in German in last weeks newsstand version of Spiegel, the following has now appeared in English:,1518,706971,00.html

    The 10:23 campaign gets a lot of coverage. The photo gallery contains a great shot of the 10:23 event in Red Lion Square, as well as a picture of Jürgen Windeler with this great caption:

    Jürgen Windeler, who is to begin his role on Sept. 1 as the head of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, the independent scientific institute in Germany that is the country’s highest medical investigator, has followed homeopathy for years. “Homeopathy is a speculative, refuted concept,” he says — no one has yet proven that it has any medical benefit. “And there isn’t any need for any further research. The issue is settled.”

  10. #10 by rafiullah khan on May 14, 2011 - 11:17

    I am a homeo medical officer in governament hospital (district headquarter hospital )in kohat pakistan .my experience is 11 years . i want a membership in germany. please sent me detale information. thanks.

  11. #11 by Jam Hill on November 24, 2011 - 00:22

    EU declaring water does not treat dehydration
    Closed minded people

  12. #12 by Jam Hill on November 24, 2011 - 00:24

    Whats next ?
    People should have choise
    remember people who use the service pay for insurance
    as well.

  13. #13 by Jon on July 23, 2012 - 10:07

    I think homeopathy is extremely interesting as a cultural phenomenon because it shows how certain patterns of human irrationality thrive even in our seemingly rational times. Humans clearly have some kind of primitive need or desire for magical control over nature and destiny, which is so strong that it overwhelms even their most basic logical capacities.

  14. #14 by Cindy Krikava on December 9, 2012 - 05:25

    Here I am surfing the internet and come across this “news”. Just got back from grocery shopping where I purchased a Hylands homeopathic product for “Headache”. I have a bad cold which produced a miserable headache. I’m sitting here reading this and suddenly it dawns on me, my headache is gone. (Took the remedy about 45 minutes ago.)
    Also, when I can’t sleep…take a homeopathic remedy and slumber visits pretty quickly.
    Sure beats taking drugs with their myriad side effects. It is a fact…look it up. Over 100,000 Americans die every year from prescription medications.
    The Royal Family in Great Britain is said to use homeopathy. The Queen Mother lived to over 100 years….can’t be too bad.

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