The Center for Inquiry has filed a lawsuit against drug company CVS for consumer fraud due to its marketing and sale of homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathy is a popular form of alternative medicine in the West, based upon the idea that water has memory and that if you dilute a substance in enough water it will eventually produce a reaction that is the opposite to the one it produces normally.
Or as Tim Minchin puts it, it will remember the helpful stuff and forget all the poo it has had in it.
The Mitchell and Webb Look had a video with a fairly accurate representation of what it would look like if homeopathy was actually accepted as genuine medicine, as opposed to viewed as superstitious claptrap.
Obviously I’m cheering CFI on this. The West can be incredibly superstitious and a lot of the time it is very influential on the rest of us.
Not only that, but alternative medicine has long pushed as its selling point the evils of “Big Pharma” – an industry which profits off of people getting sick.
I tend to agree that there is a fair amount of wickedness involved in that – just look at companies that buy up the patents for cheap medications and then hike the prices – but I somehow don’t think the solution is to go for an “alternative” made by pretty much the same people but left unregulated because it calls itself “supplements”.
If a big business can get away with not having to do any work to figure out if their bottle of what is essentially water does anything, they’re not going to do the work. This is why the various regulations around the drug industry around the world exist.
I have a lot of contempt for the practitioners of “alternative medicine” in because they prey on the sick and vulnerable, offering cures that at best do nothing, and at worst lead to their patients’ deaths, and this is how they make their money.
And you’re not going to solve the evils of capitalism by supporting snake oil that skirts the edges of regulation.
Hopefully CFI manages to win this case in the US, and bring about greater regulation on what claims this sort of stuff can use to sell itself, and hopefully that turns into a victory for all of us.
- Image by Stevepb, courtesy of Pixabay.