Staring in Disbelief at Pharmacy of Woo

Mar 27 2009 Published by under Public Health


BikeMonkey GuestPost
Some of you are probably unaware, since the DM claims the traffic has exploded over here at Sb, but I used to coblog with these two clowns over at WordPress. I did not, however, assimilate. Don't ask. Okay, there was that one post, sue me. Anyway, sending DM some funee pictures got me lured back into their shenanigans. Sortof. Okay, I accepted a guest login account and learned how to copy some text out of the clearly superior WordPress backend jobber and paste it into this MT editor. I promise nothing. (Although, cycling season is upon us and I am eagerly awaiting, as no doubt are you, this season's new and exciting ways to cheat with pharmacology.)
Until we get to that, on with the funee pictures...
So I was just walking along, minding my own business when I happened to look up. Oh my....

I thought I'd better investigate further...The sign in the window makes a bunch of claims about holistic consideration of all the drug you are taking. Sounds good. Drug interactions are the suxxors. Inside I went....


What's this? herbal and traditional Chinese "medicine" eh? What a crock. And since they have minimal conception of all the constituents and their doses/concentrations, call me crazy but how are they supposed to be avoiding untoward drug interactions? Well, I suppose it is somewhat better if a patient gets his/her real drugs in an environment where it is comfortable to describe the other crap one is ingesting...If that were the point of this place.

"Ask us about higher potency homeopathies"????? HA! I thought the point was to decrease the potency as far as possible...? Or...do they mean that a further 10X dilution of the ditchwater (or whatever it starts as) actually increases the homeopathic potency??? Oh God, I can't keep up with this stuff....

13 responses so far

  • LostMarbles says:

    They probably meant that it works ten time better. What they forget to mention is that ten time zero is still zero.

  • Sam C says:

    Yes, they have a highly trained technicians who will dilute your water further. But you have to be really careful in case you take an underdose.
    It does annoy me when I read anti-woo people saying that homeopathic remedies only work through the placebo effect. That is sooooo wrong. There's regression to the mean, confirmation bias, unmediated natural healing in the body and, of course, simple lying. I think the role of lying is under-estimated in the world of woo.
    I read a few days ago that some homeopathic remedies had been analysed (can't remember the details, this is a man in the pub story) and found to contain active ingredients (I mean real drugs, like aspirin, not active forms of the substance on the homeopathic label). So some people might be getting (for example) genuine relief from their homeopathic headache remedy because it actually contains a real (alligatoropathic) drug! How wacky is that? Homeopathic remedies working because they're not homeopathic, I like it!

  • LostMarbles says:

    Sam C,
    I'm not sure if wacky is the right word - fucking dangerous sounds more on target.

  • Eugenie says:

    The woman who I work for at her barn is really gung-ho about homeopathy. One of the horses tested positive for Lyme's and naturally, she decided to treat it with some cockamamie homeopathic stuff. I was instructed to tap the bottle exactly five times and squirt a random amount of electric blue water onto the feed. I nearly lost my job when I asked why I had to tap the damn bottle....

  • cashmoney says:

    why didn't you just quietly tap 3 times and wait for your homeopathic friend to declare victory? Then you could mention your failure to follow protocol....hilarity ensues!

  • Eugenie says:

    The funny thing is, I didn't do any tapping. The horse ended up being "cured" five months later.

  • Yep. They sell the stuff that potentially has a bunch of plant-produced chemicals that follows the same dose-response pharmacology (and toxicology, and drug interactions) as "drugs" on one wall and then they ask you to suspend belief in that stuff to buy the stuff on the other wall.
    Pharmacy prof colleague, W Steven Pray, wrote this terrific article in 1996 that still is the best explanation of homeopathy I've found for the biomedical scientist or pharmacy, nursing, medical student: "The Challenge to Professionalism Presented by Homeopathy" from the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (free PDF here).
    Pray's concluding paragraph (directed to the pharmacy student):

    I have endeavored to present a mental conundrum to you. Homeopathy and legitimate medicine are two radically different branches of medicine. If one subscribes to legitimate medicine, for example, she/he must believe that doubling the strength of a medicine provides greater benefit. Then, to also believe in homeopathy, one must at the same time believe that diluting medicine makes it stronger. How can one accommodate these mutually exclusive, contradictory thoughts? The mental gymnastics required to embrace homeopathy would be unacceptable for most of us. However, when you have entered practice, you will be forced to decide for yourself whether you can reconcile this issue and many others just as unsettling. The health of your patients is critically dependent on your decisions. While it may make good business sense to sell homeopathic products, you must listen to a higher voice, one which speaks to you about the more lasting issues of honor and integrity.

  • kay says:

    Hello,
    Do you know where to find different chinese medecine as Snake wine ? I already own this one:
    http://www.asiansnakewine.com
    But looking for different types of natural medecine.
    Thanks for help.
    (by the way I found your website on Google when looking for Snake wine bottles)

  • jomega says:

    kay:
    You didn't even read the post, did you?

  • samantha says:

    They have a couple of these where I live (Berkeley). There was another one, called Elephant Pharmacy, that was owned by the same people, and I wasn't particularly sad when they went out of business a couple months ago. All of the "integrative pharmacies" offer ridiculous things at SUPER-expensive prices. Seriously, shit like organic massage oils with special muscle-healing herbs for like $25. Bad business model for tough times.

  • antipodean says:

    Being a pharmacist must be tough these days.
    On the one hand you are required to be a reality-based health professional spending many years in training.
    On the other hand you are required to be a quack, a charlatan and a shampoo salesman.
    The rule of thumb for consumers is simple. All the real medicine is behind the counter.

  • Oh, BikeMonkey. Seeing you back in league with the boys made my teeth sweat.

  • Juuro says:

    I have seen homeopathic pharmacies in a few countries.

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