FTC to FDA: Do Your Job So We Can Do Ours

 

shutterstock_125410652Regulation is a tricky matter, filled with tension. Too little and you end up with fraud and harm; too much and you stifle innovation. Too little input from industry and you get decisions ignorant of conditions on the ground; too much and you have regulatory capture. When it comes to homeopathy, the Food and Drug Administration seems to have managed to make all of these errors at once — including ones that should be mutually exclusive.

A few months back, the FDA sought public comment on its regulatory regime for homeopathy. Both homeopaths and science-based activists flooded them with material. The most surprising comment, however, came from another organ of the government: a pointed and bitter memorandum from the Federal Trade Commission, essentially telling its fellow regulators to stop making the FTC’s job impossible by abdicating the FDA’s duty to evaluate homeopathic products’ efficacy and safety in the same way they do normal drugs.

As described by the blog Science-Based Medicine, who — rightly, I think — consider homeopathy a fraud:

In 1972, the FDA undertook a massive review of all OTC drugs (and an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 separate ingredients) to determine which could be classified as safe and effective and not misbranded. In accordance with amendments to the FD&C, the FDA was to determine which OTC drugs are generally recognized among qualified experts as safe and effective and not misbranded under prescribed, recommended, or suggested conditions.

However, at the request of homeopathic trade groups, homeopathic remedies were deferred from review. The FDA never returned to the task and OTC homeopathic drugs have never been reviewed by the FDA for safety and efficacy.

Homeopathy is based on the principle that symptoms can be cured by ingesting dilutions of substances that cause similar effects. Put a certain way, it sounds intuitive and appealing, but its implausibility becomes more apparent with a bit of dramatic heightening. More importantly, no credible study has found homeopathy more effective than a placebo, largely because — if practiced as advertised — it is a placebo. Regardless, it’s big business, to the tune of $2.9 billion annually in the United States.

Under the current system, the FDA is specifically charged with regulating homeopathic products, but, for a variety of historical reasons, it has almost wholly farmed out that responsibility to the industry. Essentially, if your homeopathic product has a label on it that gives an indication for use, it counts as FDA-approved; it doesn’t matter how implausible the claims are, and there’s no control on what’s in there. That’s the basis for the FTC’s complaint: that they cannot evaluate claims of fraud or false advertising when the regulatory agency assigned that duty is refusing to do its job.

The FDA is one of those agencies that probably shouldn’t have to exist as a part of the government, though it’s also clear that it’s presided over a period of unprecedented explosion in new drugs that are overwhelmingly safe and effective (whether the the agency has hit the right balance between safety and innovation is a matter for another time). But it’s hard to find an argument against the existence of the Federal Trade Commission — at least in its capacity as a prosecutor of fraud — that’s this side of anarcho-capitalism. So long as we have the two, the FDA should do its job and treat all purported remedies and cures the same, without the special pleading.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: So long as we have the two, the FDA should do its job and treat all purported remedies and cures the same, without the special pleading.

    Someone might get hurt feelings if they do. Doesn’t the 1st amendment prevent government from meddling in matters of faith like homeopathy?

    • #1
  2. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Where the FDA went wrong is trying to approve claims of effectiveness. The FDA should only approve things for safety.

    • #2
  3. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: …it’s also clear that it’s presided over a period of unprecedented explosion in new drugs that are overwhelmingly safe and effective (whether the the agency has hit the right balance between safety and innovation is a matter for another time)….

    That’s a bit of a stretch, I think.

    “…A cursory examination of the most recent 15 years worth of national mortality data provided on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers some intriguing clues to this mystery. We find the largest rise in American mortality rates occurred in 1999, the year Vioxx was introduced, while the largest drop occurred in 2004, the year it was withdrawn. Vioxx was almost entirely marketed to the elderly, and these substantial changes in national death-rate were completely concentrated within the 65-plus population. The FDA studies had proven that use of Vioxx led to deaths from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, and these were exactly the factors driving the changes in national mortality rates….

    “…Perhaps 500,000 or more premature American deaths may have resulted from Vioxx, a figure substantially larger than the 3,468 deaths of named individuals acknowledged by Merck during the settlement of its lawsuit….”

    The topic of statins, which have been shown to be ineffective for most for whom they’re prescribed, is a whole ‘nother topic.  They’re the most profitable drugs of all time.

    • #3
  4. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    The FDA has declared that marijuana has zero safe medically-sound uses and therefore must be completely banned.

    Look how well that’s turned out.

    You really think the FDA can effectively regulate homeopathy?

    Fat chance.

    • #4
  5. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    According to our government:

    • There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.
    • Although people sometimes assume that all homeopathic remedies are highly diluted and therefore unlikely to cause harm, some products labeled as homeopathic can contain substantial amounts of active ingredients and therefore could cause side effects and drug interactions.
    • Homeopathic remedies are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, FDA does not evaluate the remedies for safety or effectiveness.
    • Several key concepts of homeopathy are inconsistent with fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics.
    • There are significant challenges in carrying out rigorous clinical research on homeopathic remedies.
    • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of all you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. [emphasis added]

    Pretty much sums it up. But I’m sure someone will be along shortly to explain how the government is in the pocket of Big Pharma and can’t be trusted with honest commentary on snake oil.

    • #5
  6. Mama Toad Member
    Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    I recognize the scientific evidence on homeopathy is lacking, but why must the federal government be involved?

    I have tick-borne illness, including Lyme and babesiosis that have been plaguing me for the past four and-a-half years. The federal government believes that since I have already been treated for Lyme disease there is nothing more to be done for me, so my insurance company doesn’t pay for any of my treatment. Did I mention that one course of the drugs for babesiosis can run about $2000?

    If I followed the federal guidelines, I could be unable to walk or dead.

    If homeopathy can cause harm, well, licensed standard medical practitioners can also kill or maim their patients.

    What I’d love is the freedom to seek the medical care that I want and am willing to pay for, regardless of what the federal government says.

    • #6
  7. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Mama Toad: What I’d love is the freedom to seek the medical care that I want and am willing to pay for, regardless of what the federal government says.

    As well you should have.

    The problem here is that the FDA is 1) giving the appearance of regulating a product when it is not and 2) is, consequently, enabling fraud.

    If people wish to purchase homeopathic products, that’s great (and hey, a placebo effect is still an effect!); they just shouldn’t be allowed to claim state sanction for doing so if their claims are baseless.

    • #7
  8. MrAmy Member
    MrAmy
    @MrAmy

    I haven’t decided how I feel about current drug regulations. I can see saying “hey, this is poison, you probably shouldn’t take it.”

    I have a harder time with “This doesn’t really do anything, but it won’t kill you.”

    The thing that strikes me, though, is that some of these products don’t contain what they say they do. This seems like the FTC’s job. “This says it contains wonderflonium, but it’s really oregano.”

    • #8
  9. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    MrAmy:… This seems like the FTC’s job. “This says it contains wonderflonium, but it’s really oregano.”

    Yeah, and the FTC’s argument is:

    “Nevertheless, in the past, Commission staff has been reluctant to pursue cases against OTC homeopathic products because the Commission’s traditional remedies, such as requiring that health claims be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, could create a potential conflict with FDA policy under the CPG.”

    They’re not saying they don’t have the legal authority to do so, just that it would create a “conflict” with the FDA, which is manifestly not doing its job.  So neither agency does its job.  Thank Heavens we have regulators…

    A homeopathic “drug” is just water, btw.  So safety and efficacy test should be quite easy: safe in moderate amounts, and effective at curing thirst.

    It’s a fraud, without a doubt.

    • #9
  10. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    I find it interesting, Tom, that you trust the FDA to declare medicines to be “safe and effective,” when there are so many examples of drugs that have had to be removed from the market, and doubtless more to come.

    Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?  Thirty-seven years ago I went reluctantly and suspiciously to a homeopathic M.D., bringing an infant who did not respond to conventional “safe and effective” medicines, but who did respond immediately to homeopathy.  Since then my doctor has cured my family of many ailments.Yes the standard line is that homeopathic medicines are a placebo.  As anyone who has seen their baby healed can testify, they are not.

    The idea that there are no studies showing the effectiveness of homeopathy is widespread and incorrect. It is difficult to study homeopathy in the conventional way, because choice of a remedy is tailored to an individual’s symptoms. Morever, compared with the trillions spent on pharmaceuticals, there is a pittance for homeopathic research.  Despite those barriers, there are many studies.  For one, here is a meta-analysis specifically on the placebo issue, and here is a link to the NCH’s Research Library.

    The market supports homeopathy.  Are we now going to say that in this case (but not others?) consumers are simply too stupid to know their own interest?   This a method that has been used for over 200 years.  Let it alone.

    • #10
  11. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Sandy: Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?

    Yes, at a relative’s insistence. The homeopath was great at getting his patients to reflect on their troubles and stress out less, and I think could have made a better-than-average counselor or therapist. His sugar pills, however, did nothing.

    Many ailments will improve with time, and even today, there’s risk of some conventional treatments doing more harm than good, or delaying a recovery that would have happened sooner without treatment. So even if homeopathy does nothing physical, there’s a chance it will leave you in better shape than if you tried conventional medicine for certain ailments.

    I am not surprised that homeopaths honestly perceive themselves as helping people, or that people honestly perceive themselves as being helped by homeopathy. I just think it happens for different reasons than the “official homeopathy explanation”.

    • #11
  12. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Sandy: Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?

    Yes, at a relative’s insistence. The homeopath was great at getting his patients to reflect on their troubles and stress out less, and I think could have made a better-than-average counselor or therapist. His sugar pills, however, did nothing.

    Many ailments will improve with time, and even today, there’s risk of some conventional treatments doing more harm than good, or delaying a recovery that would have happened sooner without treatment. So even if homeopathy does nothing physical, there’s a chance it will leave you in better shape than if you tried conventional medicine for certain ailments.

    I am not surprised that homeopaths honestly perceive themselves as helping people, or that people honestly perceive themselves as being helped by homeopathy. I just think it happens for different reasons than the “official homeopathy explanation”.

    Homeopaths can fail for many reasons:  choosing the wrong remedy, poor training, patient is simply too far gone, etc., etc. but please re-read what you have written, because it is demeaning to 37 years of experience, and that of many other consumers.  You do not need to share my views, and I am sorry you did not have more success with your physician, but you are suggesting that I am deluded.  Naturally I must reject that.

    • #12
  13. MrAmy Member
    MrAmy
    @MrAmy

    Tuck:

    MrAmy:… This seems like the FTC’s job. “This says it contains wonderflonium, but it’s really oregano.”

    Yeah, and the FTC’s argument is:

    “Nevertheless, in the past, Commission staff has been reluctant to pursue cases against OTC homeopathic products because the Commission’s traditional remedies, such as requiring that health claims be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, could create a potential conflict with FDA policy under the CPG.”

    I’m not arguing about the health claims. I’m arguing about labeling laws. “You said it contains x and it doesn’t.”

    • #13
  14. MrAmy Member
    MrAmy
    @MrAmy

    Dr. Aaron Carroll has a series on Youtube called Health-care triage. One of the big reasons that I like the show is his reliance on Research.

    On a Q&A episode, he had the following question:

    – Is homeopathy just an elaborate placebo?

    And had the following answer

    – If people are using it colloquially to talk about alternative medicine in general, no. There are some things that people do which should be alternative medicine which have been proven even in randomised controlled trials to work. But if the question is specifically about homeopathy and they’re just sort of adding the thing that’s bad for you in tiny amounts to try to get better – that has not even really been proven to work in a large trial. So, if anyone is getting a benefit it could be placebo.

    In randomized control trials, the benchmark is that the treatment does better than placebo.

    In his placebo episode, he specifically mentions that getting a placebo is not no treatment. Getting chicken soup when you’re sick might not actually make the cold go away faster, but it makes you feel better, so there is an effect.

    • #14
  15. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Sandy:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Sandy:

    I am not surprised that homeopaths honestly perceive themselves as helping people, or that people honestly perceive themselves as being helped by homeopathy. I just think it happens for different reasons than the “official homeopathy explanation”.

    Homeopaths can fail for many reasons… but please re-read what you have written, because it is demeaning to 37 years of experience, and that of many other consumers. You do not need to share my views, and I am sorry you did not have more success with your physician, but you are suggesting that I am deluded. Naturally I must reject that.

    I’m not so sure I am. I sometimes see a chiropractor. I don’t believe in “official chiropractic theory” (subluxations, etc). For that matter, neither does my chiropractor.

    Nonetheless, the combination of stretching, massage, and advice on at-home exercises for pain relief my chiropractor offers does seem to help – and the fact that my state requires more coverage of chiropractic care than other physical or massage therapy makes seeing a practitioner labeled “chiropractor” particularly convenient.

    Neither my chiropractor nor I are particularly bothered by not believing in “official chiropractic theory”. We both think that people who do something because it seems to work, even if the official theory behind why it might work strikes us as dubious, are making a rational choice. Nonetheless, we reserve the right to doubt purported explanations of why some things seem to work. That is all.

    • #15
  16. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    I’m not so sure I am. I sometimes see a chiropractor. I don’t believe in “official chiropractic theory” (subluxations, etc). For that matter, neither does my chiropractor.

    Nonetheless, the combination of stretching, massage, and advice on at-home exercises for pain relief my chiropractor offers does seem to help – and the fact that my state requires more coverage of chiropractic care than other physical or massage therapy makes seeing a practitioner labeled “chiropractor” particularly convenient.

    Neither my chiropractor nor I are particularly bothered by not believing in “official chiropractic theory”. We both think that people who do something because it seems to work, even if the official theory behind why it might work strikes us as dubious, are making a rational choice. Nonetheless, we reserve the right to doubt purported explanations of why some things seem to work. That is all.

    I think that when you write “I am not surprised… that people honestly perceive themselves as being helped by homeopathy,” you are suggesting that such people, while well-meaning, are deluded.  They were helped, but not by homeopathy as homeopathy understands itself, that is to say, by directly effecting a physical change.  To repeat, I reject delusion as an explanation.  My more important argument, however, is that the market ought to be allowed to do its business.

    • #16
  17. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Sandy:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    I think that when you write “I am not surprised… that people honestly perceive themselves as being helped by homeopathy,” you are suggesting that such people, while well-meaning, are deluded.

    I could see why you think that. But I’m not, though.

    We don’t know why, exactly, a lot of things apparently work – or fail to. It’s reasonable to stick with what seems to work, even without a good explanation for it. So it’s no surprise that people do it.

    Nor is it all that uncommon to be unsure about whether any particular remedy (whether conventional or not) is effecting an improvement – or an improvement that couldn’t just as easily be had by other means. “It seems to work, but I can’t be positive that it does” is a fairly normal experience in life. (For lots of things. Not just medical treatment.)

    Ultimately, we naked apes can have an astonishing number of wrong ideas, yet still manage to get by. So I tend not to think of people who’ve embraced an idea I consider erroneous as “deluded” instead of “normal”. (One could argue that this is because I think the normal state of humanity is to be deluded about a lot of things while still managing to function, but in that case, “deluded” is hardly a way of singling out any one group for insult.)

    the market ought to be allowed to do its business.

    Sure! No arguments there.

    • #17
  18. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Mama Toad: What I’d love is the freedom to seek the medical care that I want and am willing to pay for, regardless of what the federal government says.

    As well you should have.

    The problem here is that the FDA is 1) giving the appearance of regulating a product when it is not and 2) is, consequently, enabling fraud.

    If people wish to purchase homeopathic products, that’s great (and hey, a placebo effect is still an effect!); they just shouldn’t be allowed to claim state sanction for doing so if their claims are baseless.

    In 1989, the FDA labeled the essential amino acid tryptophan an experimental drug. The less control the FDA has of any aspect of medicine the better for our health .. regardless of appearance.

    • #18
  19. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    Good homeopathic practitioners will try everything, from sending you to your primary care or a specialist to, yes, the weird little vials that are only water.  In some ways a good homepath replaces the role your primary care doctor should be fulfilling, but isn’t.  One of my friends put it best: doctors in America are like bankers; most of them care only for money.

    Primary care in America is a fraud, and people have to go outside the system to get the care they need.  Perhaps the odd quack you’re seeing wants you to take the weird vial of water daily, but on the other hand he won’t prejudge you, he’ll order lab tests you need, help you navigate your insurance system to see a specialist,  and in general act as doctors should, but don’t.

    • #19
  20. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    Z in MT:Where the FDA went wrong is trying to approve claims of effectiveness. The FDA should only approve things for safety.

    Here, here I don’t think this can be said enough. We can thank Regan for this lovely screw up.

    • #20
  21. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    jetstream:

    …In 1989, the FDA labeled the essential amino acid tryptophan an experimental drug. The less control the FDA has of any aspect of medicine the better for our health .. regardless of appearance.

    Oh, I can top that.  In 2013, they labeled poop an experimental drug.  No joke.

    • #21
  22. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Tuck:

    jetstream:

    …In 1989, the FDA labeled the essential amino acid tryptophan an experimental drug. The less control the FDA has of any aspect of medicine the better for our health .. regardless of appearance.

    Oh, I can top that. In 2013, they labeled poop an experimental drug. No joke.

    Fecal transplant is a serious treatment for a very serious problem which we seem to have created for ourselves.   Whether the FDA should have anything to say about it, and whether it should be called a drug ( I don’t think so, but I don’t know all the issues)  is another question.

    • #22
  23. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Sandy:

    Tuck:

    jetstream:

    …In 1989, the FDA labeled the essential amino acid tryptophan an experimental drug. The less control the FDA has of any aspect of medicine the better for our health .. regardless of appearance.

    Oh, I can top that. In 2013, they labeled poop an experimental drug. No joke.

    Fecal transplant is a serious treatment for a very serious problem which we seem to have created for ourselves. Whether the FDA should have anything to say about it, and whether it should be called a drug ( I don’t think so, but I don’t know all the issues) is another question.

    Yes, I know.

    But still, I think when they’re regulating poop they’ve gone too far.  Did the totalitarian Soviets ever try to regulate poop?

    • #23
  24. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Tuck:

    Sandy:

    Tuck:

    jetstream:

    …In 1989, the FDA labeled the essential amino acid tryptophan an experimental drug. The less control the FDA has of any aspect of medicine the better for our health .. regardless of appearance.

    Oh, I can top that. In 2013, they labeled poop an experimental drug. No joke.

    Fecal transplant is a serious treatment for a very serious problem which we seem to have created for ourselves. Whether the FDA should have anything to say about it, and whether it should be called a drug ( I don’t think so, but I don’t know all the issues) is another question.

    Yes, I know.

    But still, I think when they’re regulating poop they’ve gone too far. Did the totalitarian Soviets ever try to regulate poop?

    ;)  Actually I think they set the standard in the poop regulation department.  I note that it took 23 comments to get to Soviet poop.  I know we can do better, but you do get the prize.

    • #24
  25. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    MrAmy:

    …I’m not arguing about the health claims. I’m arguing about labeling laws. “You said it contains x and it doesn’t.”

    Agreed.  That’s clearly within the FTC’s purview.  They have a major policing problem: they’re not doing much of it.

    • #25
  26. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: The problem here is that the FDA is 1) giving the appearance of regulating a product when it is not and 2) is, consequently, enabling fraud.

    I agree.

    Real medicine has side effects because real medicine has effects. Homeopathic remedies can’t hurt you, let alone kill you, because they do not alter the functioning of the body or its systems in any way.

    When something really is wrong, however, taking homeopathic remedies can delay  real treatment, as when my relative kept giving her child nux vomica  for what turned out to be appendicitis.

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: However, at the request of homeopathic trade groups, homeopathic remedies were deferred from review. The FDA never returned to the task and OTC homeopathic drugs have never been reviewed by the FDA for safety and efficacy.

    If the problem was that only a homeopath can match the cure to the symptoms, I wouldn’t be able to buy little bottles of arnica and blue cohosh and whatnot in my local health food store as easily as I can purchase medicines that have actual effects, like Tylenol or Claritin.

    Homeopathic trade groups didn’t ask the FDA to skip their products because the process of diagnosis and prescription are too delicate and nuanced for heavy handed review, but because any honest review would reveal that homeopathy is useless. And this finding might deter some (though probably not all, folk being what they are) from paying thirty bucks for what is, at best, a tablespoon or two of extremely weak herbal tea.

    I can see why the FDA tried to duck the challenge, but the FTC has a point: given that the weak herb tea can have been diluted to the point where the water (or the chalk tablet a drop of water has been dropped onto) no longer contains even a single molecule of nux vomica or any other purported “active” ingredient, how is the FTC supposed to differentiate between the honest homeopathic wholesaler selling water and chalk, and unscrupulous companies marketing…um… water and chalk?

    • #26
  27. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Sandy: Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?

    Yes. No effect. But then, I was really sick.

    In the meta-analysis you link to, Sandy, the authors, after reviewing 89 studies and clinical trials,”… found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.”

    • #27
  28. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Kate Braestrup:

    Sandy: Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?

    In the meta-analysis you link to, Sandy, the authors, after reviewing 89 studies and clinical trials,”… found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.”

    Doctors call themselves “healers”, but they’re not.  Your body does the healing, the doctor can aid this by addressing injuries, like cuts or broken bones.

    Therefore, even if you take nothing but water for a week, most of the time your symptoms will improve, because your body’s job is to heal.

    This is what homeopaths count on.  Time heals all wounds.

    • #28
  29. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Tuck:

    Kate Braestrup:

    Sandy: Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?

    In the meta-analysis you link to, Sandy, the authors, after reviewing 89 studies and clinical trials,”… found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.”

    Doctors call themselves “healers”, but they’re not. Your body does the healing, the doctor can aid this by addressing injuries, like cuts or broken bones.

    Therefore, even if you take nothing but water for a week, most of the time your symptoms will improve, because your body’s job is to heal.

    This is what homeopaths count on. Time heals all wounds.

    Actually, doctors can do a lot more than that. For example, when my daughter was in the hospital suffering from double pneumonia, the doctors gave her oxygen so that her laboring lungs had more to work with, steroids to keep her body from freaking out and drowning her in an attempt to flush out the virus, and pulmonary therapy (a nice gay man who came three times a day to thump on her back) to help her lungs clear themselves.

    Absent the astonishing ability of orthopedic surgeons to repair my husband’s damaged, arthritic hips, he would be, at the age of 55, a cripple in constant pain and concomitant despair. Instead, he goes snowboarding, and plays hockey.

    Without anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers, a dear, kind, intelligent relative of mine will enter into a manic state of such ferocity that it could kill her in any number of ways I don’t want to think about.

    Time does not heal all wounds, except in the sense that time eventually brings death, and death is the cure for all diseases.   I’m not interested in my loved ones being dead anytime soon—-been there, done that—so I am a big (if qualified) fan of modern medicine.

    • #29
  30. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Kate Braestrup:

    Sandy: Have any of you actually used homeopathic remedies under the guidance of a homeopathic physician?

    In the meta-analysis you link to, Sandy, the authors, after reviewing 89 studies and clinical trials,”… found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.”

    Kate, your sentence is misleading, to say the least.  The entire paragraph is a little different.

    The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. [emphasis added] However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition. Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic.

    • #30
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