Homeopathy - cure or humbug?

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Today, 8:15 p.m. on 3sat: Science Documentation Homeopathy - Healing or Humbug? A commentary from the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ)

This documentation was first broadcast in March 2013, and the DZVhÄ is now repeating its criticism of the documentation here:
Basically, this article contains everything you can expect from a scientific documentation: advocates and critics of the method have their say, so that the viewer is given a broad spectrum of opinions on the difficult topic of homeopathy. But if you look at this story of the journalist Carsten Binsack as an insider, you will notice nuances: the choice of words. In the editorial text, homeopathy is described as highly controversial. Who is she from? There are terms like heresy or ritual, the term belief is often strained.

False statement: "Expert" Edzard Ernst is not a homeopathic doctor. The scientists who have their say are not questioned. This would have been particularly worthwhile for Edzard Ernst, who acts as the moderator of the contribution, he can comment on any statement by the supporters and always has the last word. Edzard Ernst, professor emeritus, also knits on his legend of the change from Saul to Paul. Carsten Binsack introduces Ernst to the claim, "He worked as a homeopath for a long time." Ernst says: "I worked in a homeopathic hospital in Munich." Both are wrong, and Binsack should have known that too.
In an interview with Edzard Ernst in the Homeopathic News, the newsletter of the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ), in April 2010, it says: Do you have the additional medical title Homeopathy? Ernst: I acquired the prerequisites for this, but I never applied for the title.

Asked: Is it correct that you did not acquire the additional title "Homeopathy" but did take medical training courses "Homeopathy"? If yes, which ones (A to F courses)? Seriously: I haven't taken any courses. This means that Edzard Ernst is not a homeopathic doctor and consequently was not able to work as such. His claim that he had acquired the prerequisites for the additional qualification is wrong because he did not take any courses. The term homeopathy is protected in Germany by the medical profession. Anyone who pretends to be a doctor with an additional qualification must complete part-time training prescribed by the medical associations, which lasts about 1 ½ years. Anyone who describes himself as a homeopathic doctor without qualifications is doing label fraud.

Ernst's statement that he worked in a homeopathic hospital is also incorrect. It is true that after his exam he worked for six months in the Naturopathic Hospital in Munich. From the above interview: is it correct that you worked in the naturopathic hospital for half a year? Ernst: I am no longer sure how long I worked in the naturopathic hospital, that was a while ago!

The effectiveness of homeopathy has been proven by many studies. Even as a scientist, Ernst is not without controversy. In recent years, he has made a name for himself as an author (Gesund ohne Pillen, Hanser Verlag 2009) or expert (Die andere Medizin, Stiftung Warentest 2005) of popular science books. There are institutes at several universities in Germany and in many European countries where CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) research is carried out. Professor Robert Jütte, head of the Institute for the History of Medicine at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Stuttgart, summarizes the criticism of Ernst in a review (FAZ, February 23, 2009) of the book Healthy Without Pills: "The ignorance [the Authors] against methodical and factual objections that leading researchers in the field of complementary medicine have against the selective view of these two "experts". Contrary views are not mentioned. The authors also ignore a detailed Health Technology Assessment report on homeopathy as part of the Swiss Evaluation Complementary Medicine program from 2006. This concludes that there is sufficient evidence of preclinical effects and clinical efficacy of homeopathy (level of evidence I and II) exist and that it represents a safe and cost-effective intervention absolutely and especially in comparison to conventional therapies. ”The DZVhÄ research reader gives an overview of the study situation, download: welt-der-homoeopathie.de.

Lobbying and professionalization is not disreputable It remains unclear what Binsack means with the big business with homeopathy, a topic that takes up a lot of space in the documentation. The industry generates 400 million euros in sales with homeopathic drugs, it is said. In order to classify this contribution: The turnover of the pharmaceutical industry in Germany was approximately 40.5 billion US dollars in 2010). In the same year, sales on the GKV finished drug market in Germany amounted to 29.7 billion euros - the statutory health insurance (GKV) had to pay 10.9 million euros for homeopathic medicines (www.statista.com).

Another topic with nuances: the professionalization of the homeopathy scene. Of course, the DZVhÄ maintains contacts with politicians, editorial offices and other associations, which enables us to represent professional interests well. The German Union of Journalists is also lobbying. The author of the documentation is a welcome guest at the DZVhÄ press office in Berlin and was happy to use information and contacts. That goes without saying and is part of good press work. (pm)

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