Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Can Homeopathy (Oscillococcinum, Dolivaxil, Influenzinum) Help With The Flu? - by Liz Ditz

Can Homeopathy (Oscillococcinum, Dolivaxil, Influenzinum) Help With The Flu?

Can Homeopathy Cure or Prevent the Flu? No, although homeopaths continue to misrepresent the research and insist that homeopathy is effective. (FYI, Oscillococcinum is dilute rotten duck meat, Dolivaxil and Influenzium are alleged to be prepared from influenza strains but no research has been published. They could easily be prepared from nothing other than pure water.)

The homeopathic trade association launched The National Center for Homeopathy Influenza project:

January 22, 2004
We shall provide regular summaries about the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies in each flu season and where those remedies are helping. The Influenza Project is so new we don't have any data yet but please come back soon!

Well--if the remedies don't work you certainly can't have any data. No wonder there were no updates.

The North Texas Skeptics had an article on remedies stealth-marketed to the public: " A recurring theme I've noticed in articles published in Homeopathy Today is an ongoing search to find more effective ways to sell homeopathic theory to the general public.

The internet makes selling useless products all that much easier: Lifematters makes claim that homeopathy can eliminate the influenza virus

Using Homeopathy for Colds & Flu--In the world of conventional medical practice, there is no real help for the suffering caused by the common cold and flu. One can only use a chemical to mask the symptoms for a few hours and wait for the virus to run its course.
In Homeopathy, however, there is the possibility of actually fighting the virus.

No proof is offered for this bald assertion. I haven't been able to find any homeopath other than one Michele Iqbal who makes that claim. Iqbal calls herself a "doctor" but she has no medical education licensing recognized in North America.

The Boiron Homeopathic Company has a patent on the use of a particular bacterium which used in homeopathic form can actually give immunity to viruses.

Oscillococcinum is not claimed by Boiron to be a bacterial preparation. No bacterium can give blanket immunity to viruses. The "bacterium" --Oscillococcinum--doesn't actually exist. It was an artifact of the tools used by an early 20th-century reseacher, Joseph Roy. He originally thought it would be a panacea for cancer (more below).

(There's more)