A Little Homeopathic Fun at the Pharmacy

The other day I went to the local branch of a chain pharmacy to fill a prescription (antibiotics for my throat and giant, swollen lymph node). While I was waiting for them to fill the prescription, I decided to have a little fun. The game was this: find as many homeopathic “medicines” as possible. I’m proud to say that I found quite a few (some that I’d heard of and some that I hadn’t ). I took pictures of each one, so here they are!

Clams Forte: Homeopathic "sleep aid"

The first one I found (because I was specifically looking for this one) was Calms Forte. This homeopathic pill clams to be a sleep aid, but, as James Randi has demonstrated many times, it doesn’t do a thing. It contains what you’d expect homeopathic pills to contain: virtually no active ingredient.

Sambucol: Homeopathic "Cold & Flu Relief"

The next one I found was Sambucol, which clams to relieve cold and flu symptoms. It’s right next to the other pill with a bullshit clam, Airborne (which clams to prevent colds and the flu using very large doses of vitamin C, and it doesn’t actually work). Here’s how the Sambucol site describes its “active” ingredients:

Active ingredients are monographed and micro-diluted in accordance with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States and are non-toxic and have no known side effects

It has no know side effects because it’s so diluted that it contains no active ingredients to cause any problems. What ingredients make up most of its mass, you ask? Well, lactose and sucrose, of course. It’s literally a sugar pill (and at about $10 a box, a rather expensive sugar pill).

Cramp 911: Homeopathic cramp "relief"

This one was a bit different from the others: Cramp 911 is a roll-on homeopathic treatment, rather than a pill. But, like the others, it has no active ingredients. The website for this one actually tries to explain what homeopathy is:

Homeopathy uses the therapeutic effects of substances by attenuating their toxicity through the use of very small doses right until the “infinitesimal” level. Experience has shown that, in spite of the very high dilution of the active ingredient, the therapeutic effects remains. Although progress is made every day, the state of science still does not allow us to account for the mode of action of infinitesimal dilutions.

Well, there you have it: experience shows that it works, so just forget about that pesky “lack of supporting scientific evidence” thing.

Homeopathic Fibromyalgia "Relief"

This one actually pisses me off. Fibromyalgia is painful, doesn’t have a cure, and no one is even sure what causes it. So preying on people with this disease (who are probably desperate for real relief) is especially disgusting to me. Once again, like with all homeopathic “medicines”, it’s diluted to the point of having none of the “active” ingredient in it.

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1 Comment

Filed under Skepticism

One response to “A Little Homeopathic Fun at the Pharmacy

  1. Argh! The quackery just makes me sad. Preying on sick and desperate people for profit. It’s so heartless.

    I don’t subscribe to the “big pharma” conspiracy theory of course, but they too make money of medicine. They do however spend years and millions testing their drugs – and they work. These people whip up some magic concoction with fancy ingredients like goose liver, Berlin wall dust, a drop of coffee or whatnot, dilute it into non-existence and sell it like it was the most natural thing in the world.

    Oh, and they love to call it quantum mechanics. Bullshit. No one has yet described this “phenomenon” in quantum mechanical terms. It’s a way of not saying “it’s magic” because most people don’t know anything about quantum mechanics and can’t argue.

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