Skip to main content

HEALTH: Why are Alliance Healthcare still targeting parents with bogus homeopathic 'remedies'?

Having contacted the Advertising Standards Authority in December over this poster by Alliance Healthcare, today I found a new version clearly targeting Barnet's parents with bogus claims about their homeopathic 'remedies'. The poster claims their treatments are "Nature's solution to antibiotics, Calpol, pain killers, cortisone and steroids", a slogan which will have Barnet's GPs rolling in the aisles. It would be funny if it wasn't dangerous. Many children suffer from serious infections and complex illnesses which require these medications, and no conclusive evidence has been found to show that homeopathy is effective against them.

Why has this company not yet been prevented from making these dangerous claims, and directing them at concerned, vulnerable parents in my neighbourhood? The poster (top left in the picture below) is right above the kids' rides in the local shopping centre, right next to its biggest supermarket.


Thousands of parents must have seen and believed this poster by now. When I contacted Alliance Healthcares Barnet representative back in December, she effectively admitted she had no evidence to support these claims. Having made clear the onus is on healthcare professionals to back up such claims, and receiving none, I reported Alliance to the Advertising Standards Authority (see the December post on this blog). The ASA's spokesperson confirmed Alliance were in breach of their guidelines on advertising homeopathic treatments and action would be taken: I wouldn't be contacted again as this action took its course.

We are now in February and not only are Alliance still offering these treatments targeted at children but their poster seems bolder than ever.


As you can see from the picture above, they offer a discount for children and free 'consultations' on some days of the week. The photograph shows a parent with a child.

What's the harm, you may ask?

Supporters of homeopathy continually claim they are offering 'complimentary treatment' and when challenged, say they do not try to compete with standard medicine. Homeopathy aids - so goes the argument - a natural healing process, but there is no danger as patients suffering from urgent or serious problems will first consult their GP. No side effects, as the poster reminds us. True enough, something which has no observable medical effect is unlikely to have side effects.

The problem is that they are making specific medical claims in this ad, as in their leaflet (attached to the poster), to treat serious and potentially very harmful illnesses. The idea that sugar pills can be 'effective' against the flu or glue ear, both conditions cited on the poster, is simply dangerous nonsense. That anyone should be allowed to make money from it is downright objectionable.

A parent who has seen a child suffer from the side effects of treatment for these harsh conditions could easily be misled into thinking that Alliance's homeopathy is a 'safe' and 'natural' alternative to drugs which seem heavy or harmful. Treatments could be delayed, interrupted or stopped altogether because of such beliefs. Who could blame a parent for seeking a less harmful treatment for their child? Little do such parents know, homeopaths are not allowed to make these claims as they have been shown to be false and misleading.

It boils down to this. Alliance Healthcare are targeting parents in my area and making money from false claims. Until they can prove the effectiveness of their treatments (and the burden of proof is on them, not on me to prove that they have cause harm, in case you're wondering) they are basically selling snake oil and making money dishonestly from sick children and their concerned parents.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

COMMENT: Rivoli Riding - why a Carpentras cinema has me needing therapy

"I don't know how to feel about this, whether to love it or hate it. I just don't know". And in one breath, a petite, gleeful Dutch lady smashes the quiet discomfort of a room full of viewers, mulling over the contradictions of the film. Chloe Zhao's The Rider is a semi-documentary-part-fiction, favourite of 2017 Cannes film festival, and swept up awards in Deauville, Toronto and more. The hubbub begins as the Carpentras anglophiles sit around a cluster of café-parisien-style tables on which glasses of Cotes-du-rhône red wine, bowls of snacks and steaming slices of (homemade) pizza are magically appearing, like a tiny, stylish Hogwarts school of arthouse cinema wizardry.

"But the photography..."
"And that actor, playing himself! How did he even..."
"Well, the director got a standing ovation. She's Chinese."
"Remind me, Laura, I need to give you a book"
"Did he play himself?"
"The horses... How do you say 'd…

BARNET HUMANISTS Episode 1: Free Lunch?

Barnet Humanists!
Weekly secular lens on news, reviews and interviews of kids and grown ups on ethics and politics, books and flicks, and whatever makes us tic.
Host David (a Humanist Dad in North London) interviews kids - the Mini-Humanists - each week with a topic to get them thinking critically. I believe that by discussing the big questions, kids are better equipped to deal with an increasingly secular world, so if you're a Humanist parent or just interested in how to foster good critical thinking, this show is for you.
Some episodes will feature a me-rant, others an interview (if I can get Skype working). Others still will review a book I find relevant to current Humanist topics.

https://soundcloud.com/barnethumanist/episode-1-free-lunch


This week's show.

 The me-rant: I walk through a London park, yammering about politics, being a Humanist Dad, the Manchester attacks and other topics that cross my brain The Mini-Humanists chat about school dinners
Tweets are welcome @Barn…

Episode 9 - Satanism: the devil's harlot

This week's show is an interview with Leopold Pan, spokesperson from the London Satanic Temple.
What is Satanism?TenetsAtheist activism vs satanist religionChildren's rightsSacrifices?Political activism and plans

Reason is the Devil's harlot, who can do nought but slander and harm whatever God says and does.
German: Vernunft … ist die höchste Hur, die der Teufel hat …
— Martin Luther, Last Sermon in Wittenberg, Second Sunday in Epiphany, 17 January 1546. Sources: Dr. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, (Weimar: Herman Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1914), Band 51:126, Line 7ff; Martin Luther (1483-1546). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.; H. L. Mencken, Treatise on the Gods, p.  244; Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great, p. 73.