Media Appearances – Oscillococcinum

Very happy that Oscillococcinum is in the news nationwide this week thanks to work that we did. I’ve already seen coverage from Global News, The National Post, CBC, and many others (with a few more interviews already lined up). Some thoughts on pharmacists’ & Boiron’s comments below.

Boiron, the company behind the product, says many people have used it for a long time because it works. 1) The flu doesn’t last forever, so people taking Oscillo can’t know if it worked; 2) argument from popularity; 3) argument from antiquity.

Boiron also mentions two positive trials of their product, but a) not all studies are created equal and b) no cherry picking allowed! When the Cochrane Collaboration looked at ALL the studies, it stated that the positive ones could be positive because of bias in their methodology (which happens often enough), and that the overall standard of research reporting was poor.

Low quality evidence + absence of plausibility given the founding principles of homeopathy = it doesn’t work. Both the Australian and British governments looked at all the evidence for homeopathy and concluded that they were “placebo pills”.

The Quebec Order of Pharmacists admits homeopathy has no proven scientific value (yay!), but that some pharmacists choose to stock it to “start a dialogue”. Wait, what? I didn’t realize pharmacists were stocking products they didn’t believe in so they could talk to you about them.

Also, they say pharmacists can stock them… but never recommend them, for fear of being disciplined. What is this?? Obviously, we’re all supposed to play along with the “elephant in the room”. We all know it doesn’t work, but we’ll all keep pretending it does without actually saying it, so as not to break the illusion.

CBC Marketplace got approval for a homeopathic fever remedy aimed at children a few years ago. The proof they sent? A handful of photocopies from an old book about historical evidence that these ingredients may work. It’s important Canadians understand how easily Health Canada approves homeopathy.

The full article, by the Canadian Press, can be read in a few places.

Here’s The National Post: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/mcgill-science-group-takes-aim-at-pharmacies-for-selling-quack-flu-remedy

Here’s CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mcgill-science-group-homeopathy-1.4982439

Here’s Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/4858964/mcgill-pharmacies-flue-remedy/

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