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Big Pharma? Meet Big Altie
Orac, the surgeon/scientist/blogger does it again, with another post about the alternative medicine industry. Yes, industry. This time, it's about the claim by the alties (apparently, commies, not capitalists) that any alternative medicine skeptic is "in the pocket of big pharma."

But, how about the pockets of the purveyers of alternative cures? Turns out they're pretty deep -- and pretty full up with cash, too.

Orac points to vastly expensive "Chinese medicine" cures -- 85-year-old ginseng root selling for $138,000 U.S., and to an American product called Airborne...for which there's no scientific proof given of its efficacy. He quotes a New York Times article by Rob Walker:

Packages of Airborne, found in the cough-and-cold aisle of major chains like CVS, Rite Aid and Wal-Mart, proudly proclaim that the product was "Created by a School Teacher!" This seems a little odd. Don't we want to fight our seasonal ailments with things created by, for instance, doctors and scientists? Apparently not all of us do: Airborne is extremely successful, and its creation by someone without the slightest medical expertise or qualification is almost certainly a factor in its success.

For one thing, it makes for an excellent creation story. In the late 1990's, Victoria Knight-McDowell, an elementary-school teacher in Spreckels, Calif., grew weary of picking up colds from her students and began "researching Chinese and holistic medicine and the use of herbs and vitamins to boost the immune system," an official company history explains. She and her husband then decided to market her "natural formula of 17 ingredients" in 1997. They used the money her husband had made selling a television script. They handed out samples in malls and gradually got distribution in various stores. Kevin Costner became one of many celebrities to declare his confidence in the product. In 2000, Knight-McDowell gave up her teaching gig, and by 2004 annual sales hit $90 million. Along the way, Knight-McDowell appeared on "Dr. Phil," and Airborne was discussed on "Live With Regis and Kelly" and other shows.

...People also must use Airborne because it works, or rather because they believe it works. Technically, Airborne is a dietary supplement (you're supposed to take it "at the first sign of a cold symptom or before entering crowded environments"), meaning that it does not require Food and Drug Administration testing and approval. As the package disclaimer notes, it is "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." As with many supplements, there is no independent scientific evidence of Airborne's medicinal value. But many people continue to buy the herbal supplement echinacea, despite many studies (including one in The New England Journal of Medicine) saying it does nothing to ward off or treat colds.

Orac writes:

I'm sure there is "nothing else like it," but one could say that about almost any concoction. So far, this sounds pretty science- and data-free, don't you agree? Of course, curmudgeon that I am, I can't help but wonder why Ms. Knight-McDowell advertises "invented by a schoolteacher," thus appealing to her customer's mistrust of "conventional medicine," but then says that she developed Airborne with a "team of health professionals." She seems to want to have it both ways, appealing to homespun "practical" knowledge while at the same time appealing to the authority of "health care professionals." (Of course, the blurb above doesn't say just who these "health professionals" are or whether they're even doctors or scientists; they could well be alties like Hulda Clark for all we know.) Also, her experience as a teacher has to be the lamest argument from authority with respect to a health product that I've seen in a long time. Sure, kids are germ factories, and working with children as a teacher is a great way to be regularly exposed to the latest bug going around, but how does that give Ms. Knight-Dowell the expertise to come up with an herbal/supplement concoction to prevent or fight colds? I might buy it if she claimed to have figured out a method of hand-washing that kids can actually do correctly, which would probably go much farther in decreasing the spread of colds in schools than any herbal remedy, but don't see how her experience as a school teacher suddenly qualifies her as a expert in herbal medicine. And, of course, there isn't one whit of scientific evidence or studies from clinical trials to support her claims for Airborne.

Another interesting point to consider is that it is recommended that people take Airborne "at the first sign of a cold symptom or before entering crowded environments." However, "at the first sign of a cold symptom" is a fairly vague criterion, one that's tripped up any number of studies looking at, for example, whether zinc prevents or decreases the severity of colds. Some people cough once or twice and think they're coming down with a cold; if they take Airborne and don't get any further symptoms, they're likely to attribute it to the Airborne rather than to a different cause for their coughing, another example of confirmation bias. Ditto if people take Airborne before going into a "crowded environment" or an airplane and happen not to get a cold.

...Products like Airborne are yet another indication of a gaping hole in the laws dealing with how we regulate medicines. Ms. Knight-McDowell is clearly making a medical claim for her product, namely that it can prevent or diminish the severity of colds. If I make a claim for a a compound that I develop, I'll have to prove it through clinical studies before I could ever get FDA approval to market it, which takes many years and costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Ms. Knight-McDowell can throw together a concoction of a bunch of vitamins and herbs and make millions. Certainly I'll give her props for her entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to risk everything for her business, but I only wish she could produce some actual evidence that her product does what she claims it does. A randomized, double-blinded study (preferably more than one) would, of course, be the gold standard, but in lieu of that I'd settle for lesser levels of evidence (or, for that matter, any credible evidence at all from a well-designed study, even a preliminary one) to give me some indication that Airborne is something other than a rather elaborate placebo. Medically, it's probably harmless, although we don't know even that for sure, given that some herbal medicines can interact with conventional medicines such as coumadin or anti-HIV retroviral drugs in potentially harmful ways.

He goes back to the New York Times article to explain why:

Airborne - which, Donahue points out, is positioned as a mainstream product, not as an "alternative medicine" - is not against pharmaceutical companies or anyone else. It is simply for something that happens to have been invented by a nonexpert. But it probably benefits from distrust of medical authority and faith in a certain kind of folk wisdom just the same. Donahue acknowledges that, for instance, the phrase "Created by a Journalist!" might not be such a great marketing device. "People trust a schoolteacher," she says.

Orac wraps it all up:

My point here is not to defend big pharma or the conflicts of interest that come about because pharmaceutical companies are prone to giving inducements to doctors to prescribe their product. My point is to echo Abel in pointing out that there's a lot of money in alternative medicine and nutritional supplements, and the industry is growing. As the industry grows, it naturally starts to behave not unlike the way big pharma behaves, whose excesses have led to a backlash and increasing numbers of hospitals and doctors refusing to accept gifts of other than nominal value from drug reps. Moreover, alternative medicine companies do not have to deal with anything near the regulatory hurdles that traditional pharmaceutical companies do (you know, pesky little requirements that the drug be safe and effective and stuff like that). As these companies become more profitable, it is not unlikely that many of them will be purchased by pharmaceutical companies and become part of big pharma themselves.

What all of this means is that it's nothing more than a massive fallacy to imply that alternative medicine sellers are somehow above the commerce of it all, that they are untainted by financial concerns. They aren't, and are probably becoming less so. Arguments over the efficacy (or lack thereof) of any treatment or drug should be confined to the scientific evidence.

Posted by aalkon at October 14, 2006 11:37 AM

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From Benjamin Franklin, by way of James Randi:"There are no greater liars in the world than quacks. Except for their patients."

Posted by: Radwaste at October 14, 2006 5:44 AM

There are ‘vastly expensive’ Chinese cures, like very old ginseng, but these are so rare and expensive they don’t really figure in standard Chinese medicine treatments. Airborne is more or less based on a classic formula called Gan Mao Ling that’s available for about $5 for 100 pills.
Yes, I agree the whole ‘invented by a school teacher’ thing is flaky marketing, but BFD. Hey, I went to school for this stuff, and I ain’t got no stinkin’ 90 million. Now THAT pisses me off.
Yes, people use it because it works. This has many people, in and out of the pharmaceutical industry, gnashing their teeth, because you can’t patent the ingredients, then raise the price to the stratosphere. I would welcome clinical trials testing its efficacy, and think we well might see these especially now that Wal-Mart (or maybe it’s K-mart) is selling its own version, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for them; as Orac notes, they cost hundreds of millions of dollars and would only put more profitable drugs out of business.
Western meds do have to go through a rigorous approval process, but as a doctor like Orac surely knows, “The "off-label" use of prescription medications -- for conditions other than those approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration -- occurs in about one in every five prescriptions filled in the United States, a new study finds.
Unfortunately, the practice is potentially risky, since three-quarters of these off-label uses lack solid scientific support, experts say.”
www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2006/05/08/hscout532598.html
This does not mean ‘allright, nobody needs proof, don’t test anything.’ It does mean that Western meds are frequently prescribed via doctor’s intuition, or what you learn from your mentors. Formulas like Gan Mao Ling have a much longer history of successful use, use by literate, analytical and educated doctors, not some savages squatting in a mud hut, and it’s rather supercilious as well as inaccurate to write this off as ‘folk wisdom.’
The Chinese think it’s hilarious that Western doctors don’t think that there’s a cure for the common cold; they cure colds all the time. The best way to do this is to kill it before it gets bad, which is what Gan Mao Ling is for. Yes, Orac, really, I CAN tell when I’m getting a cold, I think most people can at a certain age, and it’s past just coughing once or twice. I use the GML because it works, I don’t get the cold, where homeopathic remedies or massive doses of C did not work. When a client begins training with me, they get a bottle of GML, because sick clients don’t train, and every one of them has gotten positive results. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t tell people to use it.
Before anyone accuses me of being an altie-profiteer, the first bottle’s free, and after that, I direct them to buy it at Whole Foods or EarthFare. I figure my clients will be more likely to try it if they don’t see me pushing it on them to make a buck. If a client is sick with something more serious than the start of a head cold, I make up a stronger formula, and yes, charge for that.
I agree that sellers of ‘alternative medicine’ are motivated by, among other things, a desire for profit. I have never claimed to be ‘above the commerce of it all,’ it’s called ‘paying my rent and buying food,’ and clients understand that. I then go walk across the nearest lake to heal a swan with a broken wing.
The NEJM study on the efficacy of echinacia is often used to show that ‘herbs don’t work’, but solo echinacia is a different matter than a formula; I wouldn’t expect great results from taking just one medicinal. Chinese formulas typically have between 8 and 20 ingredients, based on the symptoms the patient presents with. Echinacia might be useful in combination with other medicinals, but is of limited use by itself. You might as well take the drive train out of your car, try to ride it around your block, fail, then conclude ‘cars don’t work.’
Finally, there are many anti-common-cold formulas in Chinese medicine, each specific to a set of symptoms. A formula that would work well for a patient with profuse clear nasal discharge, chills, no thirst, and a stiff neck would make another patient with a sore throat, yellow mucus, thirst and fever, worse, for example. Optimally, the formula is custom-made for the patient. So, I’m with Orac, bring on the trials, but make sure the patients have consistent symptoms.


Posted by: Cat brother at October 14, 2006 10:14 AM

In the meantime - have you noticed that Pfizer et al makes money to bugger the imagination of the most productive drug lord? WOW, does legal marketing work!

Posted by: Radwaste at October 14, 2006 1:48 PM

Cat - either you can demonstrate your medicine in a properly designed trial or you can't. Your tales of "it works" really cut no ice. It is far too easy to fool yourself, your patients and your potential customers - all in good faith. That's why we use double-blind randomised trials. They are much harder to fool.


I'm not saying you are a bad person: just that you are a human being. Confirmation bias, superstitious behaviour, poor understanding of statistics all seem to be part of being human, and they all support quack medicine, which does very well out of it. You are like the believer who is atheist with respect to all gods except one. What makes your claims any different from the other quacks?


If you want to read this in more depth, visit http://skepdic.com which has lots of info and links to more.

Posted by: Norman at October 15, 2006 5:11 AM

> Confirmation bias, superstitious
> behaviour, poor understanding of
> statistics

These things are the doctor's tools, too. Listen, a lot of workaday medicine is idiopathic. If doctors could cure what ails you with placebos at convincing prices, they'd cut a lot of ice indeed.

Mysticism rules! Not in any particular form, but as an permanent feature of the human heart. Acknowledging this shouldn't stain our credentials as rational people. We can afford some humility as we sort out the traffic in the citadel.

Posted by: Crid at October 15, 2006 6:53 AM

Yes, people use it because it works.

People use it because they BELIEVE it works. Just like echinacea, and Oscilloccoccinum, the French homeopathic cold medicine. Homeopathy is more bullshit. See Quackwatch.com on that:

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/homeo.html

The "Remedies" Are Placebos

Homeopathic products are made from minerals, botanical substances, and several other sources. If the original substance is soluble, one part is diluted with either nine or ninety-nine parts of distilled water and/or alcohol and shaken vigorously (succussed); if insoluble, it is finely ground and pulverized in similar proportions with powdered lactose (milk sugar). One part of the diluted medicine is then further diluted, and the process is repeated until the desired concentration is reached. Dilutions of 1 to 10 are designated by the Roman numeral X (1X = 1/10, 3X = 1/1,000, 6X = 1/1,000,000). Similarly, dilutions of 1 to 100 are designated by the Roman numeral C (1C = 1/100, 3C = 1/1,000,000, and so on). Most remedies today range from 6X to 30X, but products of 30C or more are marketed.

A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy's "law of infinitesimals" is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness. Robert L. Park, Ph.D., a prominent physicist who is executive director of The American Physical Society, has noted that since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule, a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water. This would require a container more than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth.

Oscillococcinum, a 200C product "for the relief of colds and flu-like symptoms," involves "dilutions" that are even more far-fetched. Its "active ingredient" is prepared by incubating small amounts of a freshly killed duck's liver and heart for 40 days. The resultant solution is then filtered, freeze-dried, rehydrated, repeatedly diluted, and impregnated into sugar granules. If a single molecule of the duck's heart or liver were to survive the dilution, its concentration would be 1 in 100200. This huge number, which has 400 zeroes, is vastly greater than the estimated number of molecules in the universe (about one googol, which is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes). In its February 17, 1997, issue, U.S. News & World Report noted that only one duck per year is needed to manufacture the product, which had total sales of $20 million in 1996. The magazine dubbed that unlucky bird "the $20-million duck."

Actually, the laws of chemistry state that there is a limit to the dilution that can be made without losing the original substance altogether. This limit, which is related to Avogadro's number, corresponds to homeopathic potencies of 12C or 24X (1 part in 1024). Hahnemann himself realized that there is virtually no chance that even one molecule of original substance would remain after extreme dilutions. But he believed that the vigorous shaking or pulverizing with each step of dilution leaves behind a "spirit-like" essence -- "no longer perceptible to the senses" -- which cures by reviving the body's "vital force." Modern proponents assert that even when the last molecule is gone, a "memory" of the substance is retained. This notion is unsubstantiated. Moreover, if it were true, every substance encountered by a molecule of water might imprint an "essence" that could exert powerful (and unpredictable) medicinal effects when ingested by a person.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 15, 2006 7:28 AM

> People use it because they
> BELIEVE it works.

Amy, HUMILITY! How are you so certain you know what's going on in other people's heads?

Here's an experiment: Go to a friend of yours who's gay. Explain to him that the problem is probably just that he had a bad outing in his first experience with a woman, and that if he just concentrates carefully and gives it his best effort when trying again, he'll certainly begin to appreciate the difference between his body and the woman's in a biologically correct manner.

Or are you going to believe him when he says he's feeling something else?

Posted by: Crid at October 15, 2006 8:42 AM

What you desire sexually and whether a certain potion works -- these are not apt comparisons.

Take echinacea. If people don't believe it works, why do they take it? It's been proven not to work, despite those who would swear that it cured their cold.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 15, 2006 9:08 AM

Apt!

> If people don't believe it works,
> why do they take it?

If guys don't enjoy doing that stuff, why....

Posted by: Crid at October 15, 2006 10:12 AM

OK, in order of replies to my last post –
Norman, as I said, I would welcome randomized trials for this particular product. The first time I heard about Airborne and its popularity, I thought that this would be the first such formula to get such trials, not because it’s such a great or original formula, but because of the money its well-entrenched makers, and their imitators at Wal-Mart and such, stand to make. For better, and often for worse, profit is the main driver in such trials. Not being Warren Buffet, I cannot produce and pay for statistically significant trials myself.
And no, it really ISN’T easy to convince myself or another person, especially when neither of us stands to profit, that we don’t have a cold. I submit that this is different than, say, a formula that’s supposed to give you “a vague feeling of well-being,” which I see as eminently placebo-able. If my throat hurts and I’m blowing my nose every ten seconds, you’ll have to take my word that I say to myself, man, I’ve got a cold.
The clients I mentioned are personal training clients (as opposed to a pack of patchouli-scented hippie New Agers who’re dying to believe in esoterica), they have no reason to tell me that this stuff works, and the fact that they show up without cold symptoms is demonstrative to me. I KNOW that many people won’t believe stuff like this works ‘till trials have been done – but as I pointed out, doctors prescribe drugs all the damn time for stuff that they haven’t been tested for, just based on experience or intuition, so this attitude is a little inconsistent. By your definition, they are acting as quacks.
What distinguishes me ‘from other quacks’ to use your charming phrase, when I recommend Gan Mao Ling to stop a cold, is that most of the ingredients (chrysanthemum, isatis, vitex, lonicera) have demonstrated both antimicrobial and antiviral properties in lab studies, so it’s not surprising to me they can kill off a cold-causing rhinovirus before it reaches full strength. Nothing mystical about it. If I picked a bunch of flowers at a botanical garden because I liked their pretty colors, then gave them to someone to cure a cold, yeah, some faith and placebo effecting would be necessary.
Re the placebo effect – when I first encountered the Gan Mao Ling formula, I was told it was for a severe head cold with yellow mucus and sore throat. I found it to be basically useless in that situation; my placebo receptors were definitely not firing. In school, a teacher told me that is was on the contrary very effective before you got sick, and I found this to be the truth. I’ve prescribed it since then hundreds of times, and yes, it’s worked for me. If it functions via placebo effect, it certainly has that effect on a wide-ranging audience. If it was expensive, had side effects, or worked for fewer than half the people I gave it to, I wouldn’t use it. But it’s cheap, has no side effects, and I’ve had almost 100% success with it, so I’m perfectly happy to let someone else do a study down the road.
Amy, I love you, love your boobs (The Advice Knockers), but you really oughta stop putting all ‘alternative’ medicine in the same box. In one of your recent posts, you started by saying that acupuncture didn’t work and finished by ridiculing chiropractic neck adjustments. Chinese medicine isn’t chiropractic, and it ain’t homeopathy or naturopathy. If you want to say, herbal formulas based on traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture suck, I’ll be happy to take it up with you, especially if you wear that green dress and arch your back a lot. But you can rip on echinacia and homeopathy all day, won’t bother me a bit, because they have nothing to do with what I do.
There are no Protocols of the Elders of Zi- er, Altie, that tell us that All Alternative is One, that they’re all of equal value. Of course there is worthless ‘alternative’ treatment, TONS of it. When I first heard the theorey behind homeopathy, I thought it was the dumbest shit I’d ever heard. The homeopathic cold cures I tried did nothing, so I’ve never tried them since. The medicinals in Chinese medicine are used pretty much the opposite way, you want a bigger effect, you put more in, based of course on the patient’s presentation and the maximum safe dose of the herb.
To say, echinacia doesn’t work, therefore, these other herbal formulas don’t work, just doesn’t follow. BMW’s are good cars, Kias suck. The fact that Kias suck doesn’t mean all cars break down easily and have poor performance.

Posted by: Cat brother at October 15, 2006 11:47 AM

...but as I pointed out, doctors prescribe drugs all the damn time for stuff that they haven’t been tested for, just based on experience or intuition...

A very good example of "just because I believe something works the way I think it does, doesn't make it so." Using drugs off-label has nothing to do with lack of studies/supporting evidence. It has to do with the FDA approval process.

When you use a drug off-label you still have to have efficacy data (you already have the safety data from the initial trials), and you get that from studies, not intuition.

Posted by: ema at October 15, 2006 10:23 PM

Cat -


I appreciate that doing trials is not cheap or easy, and that it's not an option that open to you. But I have to disagree with you when you say "And no, it really ISN’T easy to convince myself or another person, especially when neither of us stands to profit, that we don’t have a cold." If that were so then the echinacia trials would not have been necessary either.


As an aside: why don't the Chinese do a trial? Presumably they can see the benefits of selling a cure for the common cold?


I'm not saying your GML doesn't work - just that it's easy to make a mistake. Taking echinacia as an example, how long has this been in use? For all that time, it "worked," just like GML. St John's Wort is another case - but this time the tests were able to show that it has some effect.


I don't get many colds - can't remember the last one. From time to time I will get a runny nose and frequent sneezing that lasts perhaps 4 hours. I don't do anything about it - it just goes away. I don't even know if it's an infection or a reaction to something. But if I were one of your clients, I'd instantly chug down some GML and guess what - you'd have some more positive evidence.


Finally, I repeat: I am not saying GML doesn't work. I'm saying you have no reliable evidence that it works. The evidence you do have is worthless. The world is full of things waiting to be discovered: perhaps GML is one of them. Why not conduct your own trial with your clients?

Posted by: Norman at October 16, 2006 1:44 AM

Ema, yes, off-label use has everything to do with intuition and their own experience. If an MD prescribes, for instance, an antidepressant to slow down premature ejaculation ( this came up on Loveline a lot), this is occurring without studies, especially double blind studies, proving that the drug will work this way. That's the definition of 'off-label use' - using a drug for purposes other than what it was tested for.
Norman, I think there will be trials soon, and not just by the Chinese, as anybody can put these ingredients together.
I understand that what evidence I have is not statistically significant in the sense that it'd be published in a peer-reviewed journal, but I'm not looking to make a living selling GML, or Airborne, so I'm OK with that.The response rate of my friends, family, and clients, and also when I was in school, is very significant to me, and the 'testers' were a dispirate enough group that I feel that I've exposed it to a broad range. And these people are coming back to ME, saying I need more of this and I'm giving it to my family and friends, I'm not acting the pusherman here. And to repeat what I wrote above, the ingredients are pharmacologically active, not a bunch of forest litter I swept up and put in a Ziploc.
So, I'm fine to leave the tests to someone else, though if Airborne is any indication, they'll end up a lot richer than me.
When I mentioned fooling myself that I didn't have a cold when I did, I meant after already manifesting the symptoms. I won't stand up proud, my nose running like a faucet, my eyes streaming, chills and body aches manifesting while I declare, "I do NOD hab a CODE!" Yes, prophrylaxis is hard to prove – you stop something from happening, how can you prove it was going to happen? In trials, they’ll have to have some way of exposing them to the same virus. For me, just having a cold once last year because I was too lazy to take this stuff was enough.
I should clarify what I previously said, GML does not 'cure the common cold.' It's a pretty weak formula, actually, only really useful if you're not sick yet. Different and stronger formulas are used to cure colds once you have them.

Posted by: Cat brother at October 16, 2006 6:02 AM

"I do NOD hab a CODE!" - I like it.


Actually I lied when I said I take nothing. If I'm feeling miserable - and that may be a symptom of an incipient cold - then I may knock back enough whisky or toddy to fell a horse. But not always. It may not cure anything but it makes being ill less unpleasant.

Posted by: Norman at October 16, 2006 7:27 AM

There is a homeopathic remedy, based on zinc, that was found effective in two double-blind tests performed (if I remember correctly) at universities. The remedy (and test info) is available in brand name and generic at Walmart, etc - near the Airborne. I forget the name. It appears that at least one homeopathy remedy may have been proven effective using western scientific methodology.

Although, that said, I have to agree with Norman - 2 naproxen sodium and a shot of tequila are my remedy of choice. Salud.

Posted by: Michelle at October 16, 2006 1:16 PM

There's a report at http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/medicine_health/report-15490.html entitled "New research supports efficacy of zincum gluconicum nasal gel". It's not a large study - 78 patients - and it's not been repeated, but it looks quite good. "The median duration of cold symptoms was significantly shorter in the zincum gluconicum group (4.3 days) compared to the placebo group (6 days)." The remedy is "Zicam® Cold Remedy", described as a patented, homeopathic remedy containing the active ingredient "zincum gluconicum".


But the report also says "Patients in the zincum gluconicum group used a total daily dose of about 2.1 mg of elemental zinc" so clearly this is not a homeopathically dilute remedy (unless the patients used a whole universe full of gel each).


Sorry, Michelle: homeopathy 0 points.

Posted by: Norman at October 16, 2006 3:03 PM

For any desirous of further reading about homeopathy and why it is utter quackery, here's this site, "The Bad Homeopath," which contains some very interesting material.

http://badhomoeopath.com/

Posted by: Melissa at October 17, 2006 4:42 PM

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