The manifesto against “alternative treatments”


“Let me be clear: pseudosciences kill.”

For 2,750 healthcare professionals from 44 countries around the world (90% of whom are healthcare professionals and scientists from various disciplines) this is the message that unites them.

They called it the “First manifesto against healthy pseudoscience” which is signed around the world and which raises the need for stricter regulations against products that have not proven theirs effectiveness therapy with scientific rigor.

“They sell sugar to the sick and make them believe that it can cure them or improve their health. This has caused deaths and will continue to do so,” says the manifesto directed particularly towards the European Union regulations on alternative therapeutic products to medicine.

A problem that, according to its signatories, is replicated all over the world.

“All regions are vulnerable, all countries and allS. people”The Chilean epidemiologist María Paz Bertoglia tells BBC Mundo.

“A lot of times there are very lax regulations between countries because special authorizations are allowed for some products that show they are not toxic, but they don’t prove they are effective,” he adds.

A map of America

The document was signed by 59 specialists from 11 Latin American countries.

They indicate the file homeopathy for being the “best known pseudo therapy”, but they warn that there are other practices in “other medicine” that are gaining popularity.

“There is a lot of ignorance about homeopathy”Responds the director of the civil association Homeopathy of Mexico, Rosario Sánchez Caballero, who says that behind these types of posters there are usually “large commercial interests of pharmacological laboratories”.

What does the manifesto say?

Signed mostly by European and 59 Latin American professionals, the manifesto features a dozen cases of people who They turned to alternative treatments and died.

“Jacqueline Alderslade, 55, was told by her homeopath to stop taking her asthma medications. She died in Ireland,” the document reads.

He points out that there are more than in Europe alone 150 pseudo-therapies used by millions of people.

“Only in a world where we consider it ethical to lie to a sick person to get their money, could we allow homeopathy – or any other pseudo-therapy – to continue to be sold to citizens,” he says.

A homeopathic products shop

The manifesto asks to cancel the authorizations that allow the sale of products without scientific support.

In addition to considering them a hoax, he warns that going to cures not only scientifically proven delays adequate patient care: “many times, when they get to medicine, it is already too late”.

“Pseudotherapies that originate in one continent pass very easily into another. They know no boundaries“Biologist Fernando Cervera, the coordinator of the manifesto, tells BBC Mundo.

“If anyone wants to think that this (alternative) medicine was effective in the past, they must realize that 100 years ago life expectancy did not exceed 30 or 40 years, and today it is 70 to 80 years. So, access to modern scientific medicine it is what makes the difference in doubling life expectancy, “he warns.

Against “miracle products”

For the signatories of the manifesto, part of the responsibility for the control of health-related products lies with government regulators that allow their sale to an equivalent level of drugs that meet the tests.

A laboratory test

Bertoglia demands that products from other health-related disciplines comply with the tests required for medicines.

“Many times we see products that are useful for everything, for hundreds of diseases, but never tried. The regulations must be clearer, which must be homologated to what is required of a drug, which must pass through much stricter regulations than pseudotherapies, which only have to prove that they are not toxic “, says Bertoglia.

Cervera stresses that in the case of Europe, the laws allow homeopathic products to be sold as therapeutic products, “despite the fact that no homeopathic product has proven effective”, and the same happens with the offer of biomagnetism, the doses of MMS (acronym miraculous mineral solution ) and other products.

“They use the name science – that’s why it’s called pseudoscience – to sell a product to the public to make them believe it’s a scientifically proven product, which has passed all the tests a drug has, when it’s not true,” he warns.

But Sánchez Caballero says that to indicate homeopathy in this way is to speak out of “ignorance”, since he points out that those who have a homeopathic certification are recognized by the same governments of each country.

Homeopathic pills

Homeopathic products have been used since the 19th century.

“It is an official profession in Mexico and other countries. If the government gives them official status, it is because homeopathy has proven itself as a serious and scientific medicine. Doctors reject it without knowing or documenting it, “he says.

“When a homeopathic medicine is effective it is because we test it, on healthy people – with a control group and a control group – and we get results. We test it again and we get the same results. This is one of the conditions of the scientific method: the hypothesis is confirmed “.

The right to choose

The poster acknowledges that patients have the right to choose the type of treatment they wish to receive, both in conventional medicine and outside it.

However, it rejects the fact that there are unfounded promises and the lack of ethics of those who promote therapies that are not scientifically proven.

“We are not judging patients, many times they are desperate, because they have a child with a very serious disease. The judgment we are making It is against those who sell these products that they must be regulated“says Bertoglia, who asks people to always ask health workers and not just to blindly trust a promise.

A protest in defense of homeopathy

The defense of homeopathy has in the past generated great demonstrations in Europe.

From homeopathy, however, Sánchez Caballero ensures that those who are certified in the matter because he recognizes that abound homeopaths without studies– patients are informed when it is not possible to cure: “We tell them we will try, but they may not be cured. Or maybe yes. This is tested individually.”

“The patient has to look at who he goes to, that the doctor (homeopath) has a title and a certification that supports him,” he adds.

Bertoglia also acknowledges that conventional medicine has lost trust among the population.

“We too must do a great reflection in terms of why people are turning to using these products. We are often so disconnected from the needs of the population. There you have to build more bridges, “he says.

“Many times in the population that uses these treatments or pseudotherapies what they need is someone who listens to them, someone who understands them, a closer relationship. And this is what we need to reflect on,” he adds.


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