Yesterday saw the launch of the 10:23 Campaign website and the issuing of their first declaration to the skeptical horde that had already signed up to the cause. For those who don’t know the 10:23 Campaign is organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society as a way to raise awareness about the reality of homeopathy, namely that is it complete hokum, magic based, unscientific, absurd pseudoscience. The first target of the campaign: Boots Pharmacy.
Boots is one of the UK’s leading highstreet pharmacies and they have entire sections reserved for homeopathic treatments. Now if this was done simply out of ignorance they I guess it could be forgiven. However at a recently held meeting of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee on homeopathy (click here for more details on this) it was revealed that not only do Boots know that homeopathic treatments are completely ineffective, but they don’t seem to see this as a reason not to sell them as such. Speaking on behalf of Boots Paul Bennett had this to say:
Q1 Chairman: I wonder if I could start with you, Paul, this morning. You actually manufacture and sell homeopathic remedies. Do they work beyond the placebo effect, very briefly?
Mr Bennett: First, I need to correct you actually, I am afraid. We do not manufacture products.
Q2 Chairman: You sell them though?
Mr Bennett: We do sell them.
Q3 Chairman: So you sell them?
Mr Bennett: We do indeed sell them and there is certainly a consumer demand for those products.
Q4 Chairman: I did not ask you that question. I said do they work beyond the placebo effect?
Mr Bennett: I have no evidence before me to suggest that they are efficacious, and we look very much for the evidence to support that, and so I am unable to give you a yes or no answer to that question.
Q5 Chairman: You sell them but you do not believe they are efficacious?
Mr Bennett: It is about consumer choice for us. A large number of our consumers actually do believe they are efficacious, but they are licensed medicinal products and, therefore, we believe it is right to make them available.
The first action of the campaign is an open letter to Boots, and a petition that you can sign to show your support, challenging Boots on this issue. The Boots name lends unwarranted credibility to a product that, by their own admission, they know does not work and which can result in potentially dangerous delays in people seeking proper medical treatment for their conditions. The letter challenges Boots to remove all homeopathic treatments from their shelves.
If this is something you feel you can support then get over to their website and sign the petition. Also sign up to get updates on the campaign as they plan to issue more actions for us unwashed masses to carry out in the coming weeks. Alone our voices may not be heard, together they have to sit up and pay attention.