Target has recently taken to selling homeopathic remedies including a so called “asthma remedy” in the form of a homeopathy inhaler. The decision by Target to carry such dangerous and unproven “cures” has prompted outrage in the scientific community. A Change. Org petition has been started to demand Target pull the potentially life-threatening “remedy” from its shelves. Homeopathy has been labeled as being quackery and “quantum woo” by those in the medical and scientific communities.
Two physicians, Dr. David Gorski and Dr. Steven Novella, have published numerous articles about the asthma remedy on their blog, Science Based Pharmacy. The doctors state that there is no medicine present in the asthma inhaler, and that the sale of such an item could represent a grave danger to anyone with asthma who tries to use it to control their symptoms.
In a post entitled Looking for the Medicine in Target’s Asthma Remedy, the doctors state, “the best evidence demonstrates that homeopathy is exactly what we expect – an inert placebo with no therapeutic effects.” The doctors say the asthma remedy sold at Target is dangerous because it contains no medicine, is basically the same composition as plain water, and could cause life-threatening complications should someone suffer an asthma attack and attempt to use the inhaler for relief.
It’s not just the homeopathic asthma remedy the physicians are concerned about. Homeopathy in general, they say, is nothing but nonsense and quackery. In an earlier post on homeopathy, the doctors write:
If homeopathy actually worked as claimed, it would mean that all we know about biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology was wrong. Not a little wrong, but completely wrong. Which would then mean that all we know about science-based medicine is wrong.
They also state that homeopathy has already been soundly debunked and disproven, and that the medical and scientific community is finished debating the question of whether or not there is any value in homeopathic remedies because the answer is definitely no.
In fact, it does seem that the debate over such remedies has been settled. The last meta-analysis on these “quantum woo” medicines was performed eight years ago, and no new large scale studies on homeopathy have taken place since then. That meta-analysis showed that homeopathy has no more effect than placebos in curing or controlling illness.
Drs. Gorski and Novella call upon Target to cease the distribution of the asthma inhaler immediately and they state that both the store and the pharmacists who work there have an ethical responsibility to do so. They also say that Target is “taking advantage of consumers” by selling the product.
Over the years there have been many deaths attributed to homeopathy, including numerous people who have died from using homeopathic asthma medicines. A study published on the U.S. government’s health website entitled Death by Homeopathy: issues for civil, criminal and coronial law and for health service policy states that homeopathy should not be considered a legitimate practice: “the profession is not suitable for formal registration and regulation lest such a status lend to it a legitimacy that it does not warrant,” the study authors write.
A simple Google search on “homeopathy deaths” turns up hundreds of results including newspaper articles, studies and court cases both in the U.S. and abroad detailing incidences in which people lost their lives because of the use of homeopathic remedies.
The scientific and medical communities have called on Target to stop selling homeopathy, quantum woo and danger to its customers, but with the homeopathy industry bringing in 336 million dollars since 2009, it may be difficult if not impossible to get Target to comply.
An Editorial By: Rebecca Savastio