Tag Archives: evidence

Interview with Edzard Ernst on osteopathy

I had the immense honor to interview Dr Edzard Ernst, “world’s foremost expert on complementary and alternative therapies (CAM)“, for an episode of my TV show on the topic of osteopathy.

Here’s the full interview :

(the intro is in French, but the interview itself is in English)

And for those who might be interested, here’s the trailer for the episode (in French only):

The endless cycle of bad excuses for selling homeopathic products in pharmacies

An investigation by the McGill Office for Science and Society reveals that 2/3 of pharmacies in Montreal sell oscillococcinum, a homeopathic product more diluted than the equivalent of an atom in an entire Universe filled with water:


https://mcgill.ca/oss/article/health-quackery/two-thirds-montreal-pharmacies-sell-quack-flu-buster

Are you surprised?

I’m not.

Back in Sept. 2012, when I started Le Pharmachien (the original French version of The Pharmafist), my first post ever was a sarcastic video about homeopathy, and about how absurd it is that we sell these products.

Since then, not much has changed. We still use the same fake arguments to justify ourselves.

“IT’S POPULAR, CLIENTS ASK FOR IT, AND THEY’RE SATISFIED!”

What difference does it make if it’s popular or not? Healthcare and science are not popularity contests.

If people want to buy homeopathy, fine. But our role as pharmacists is to provide advice and care based on scientific evidence. When homeopathic products are sold in pharmacies, it gives the false impression that we endorse them.

Interestingly, most pharmacists don’t trust homeopathic products at all… but are stuck with them on the shelves. It’s a problem.

AT LEAST THERE’S NO RISK!”

Not true. If people neglect to seek medical care because they trust homeopathy, it’s extremely hazardous.

There are tons of examples, but here’s one from Canada :

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/tamara-lovett-holistic-medicine-trial-1.3869951

“IT’S A GOOD PLACEBO!”

ALL healthcare interventions generate a placebo effect: medications, surgeries, exams, talking to patients… These interventions are supported by scientific evidence, and have a placebo effect as a BONUS.

Meanwhile, homeopathic products are 100% placebo, but pretend otherwise on their labeling and are sold at ridiculously high price tags. How is that acceptable?

Also, by opposition to what most people think, from a pharmacy owner’s perspective, it’s not “money-related”; margins are low and associated profits are negligible (in my experience, 80-90% of profits in a typical pharmacy come from prescription drugs). Who’s making money, then? Manufacturers.

At the end of the day, those who could really make a difference blame each other and make bad excuses in an endless cycle. This graph summarizes the situation:

Will someone ever take responsibility for the problem?

Let’s be clear: Health Canada will not stop approving these products. Some countries have set limits, but none has officially banned them. So we have to stop waiting for them to make a move.

In my opinion, the simplest solution is that a pharmacy chain takes a stand and announces that it will no longer sell homeopathic products. With a bit of luck, others will eventually follow.

So, who will be first?

P.S. Oh by the way, I’d like to salute the Quebec Order of Pharmacists, who stated, in response to the McGill investigation, that a pharmacist who recommends homeopathy by claiming that it is effective would “place oneself in a situation of disciplinary misconduct”. BOOM!

How to make your milk NONTOXIC

milk_header_02

You’re probably aware that milk is a disgusting, toxic, white poison filled with blood and pus, threatening mankind every day.  I read that online.

If you drink milk, you will have cancer, osteoporosis, divorce and your credit card debts will increase significantly. You’ll also die one day because of dairy.

Chances are that you’re lactose intolerant too, because everyone is. So if you give milk to your kids, you’re basically a criminal.

But fortunately, I’ve found a way to make milk slightly better for you. Here’s how.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

How to make your milk nontoxic

Milk is white poison according to the Internet

I share my findings about milk on Facebook

Lactose intolerance mammals and the milk industry

You are lactose intolerant and also an idiot

Adding lemon juice to milk makes it less poisonous

Curdled milk with lemon kicks ass

The ultimate testimony about sour milk

 

A note from the author (me):

You think that the arguments brought forward in this comic are too good to be true, overly simplified and unproven? Well done! You should do the same with most of what you read on the Internet.

I created this comic in order to provide something more entertaining than all the propaganda articles found on the web about milk. Really, I believe it’s better to read the above-written crap than anything found elsewhere, because at least my crap doesn’t take itself seriously.

A few things to consider about milk:

  • Milk is not unhealthy. But you don’t “need” to drink milk to be healthy. Dairy is an excellent source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, but if you can find those nutrients elsewhere, go for it.
  • Milk does not have positive, negative or otherworldly properties. It’s a food… and you shouldn’t choose foods according to whether they allegedly have special benefits (because they don’t).
  • Milk does not make your bones weaker. What studies actually say is that milk is not enough to prevent fractures, which comes to no surprise.
  • No, there is no pus, blood or bacteria in milk… if it’s pasteurized. As for antibiotics, the industry is (fortunately) under a lot of public pressure to stop using them routinely in livestock.
  • 9 to 23% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant, compared to 60 to 100% of African-Americans and Asians, so we’re very far from the “epidemic” that some people speak about; it has more to do with genetics. Also, lactose intolerant people can still consume dairy moderately.
  • Some large-scale, well-built studies suggest that people who drink a lot of milk have a higher mortality rate and a higher risk of developing some types of cancer, but these studies cannot conclude that milk is the cause. People who drink more drink may have other risk factors, such as having more sugar or fat in their diet. People who consume a moderate amount of dairy don’t seem affected by this.

In the end, my impression is that the anti-milk panic exploding online right now comes from activists trying to stop the exploitation of livestock. I am 100% with them regarding the need for ethical treatment of animals, but if this requires demonizing milk, telling outright lies and making me feel guilty to drink it… no thanks.

 

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5 badly informed opinions about vaccines

Initially, I wanted to create a comic about the influenza (flu) vaccine.

My goal was to convince you that this vaccine is effective, safe and essential to modern society. Because that’s what I think.

But by doing this, I would have skipped steps … because before trusting the flu vaccine, you must first trust vaccines.

You’ve probably heard of semi-famous people’s efforts to stop vaccination in USA:

But they’re not the only ones. All over the world, tons of people are opposed to vaccines. Many of them are intelligent, highly educated people who seem to know the topic extremely well. Some of them are even healthcare professionals, including physicians.

So, who should you believe? I can easily understand why you’re confused when you hear stuff like:

  • “Vaccines cause autism!”
  • “Vaccines are released on the market before we know they’re safe!”
  • “The diseases we vaccinate against are long gone!”

There’s much to do to put the record straight.

So the flu vaccine will have to wait for another comic. In the meantime, let’s start from the beginning.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

5 badly informed opinions about vaccines

Live attenuated and inactivated vaccine

Subunit and conjugate vaccine

The great paradox of vaccination

Poliomyelitis , measles , meningitis and preventable diseases

Vaccines are not 100% safe , but nothing is

Making vaccines isn't even good business for big pharma

There is no single scientific evidence that vaccines systematically cause autism

The Wakefield study , thimerosal and aluminum adjuvants

Homeopathic vaccines , gluten-free diet ... nothing can replace a vaccine

Open letter to people and parents worried about vaccines

Open letter to the anti-vaccine lobby

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