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Homeopathy with Ananda More: Rational Wellness Podcast 84

Ananda More discusses Homeopathy with Dr. Ben Weitz.

[If you enjoy this podcast, please give us a rating and review on Itunes, so more people will find The Rational Wellness Podcast]

 

Podcast Highlights

7:58  The majority of the scientific studies about homeopathy are either positive or inconclusive.  Only 5% are negative. There are over 1000 published studies and close to 200 randomized clinical trials.  On the other hand, quite a number of studies on drugs that were negative were never published and, in fact, the pharmaceutical industry had a history of doing a study over and over many times till they got three that were positive, that they would then pass on to the FDA for approval.  Ananda said that she has “heard many stories throughout my life with my friends and family who are doctors in research where they’ve been asked to change their results for specific studies, because the results didn’t quite line up with the expectations of the funders. I had a friend who was told that if she published her results, she wouldn’t be allowed to get her PhD, for example.” We also have to consider that these medical journals are being funded by advertising from big pharma.

12:47  Mainstream medical journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, rarely ever publish papers on homeopathy.  Ananda said that when the word homeopathy is in the abstract and the result is positive, the study isn’t even sent out for review. Also, there is very little funding for research on homeopathy.  Homeopathic medicines can’t be patented and they are easy to replicate.  So you don’t have the same possibility of profits that you do with other forms of medicine.

14:19  In the Magic Pills documentary there’s a section where there was an outbreak of leptospirosis in Cuba due to some severe hurricanes in 2007. They only had enough leptospirosis vaccine for 1% of the population and besides the vaccine requires two separate dosages to incur immunity. So they decided to do a homeopathic intervention, which they distributed to 2 and a half million people.  It completely stopped the epidemic and the levels of this disease dropped far below the historical averages for years afterward. But when these scientists (immunologists and epidemiologists) tried to publish their results, they were turned down by all the medical journals. They did eventually publish their results, but only in a homeopathic journal, Homeopathy. The paper is:  Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control. The lead author, Dr. Bracho, started receiving death threats after publishing this paper. 

18:05  How can Homeopathy be effective when the active ingredient is is so diluted?  Homeopathy is an energy medicine and not only do you need to dilute the active ingredient, but there is this process of producing the formula that includes hitting the glass vials that the formula is in very hard against a surface, known as succussion. This creates high temperatures in the bottles and it creates nano particles of the active ingredient within the vial. It also sloughs off nano particles from the glass and silica is a conductor. 

22:38  Ananda was at a conference and Dr. Bracho from Cuba came and told this story about the homeopathic intervention that was so effective and long lasting and she wanted to get this story out there to help change people’s attitude about homeopathy, which is why she decided to make Magic Pills.

24:04  The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council released a report in 2015 that has been very influential and has led to a shift in public policy and opinion against homeopathy in a number of countries around the world, including in Australia. In both Australia and the United Kingdom homeopathy was covered by the national health system and now it is not due to the influence of this report.  This report was supposed to be a review of the research on homeopathy, but in the end they cherry picked the data and only included five studies, four of which were negative and one of which was positive, and they concluded that there is no evidence that homeopathy is effective for any condition. But this review had serious methodology problems, including using an arbitrary criteria that excluded any study with less than 150 subjects. NHMRC’s own guidelines are that a good study is over 20 subjects. Their methodology was so poor that they were refused for peer review publication. When the Australian Homeopathic Association did a freedom of information request they found out that there had been a previous study done by a well respected scientist, but they refused to release that first report. The speculation is that first report concluded that homeopathy was effective for certain conditions, so there is a global movement to release the first report, where you can sign a petition. 

28:28  Homeopathy has a long history in the United States and in fact, the senator who brought the bill that created the FDA, Royal S. Copeland, was an MD who practiced homeopathy.  There are homeopathic hospitals, which still exist today, including Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, and there is a statue of Samuel Hahnemann and a memorial to homeopathy in Washington, DC, that was endorsed by President McKinley. But now the FDA has decided that they wanted to change the oversight on homeopathy and they have created a draft document that is creating some oversight over homeopathy but might be setting themselves up to make homeopathy illegal, since in order to go through a new drug application process, it requires a minimum of $300 million and homeopathy has thousands of medicines and which medicine is used is individualized for each person. The homeopathic industry isn’t big enough to be able to afford this process, so this could be setting the stage for removing homeopathy in the US.  And we know that in the US, the ability to lobby congress is what allows you to get favorable legislation, and homeopathy is a threat to the pharmaceutical industry, which spent $240 million to lobby congress in 2015 alone. 

35:16  The other problem with this draft document is that it is removing the FDA guidelines for manufacturing a homeopathic product, the CPG Sec. 400.400, which outlines proper manufacturing guidelines. By getting rid of these guidelines, it will be more difficult to assess if a homeopathic product is being properly manufactured.  Based on what has happened in other countries, this has created a worry that this document is part of a process that will limit or make homeopathy illegal in the US. 

36:24  There’s a group of mothers that depend upon homeopathy that have created this organization, Americans for Homeopathy Choice, to lobby for homeopathy and they have already delayed the passing of this draft document. You can go to Homeopathychoice.org and learn more, sign up, and write letters.  According to Ananda, “Even if you don’t believe in homeopathy, I think this is about protecting our rights to freedom of choice. It’s a basic human right to decide how you want to treat your body and how you want to medicate yourself. If you want to try other options first in a safe manner, I think that’s absolutely a human right.” 

39:48  Ananda has made this documentary about homeopathy, Magic Pills, which she if inviting people to screen with groups of people in their homes, coffee shops, churches, theaters, etc. which you can learn about by going to the website, magicpillsmovie.com or by going to the Magic Pills Movie Facebook page.

 



Ananda More is a Homeopath in Toronto, Canada at Riverdale Homeopathy, where she sees patients and teaches educational programs for homeopathy and she made an incredible documentary on homeopathy called Magic Pills that has not been released in the US yet but you can screen with groups of people in your home or in other public places.  She is dedicated to spreading the word about homeopathy. 

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111.



 

Podcast Transcripts

Dr. Weitz:                            This is Dr. Ben Weitz with the Rational Wellness Podcast, bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field. Please subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast on iTunes and YouTube, and sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.  Hello, Rational Wellness Podcasters. Thank you so much for joining me again today. For those of you who enjoy the Rational Wellness Podcast, please go to iTunes and give us a ratings and review, that way more people will find out about the Rational Wellness Podcast. Today, our topic is homeopathy, and we’ll be joined by homeopath Ananda More.

For those of you who are not familiar, what exactly is homeopathy? Well, according to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, skepticism, sarcasm there, homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann based on his doctrine of like cures like, a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in a healthy person would cure similar symptoms in a sick person.  

There are quite a number of studies that show the effectiveness of homeopathy, while quite a number of other studies show no benefit. Scientists and mainstream doctors tend to be skeptical, because some of the theories behind homeopathy don’t line up with the general accepted principals of chemistry and physics. For example, the concept that by diluting a homeopathic formulation more, it gets stronger. Goes against the principle that you need a minimum of the active ingredient to create an effect in the body, and having less than this amount will tend to be less effective or have no therapeutic effect.  This skepticism, combined with a report produced in 2015 in Australia by the National Health and Medical Research Council that declared that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective. Homeopathy, in other words, according to them, is no better than placebo. They stated that homeopathy should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious. People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness.

Yet over 5 million adults and over a million children in the US and many more million around the world use homeopathy on a yearly basis. Many get positive results with very few side effects. We have asked Ananda More, a homeopathic practitioner from Toronto, Canada, and a filmmaker to help sort out the truth about homeopathy. Ananda wrote, directed, and produced an incredible documentary on homeopathy called Magic Pills that includes some amazing footage on how homeopathy is saving lives in Africa, India, South America, and Cuba, among other countries. Homeopathy can be delivered at a fraction of the cost of traditional medicine and medical care, which some of these people don’t have access to in these developing countries because of their poverty levels.  Ananda, thank you so much for joining us today.

Ananda More:                   Hi, Ben. Thanks so much for inviting me on.

Dr. Weitz:                         That’s great.

Ananda More:                   Wow, you started with a challenge there.

Dr. Weitz:                         Ananda, can you tell us how you came to become a homeopath?

Ananda More:                   Sure. So I was very, very skeptical of homeopathy. I did this course in university on witchcraft and the occult.  One of the things we studied under witchcraft and the occult was homeopathy. Were were taught that the idea is that they’re giving you highly diluted substances-

Dr. Weitz:                         Is that a broom in the back? Oh no, I’m kidding.

Ananda More:                   Probably.  So we were taught that it’s a medicine that believes that there’s these highly diluted substances, and they dilute them and dilute them and dilute them until there’s nothing there. Then we’d give this to people to treat whatever is ailing them. We’ve decided that this is medicine. To me, it just sounded preposterous. The way it was taught as well with that perspective also made it sound preposterous. I was very skeptical.  I was willing to open my mind up to traditional Chinese medicine, herbology, even Reiki, like the idea of energy medicine appealed to me, but this, I just couldn’t wrap my head around.

Then I found myself in India very sick. I was in this place called Pune, and I was traveling with a friend of mine, who’s German, which is where homeopathy originates. Her mom was a homeopath, and she had her nice little first aid homeopathic kit with her. I was, to be graphic, throwing up and everything going out both ends. It was really bad.  She comes along and goes, “Hey, want to try one of my little sugar pills?” I was delirious. I was like, “Whatever. I’ll make you happy. I’ll take your little placebo pill.”  When 15 minutes I felt absolutely fine, I was kind of floored.  In a way, there was a control, because other people in the place where we were staying had the same illness and were sick for days.  Not very scientific, but I had a nice way to compare what had happened.  I was kind of surprised.

At that point, I decided to go see a homeopath in India. That homeopath gave me some remedies. I’d been dealing with and struggling with depression most of my life. I think it’s genetic. It runs in my family. The depression that I had been dealing with, but that’s how I knew the world, that’s how my filters worked, that’s how I perceived everything around me, suddenly changed and my perception of life changed. It wasn’t sudden. It was gradual over a couple of months, but it really changed my life. At this point, I was heading to law school. I was all gung ho about doing human rights work. I realized that I thought I could help a lot of people with homeopathy, if it really did work for others the way it worked for me.  That’s when I decided to go study homeopathy, and my aspirations of being a lawyer went down the drain. Sometimes when I see what I pay my lawyers, I’m a little disappointed in my choices, but not really. It’s been an incredible journey really.

Dr. Weitz:                         That’s great. Let’s talk about homeopathy. Is there a science that proves that homeopathy is effective?

Ananda More:                   The majority of the science either shows that it’s effective or the study couldn’t tell. In a very equivalent manner to what you see in conventional medicine, you get about 40, 45% of studies have positive results for homeopathy. You get around 40% that are inconclusive, and around 5% that are negative. If you really look at the scientific literature, you’re getting more of a positive overview rather than a negative one.  We have over 1,000 clinical trials. We have almost 200 randomized controlled clinical trials that have been published. In terms of basic science, there’s thousands of studies that have been done as well. By basic, I mean working in vitro with cell lines, with plants, sometimes with animals. Many of those studies have been replicated. Again, they often more often than not show a positive result for homeopathy.  There’s something there definitely. This idea that homeopathy is unscientific I don’t think is true. Science is a way of studying things. We can set up appropriate ways of studying the effects of homeopathic medicine. Now as more and more science, particularly in physics, and our technology improves and we have more ways of looking at water molecules, at what’s going on in these solutions, we have a better understanding that what may be the basis for how homeopathy works.

Dr. Weitz:                         I’d like to point out a lot of people don’t realize this, but quite a number of studies on drugs that end up with negative results end up never getting published, whereas they tend to only cherry pick the studies that are positive and publish those.

Ananda More:                   Right. So there was this history in the pharmaceutical industry of doing a study over and over again until they were able to get enough positive studies to pass onto the FDA. I think they need three studies for the FDA. So they could do 900 studies and only three of them are positive, cherry pick those three studies and use those to defend their case. There’s more controls put in place against that now, but I know it’s still happening. But technically what’s supposed to happen is the study is supposed to register before it’s done in a way to kind of control that aspect of things.

Dr. Weitz:                         Do you think that’s actually being done?

Ananda More:                   I think it’s improving. Is it being done 100% of the time? I doubt it. I’m not one of the keepers of that process, so I can’t speak to that, quite honestly, in a good way. But the honesty is too that a lot of studies, they’re manipulating the data set. They’re finding ways to get the results they want. We see a lot of research is being funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and they have ulterior motives. I’ve heard many stories throughout my life with my friends and family who are doctors in research where they’ve been asked to change their results for specific studies, because the results didn’t quite line up with the expectations of the funders. I had a friend who was told that if she published her results, she wouldn’t be allowed to get her PhD, for example.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow.

Ananda More:                   There’s a lot of research going on where people have created false studies and delivered them, submitted them to journals, only to have them accepted and published. This has been a matter of exposing the weaknesses of the peer review system. There’s also a lot of publishing bias, because who is it that’s actually funding these medical journals? It’s advertising dollars from the pharmaceutical industry. That really affects what we see as our evidence base. We’re talking so much about evidence based medicine, and yet how do we know we can trust that evidence base? We don’t. That’s very problematic.

Dr. Weitz:                         Yeah, that’s really important to point out. Have you found that mainstream medical journals, like the New England Journal of Medicine, you don’t see many papers on homeopathy in those journals.

Ananda More:                   I think there’s two issues going on there. One is that publishing bias that we discussed. A lot of the people I interviewed for my film, top scientists in their fields, said that as soon as the word homeopathy is in the abstract and the result is positive, the study isn’t even sent out for peer review. It’s rejected at the editorial stage. Another issue is that we don’t really have a ton of funding for homeopathic research, because there isn’t a lot of money in homeopathy. You can’t patent our medicines. They’re very easy to replicate. They’re very cheap to make. So you don’t have the same possibility of profits that you do with other forms of medicine.  Who funds most of the medical research? It’s the pharmaceutical and the medical industry. They’re not going to be funding homeopathic research. We depend on very few grants. A friend of mine, Dr. Alex Tournier, who’s a physicist in Heidelberg, he’s been struggling to raise enough money to maintain his lab, which is dedicated to homeopathic research. You’ve got both of those things, a profound publishing bias, along with a lack of funding for research.

Dr. Weitz:                         In your Magic Pills documentary, there’s a section where some doctors submitted a paper about their experience in Cuba after the hurricanes where they didn’t have enough money for medication or vaccines for leptospirosis, which commonly occurs after flooding and other types of water damage. Homeopathy was incredibly effective at reducing the rates of leptospirosis, but they were turned down for publication.

Ananda More:                   Yeah. So I just want to, just to get a few listeners up to date, what they did was there’s this disease, leptospirosis, which in North America is relatively unknown, but in tropical countries, it’s a pretty significant problem. It’s hard to diagnose, because it looks a lot like dengue and has some very generalized symptoms that are hard to specifically assign to a disease. It’s fatal up to 10% of the time, and it’s spread through water.  In Cuba in 2007, they had severe hurricanes that left the eastern coast of Cuba quite decimated. Homes were destroyed. There was no clean water, and flooding was everywhere. The Finlay Institute, which is a pharmaceutical company in Cuba that actually makes vaccines and is the only company on the planet that makes vaccines for leptospirosis, the issue wasn’t that they didn’t have the money. The issue was that they didn’t have enough vaccine on hand to take to those areas. They only had enough vaccine for 1% of the population.

The other issue is that that vaccine takes two doses and months to incur immunity. It’s not an instant fix. It takes a long time. In order to get it out there, it’s an injection. You’re dealing with cold chain, you need to be able to get to that area and maintain the vaccines cold. There’s a lot of issues with trying to get something like that to people in a fast manner.

They decided to attempt a homeopathic intervention instead, which they got out to 2 and a half million people. In the course of two weeks, they completely stopped the epidemic. Not only that, but the levels of the disease were far below their historical averages for years afterwards. Yeah, when these guys, who are immunologists, epidemiologists, they were scientists, they were not homeopaths, they have never had issues getting their work published, they got their work published all the time, and they even have their own vaccine journal that they’re the editors of. Suddenly they send it out for publication, and they were shocked, because in Cuba, they’re more isolated, they didn’t realize that there was this bias against homeopathy, and everyone refused to publish these results. They would get excuses like, “Well, we need a signature from all two and a half million people involved.” That sort of thing they’d never been asked for before. It was ridiculous.  So it was quite evident to them the level of bias that existed. They did eventually publish their results in a homeopathic journal called Homeopathy. When they did, Dr. Bracho told me he stopped reading his email because of the death threats that he was receiving.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow.

Ananda More:                   He didn’t leave the country for over two years of fear of being attacked.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow. Can you explain to the skeptics out there how can it be that by diluting the active ingredient that … Well, to begin with, everything we’ve learned about other forms of medicine is you need to find the right amount of the active ingredient and give that in an effective dosage. In some cases, if it’s not effective, then you give it more frequently or you give an additional dosage. That’s how we use herbs. That’s how medications are typically used. How can it be in homeopathy that by first of all diluting it so much that you’re going to have any effect at all, and then how can it be that by diluting it more, it makes it stronger?

Ananda More:                   Well, so I don’t want to say that diluting it more actually makes it stronger. We think homeopathy is an energy medicine. By diluting it more, you’re changing its signal. For one person, a higher dilution may be more effective. For another person, a lower dilution may be more effective. But in terms of this idea of dilution, what’s important isn’t just the dilution, but rather this process that we call succussion, which is we have machines or we do it by hand, and we hit these glass vials very hard against a surface. This actually causes very high temperatures to happen in those bottles for microscopic moments in time.  We believe what’s happening is it creates nano particles as it breaks down the material within the vial. It also sloughs off nano particles from the glass as well, and silica is a conductor. There’s a lot of things that are happening that isn’t just diluting a substance until it disappears.

We don’t have exact clear answers at this point, but we have several theories. We have discovered that there are nano particles of source material and very highly diluted remedies. This has been seen over and over. They’ve done this with metals like gold. They’ve done this with organic substances now too. What they do is they put the remedy under an electron microscope and look for the nano particles and see if there’s any trace. Then they have special ways using spectrography to understand what that source material is that they’re looking at.  This has been replicated dozens of times. We know for a fact now that there are nano particles in these solutions of the source material. How that relates to the mechanism, we’re not sure. How are those nano particles maintained in that solution? We don’t know, but they are there. They’re observable.

There’s ideas around now nano clusters, so actual formation of the water molecules and various … I have a cat that’s trying to get on my keyboard. He likes the keyboard. We can see these nano structures of the actual water molecules where they take on specific structures. Those have been observed. We can measure a difference in electromagnetic resonances or fields from remedies that have been actual just water to homeopathically prepared water. We have, what was it? Polar dyes. Studies have been done using polar dyes where they bring the remedies to very low temperatures. As they rise, these dyes change color and respond to usually material in the water. But what they’re doing is they’re actually responding as they should in the homeopathic remedies, if that substance was in the water, where they don’t with the plain water.  We can actually measure and see differences within those preparations. There’s still a lot to understand where it’s just at the infancy of the science, but it’s not because it’s unscientific. It’s because the technology’s just catching up that’s allowing us to look at these models. The funding is lacking.

Dr. Weitz:                            How did you come to make this documentary, Magic Pills?

Ananda More:                   So the story about Cuba that I just told, I was sitting at a conference, and Dr. Bracho from Cuba came and presented their results. I thought to myself, “Everybody needs to know about this. If this was a vaccine that had no adverse reactions, that could be prepared within minutes, or not minutes, but could be prepared within a manner of days, enough doses to reach two and a half million people, you don’t need cold chain, and it’s that effective and long lasting? Wouldn’t everybody know about it? Wouldn’t this be headline news?” But nobody heard about it.  I was racking my brain as to what do we, as a homeopathic community or scientific community need to do to get that data out there to let people know what’s going on, because in my view, this was all being suppressed. That’s where the idea of a film was born. I’d seen movies have incredible results in terms of changing how we respond to things like black fish and our responses to Sea World and how we raise animals, or rather marine mammals and how we keep them. Things like that. I was hoping that we could have a larger influence through a film and reach more people.

Dr. Weitz:                            Cool. Can you talk about the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council report that found that their conclusion was that there’s no good scientific evidence that homeopathy is effective?

Ananda More:                   Yeah. So this has been a very, very influential study. They’ve really shifted policy in Australia, according to what the study has said. They’ve done the same in the United Kingdom where homeopathy has been part of the culture there for a long time. The royal family, themselves mostly use only homeopathy, and they have these incredible homeopathic hospitals across the country. Homeopathy was covered by the national health system there and it was part of your public healthcare plan. Suddenly with the use of the study and some other commissioned reports, they decided that, “Oh, there’s no evidence that homeopathy works, so therefore we shouldn’t fund it anymore.” But the study is very problematic. From the point in time where they reached out to other scientists to say, “Can you look at our methodology and give us some feedback?” They got a lot of feedback, because their methodology was very poor, but they didn’t respond to those criticisms, and they didn’t change how they were doing the study.

When the report came out, it’s supposed to be a review of all of the literature out there, but their final data is based on five and only five studies, because they created a, in a way, very arbitrary data set that they decided was what qualified a good study versus a bad study. Part of that data set was a study that was over 150 people. That may sound reasonable, but if you look at the NHMRC’s guidelines, what they think is a good study is over 20 people. When they really cherry pick the data down to five studies, four of which were negative, one of which is one of our best studies showing that homeopathy works, which is a study on diarrhea in children, and they, based on these five studies, they didn’t even address the one study that was positive and didn’t look at it. They just said there is no evidence for any disease to say that homeopathy works. Also, yeah, just the rabbit hole just keeps going and going and going around why didn’t they look at these studies? Why didn’t they look at those studies?

When the Australian Homeopathic Association reached out and tried to get … Well, they did a freedom of information request to learn more about the study, they learned that there had been a previous study that had been done. That previous study had been done by a very well respected scientist. They’d seen the feedback on that study, which said that the methodology was of very high quality, and yet that study was buried. The lead scientist on that study was fired, and they decided to make a whole new study. They’re refusing to release that first report.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow.

Ananda More:                   On top of that, this current report was rejected for peer review because its methodology was so poor.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow.

Ananda More:                   So now we’re using this to uphold that homeopathy doesn’t work, and yet it couldn’t even get published, an anti-homeopathy study that couldn’t get published. I think that’s very meaningful. Now there’s a campaign, and it’s a global campaign, so I invite everyone who’s listening to this to go and sign this petition to release that first report. That could be a game-changer. People can go to releasethefirstreport.com. There’s tons of information, a real in-depth analysis of what is wrong with this study. Other people won’t say it, but I’m willing to say that I think the study is quite fraudulent and had something to prove that they couldn’t prove the first time. Yeah, I invite everyone to go there, learn more, sign, share. I think it’s really important.

Dr. Weitz:                         So how about in the United States? I understand the FDA has taken note of this report and issued some sort of a warning or something.

Ananda More:                   So homeopathy has been, in a sense, accepted by the FDA since its inception. Homeopathy was grandfathered in. The senator who brought in the bill to create the FDA was actually a homeopath himself.

Dr. Weitz:                         Really?

Ananda More:                   Yeah. So there’s a long-

Dr. Weitz:                         What was his name?

Ananda More:                   Pardon?

Dr. Weitz:                         What was the name of the senator?

Ananda More:                   I can’t remember his name. I’ll have to look it up.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow. Interesting.

Ananda More:                   Quick Google search. But homeopathy has a long history in the US. We’ve had homeopathic hospitals, which still exist today. They’re just not homeopathic anymore, like the Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. There is a memorial to homeopathy that was built by a president in Washington, DC.

Dr. Weitz:                         Really?

Ananda More:                   Yeah.

Dr. Weitz:                         Which president built it?

Ananda More:                   Again, I can’t remember his name. I’m not very helpful there, am I?

Dr. Weitz:                         You Canadians, you don’t know anything about American history.

Ananda More:                   It wasn’t a major president whose name was burning in my ears.

Dr. Weitz:                         That’s okay.

Ananda More:                   Resonate. But now the FDA has decided out of nowhere that they wanted to change how homeopathy is the oversight, how it’s overseen. They created this draft document which basically in a sense states that homeopathy is legal. It stated that we brought homeopathy in, but these remedies haven’t gone through the new drug application process. Therefore, we’re going to pursue this on a risk basis, on a high risk basis.  To the industry, they were saying, “Don’t worry. We’re only going to address remedies that are going to people that are immunocompromised and babies and things like this where there may be a risk to them using these remedies.” But in all honesty, what’s the risk if there’s no active ingredient in it? It’s not going to hurt anyone. It’s non-toxic, and in many situations, it’s the only medicines available to pregnant women and compromised individuals, people like that.

The other issue is that they’re basically setting themselves up to make homeopathy illegal with this document. In order to go through a new drug application process, it’s at minimum around $300 million. We have thousands of medicines. There’s a level of individualization to homeopathy, so you could have one remedy that could be good for 50 different ailments in 50 different individuals in different ways, and the kind of research that the FDA requires is very pathologically centered and per drug rather than homeopathy as a whole, which does not allow for individualization and using homeopathy as it’s actually used in practice.  Being able to pass those requirements are very doubtful, and our industry isn’t big enough to be able to afford that kind of money to pass every medicine for every possible indication. It really complicates things, and it’s basically setting the stage for the removal of homeopathy in the United States.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. No, I can totally understand that. On the one hand, I saw a recent report where the FDA stopped the use of a particular brand of homeopathy, because they found bacteria or something in some of their products, and that sounded totally reasonable and sounded like what they were talking about. On the other hand, we have to understand in the United States especially, and I don’t know how many other countries follow this, but our government is increasingly controlled by big corporations and even the heads of the FDA and these other agencies are often lobbyists or people who work for these big corporations because of the way that the government is set up with the lobbying and everything.  For example in California, where I practice as a chiropractor, all the individual healthcare plans include no chiropractic coverage. How can that be in a liberal state like California where people use chiropractic and other alternative medicine quite readily?  It came down to lobbying, and the chiropractic profession didn’t do a good job of lobbying to make sure that chiropractic, which is relatively inexpensive, was going to be included in the new healthcare plans.  They wanted to cut something, and that was a low-hanging fruit they could cut.  It was based on lobbying. That’s I think one of the risks for homeopathy in the future is that everything seems to be based on influences based on the amount of funding.

Ananda More:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, and like what you’re talking about, there’s been a few situations recently where they have found bacteria in remedies. There is a story of Highland’s Teething Tablets, which garnered a lot of news because of their belladonna content, or deadly nightshade. Again, there was a freedom of information request done on that data, and it was so arbitrary. These supposed cases of death attributed to this remedy had nothing that was very hard to attribute the death to the remedy. You’d see cases like a child born without kidneys or who then had a dose of this remedy and died three months later. They were just completely … It just looked like falsified data. A lot of the data had been doubled as well. So they had to do a lot of filtering, and they claimed it was hundreds of thousands of complaints when you really looked at it, half of them you didn’t know what the complaint was about. Half of them were replicated from other things. Half of them had nothing to do … I keep saying half, but it dwindled down to almost nothing, in terms of complaints.  If you really took those teething tablets, in order to intake enough to have the minimum level for toxicity, you’re looking at taking hundreds of boxes or consuming hundreds of boxes of this medication. It really feels like there’s a witch hunt out there.

The other problem around that with this document is that if it passes, they’re actually removing the manufacturing guidelines for these remedies. There’s a document called the CPG 400.400. Within that document, it outlines proper manufacturing practices. The FDA has every right to go after these manufacturers who aren’t maintaining the purity of their remedies. What they’re doing is they’re getting rid of that. Suddenly you can’t even go after them with proper manufacturing, and we can’t even assess whether they’re selling a product that they say is what it is, because there’s no manufacturing guidelines.

Dr. Weitz:                         Wow, so you can’t go after the big pharma companies are having this stuff made in China that has all kinds of proven toxins.

Ananda More:                   But that’s very specific to homeopathy. That’s what they’re removing, the guidelines for manufacturing a homeopathy, which makes no sense.

Dr. Weitz:                         Right.

Ananda More:                   There is this fantastic group of mothers that formed in the United States headed by this very vibrant woman named Paula Brown. These were all moms who depend on homeopathy on a daily basis. It really amazed me, because we have public healthcare here. I can go to the hospital, and it doesn’t cost me anything out of pocket. But a lot of these-

Dr. Weitz:                         What a concept? You socialists.

Ananda More:                   Yeah, I highly recommend it. But these women were either didn’t have access to healthcare, couldn’t afford these hospital visits.

Dr. Weitz:                         We’ve got the greatest system in the world where a simple emergency room visit for a flu can cost you $3,000.

Ananda More:                   Yeah. I can’t wrap my head around that in any way, shape, or form, because I’ve never experienced that. But you see these women who were dependent on drugs and suddenly lost their plans and couldn’t get their thousands of dollars worth of medications anymore. They couldn’t afford to take their kid to the hospital. They saw miracles happen with homeopathy, so they really stand behind it. You hear these stories. They’re just astounding. They were so terrified of losing access to homeopathy that they formed this organization called Americans for Homeopathy Choice.  These women have been a powerhouse in the US, in terms of lobbying for homeopathy. This document that the FDA, this draft would have passed already if it wasn’t for them. They’ve put in place a petition and were asking for people to write letters to the FDA to support this petition. It’s not the kind of petition that everyone signs. It’s a petition specifically for them that’s clogged up the passing of this document. People can go to homeopathychoice.org and learn more, sign up, and write their letters. There’s all the instructions there as to what needs to be done.

Even if you don’t believe in homeopathy, I think this is about protecting our rights to freedom of choice. It’s a basic human right to decide how you want to treat your body and how you want to medicate yourself. If you want to try other options first in a safe manner, I think that’s absolutely a human right.

Dr. Weitz:                            I totally agree with you on that. There’s many cases now in the United States where those options are being taken away, where vaccines are being made mandatory to send your kids to school, and there’s a lot more things, a lot more cases where those individual choices for choosing your own healthcare, making your own healthcare decisions are being taken away.

Ananda More:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Weitz:                            Well, this has been a very interesting interview, Ananda. Thank you so much for joining us.

Ananda More:                   Thanks so much for letting me talk and spread the word. I appreciate it.

Dr. Weitz:                            So how can listeners get a hold of you, if they want to talk with you or if they want to get more information about homeopathy? I’ll put links in the show notes, of course?

Ananda More:                   Brilliant. Well, we have made this … I think it’s a fantastic documentary called Magic Pills. We’re inviting people to screen it all over the US. We have a goal of 1,000 screenings. It’s actually been screening all over the world. It’s been in a bunch of film festivals. But what we want to do is bring it into people’s homes. There’s this model of you can screen the film in your own living room, invite your friends and family to come watch it. Or you can screen it in the church, a theater, all kinds of different places are being used. Coffee shops, museums. But we want to make it really accessible, and we want people to come together so there could be a really great discussion afterwards and a building of community around the issues presented.  We invite you to go to the website, magicpillsmovie.com. There’s lots of information there on how to make that happen. Through the contact us link there page, you’ll definitely reach out and you’ll hit me. Could also check us out on Facebook, which is Magic Pills Movie. We’re pretty active there as well. Those are the two excellent ways to reach us.

 

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