Saturday, 16 January 2010

A local life reply to my request

Below is the response to the email I sent to 'a local life' asking if I may be allowed to write a piece that countered the promotion of homeopathy as being able to treat seasonal flu better than the flu vaccination.


I am sorry that you were not happy with the article in issue 2, however I would like to explain that as a free magazine that we build relationships with local businesses and advertorial is paid for as you can see the article is accompanied by an advert. In the article it does not state that this is a cure - I would be happy for a doctor to write an article, however people are intelligent and able to draw their own conclusions. I personally have no firm view from wither side other than whatever works for the individual is positive, it's great that you take the time to comment but the article is not one that requires a counter comment , my aim for the magazine is to promote local business, community events and causes that affect the local area.

I feel that there are many other worthy causes that I would rather give space to, the main contents deadline is the 5th of the month so on this occasion we are unable to do anything for the February issue. In the future if you wish to contribute on other issues I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about future contributions.

Very best wishes


From Andrew Ward

She is welcome to contact me to discuss the evidence. I have re-read the piece and as far as I can see I have made no claims to cure anything. The idea , and the headline, was to inform people of the ability of homeopathy to enhance and protect our immune systems. This was reiterated in the text. No mention of curing anything.
As for allopathic medicine I make no apology for stating the obvious that they have no answer to the flu and never have. Otherwise it would no longer exist! In fact it is becoming more virulent by the decade vis. H1N1, Bird 'flu etc.

I said use homeopathy to protect and combat seasonal 'flu. NOT cure it and nowhere have I said that we should "ditch" conventional medicine. I just stated that it was not the most effective treatment.

Sometimes you just can't make people understand. So I sent this reply to them. I didn't beat around the bush.


Thank you for your reply.
I do not wish to be blunt but after several emails to and from Andrew I do believe that the point is being missed here.
Homeopathy is nothing but water and the idea that the water holds memory of ingredients it has come into contact with is an unsubstantial claim. I know the science behind homeopathy, I know the claims and I don't agree with them.

The problem I have with the article in your magazine is that you freely published the idea that the influenza vaccine does not work. This is just a theory and there are numerous studies that suggest otherwise - studies whose data adds up and makes sense. The NHS would not provide the public with a vaccine that did not work, it really is as simple as that.

For you to publish in your magazine that the flu vaccine does not work is irresponsible of you. It doesn't matter whether you are a free magazine who builds up a relationship with local businesses etc. - you still have a care of duty over what you publish because what you publish as fact is being presented to the general public - some of whom may not have the knowledge to counter your claims. It's dangerous and I'm disappointed, as a resident of Bradford-On-Avon that such uncritical publishing is allowed to be send out to the residents of this town.

Therefor I have made a complaint to the Advertising standards agency as I feel you have breeched the care of duty you hold to the people who read your publication.

It has been suggested by Andrew that I am a child who does not know what she is on about who will learn the hard way. What an horrible ageist opinion to hold. I know the facts about homeopathy, I know the facts about vaccination success.

I do my research before I publish articles or make accusations. Such a shame that it isn't common practice.

Yours Sincerely

Hayley Stevens.


  1. I still think the advertising standards have been breached by claiming that the Flu vaccine has proven to be ineffective?

    Maybe the good "Doctor" will be forced to actually prove what he says is true, rather than just repeating himself until people believe him?

  2. Wow. Somebody who understands where I am coming from! Thanks Matt! I thought I was going loopy.

  3. You're right but at the same time all of the 'local life' type publications tend to owe their existence to advertising from businesses. They're not going to do anything that rocks the boat on that one and they've no interest at all in whether anything works or not. They're just a moneymaking exercise. I think that extends to national publications as well - how many paranormal magazines feature only token skepticism (for obvious reasons!) and I recall a consumer ethics for animal rights magazine refusing to sever ties with a shop that sold foie gras. £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££

  4. That guy's distinction over "combat" versus "cure" with regard to seasonal flu was a big headdesk moment for me. Like people aren't going to read that something "combats seasonal flu" and think that it'll help them be safe. It's a legal ass-covering move, not something that actually helps people understand what they're buying. Argh.

  5. It's amazing the stance they have taken, it is obviously to protect a paying advertiser.

    Lets look at some of what the original article said. Obviously cutting and pasting quotes can take them out of context, so please feel free to check the original that Hayley has uploaded.

    "Conventional medicine has no answer to these outbreaks. Even the well known vaccines have now been shown to be of no real use."

    "Homeopathy has always provided the best solution to the prevention and treatment of this debilitating illness."

    "Again homeopathy can help preven[sic] this or treat quickly if it arises. "

    "Often an acute illness will resolve more quickly with the right homeopathic prescription than with antibiotics, and with no side effects!"

    "ARSENICUM will often abort an attack of 'flu"

    "My experience shows that homeopathy is the most effective treatment for this debilitating illness."

    "using homeopathic medicine to help you to protect and combat the seasonal flu"

    " I have many examples of this scenario helped quickly with the right prescription."

    What is treatment if it is not curing? What is the ability to 'abort' an attack of illness if it is not curing? What is 'resolving more quickly' if it is not curing? Why dish out prescriptions if you're not curing?

    I do love the fact that he implores that flu wouldn't exist if conventional medicine had an answer to it. Does he know how many strains of flu there are?

    Furthermore, I'm not a scientist but I understand that flu strains are becoming more virulent partly because of the use of drugs. Therefore, if homeopathy works he is contributing to the problem and soon they'll need stronger meds (1000C??) to combat them.

    If so, he'd better start furiously shaking tinctures.

    Anyway, not cure? Here's an excerpt from his own website (as advertised in the magazine):

    "Let me give an example:
    Influenza ( Swine or Seasonal) has as its primary symptom high FEVER. This not in fact caused by the ‘flu virus nor does it belong to the disease. It is the immediate response of the body to fight the infection. It is a natural and highly effective defense mechanism. Most viruses cannot function or even survive when exposed to high temperatures. So it makes sense to encourage the fever to the maximum the body will allow and then recovery is quick. If the fever is “brought down” it will only allow the virus more time and the recovery will be incomplete or take longer."

    I presume that he'll try to use a get out clause here and say he's not "curing" the disease, he's helping the body to fight it.... well, isn't that what real medicine does?

    By the way, if you want a laugh, visit his research section. His idea of 'evidence' is a questionnaire sent to his own patients. Excellent.