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Absurdity of Oscillococcinum: ASA FAC ruling

Posted 19 September 2012

This is a story of money, of failure of appropriate interpretation of evidence, of a legal process trumping facts. This is a story of consumers being screwed.

This is not a story of whether homeopathy works or does not work – it is about whether evidence and proof is less strong than personal opinion, and of whether “experts” can be believed or even trusted.

This is a story of whether a “belief” should be superseded by the accumulation of evidence and facts that contradicts that belief, and how strongly a commercial company will fight back to keep making money even if the product is actually useless.

 

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Oscillococcinum – ASA ruling

Posted 26 April 2012 

Consumer complaints were lodged against a Boiron laboratories television commercial as promoting the product Occilococcinum. The voice-over states, “When flu symptoms appear, take Oscillococcinum immediately”, “Take Oscillococcinum immediately for the relief of flu symptoms” and “Oscillococcinum, homeopathic medicine from Boiron laboratories”.

In essence the complainants submitted that the implied efficacy of the product is unsubstantiated and misleading. The complainants explained that this product is nothing more than duck liver and heart, which has been processed, and then diluted to a measure of one part liver/heart extract to 100200 parts water (100 to the power of 200). As such, there are literally no heart/liver molecules left in the final product solution. What’s more, there is no evidence to show that consuming duck liver/heart has any effect on the flu.

The ASA ruled in favour of the complainants.

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Oscillococcinum, Boiron: class-action certified

Posted 28 August 2011

An USA federal judge has certified a class, which enables the class-action suit filed by the Newport Trial Group against Boiron USA to proceed.

http://www.casewatch.org/civil/bo i ron/coldcalm/class_certification.pdf

The suit claims that Boiron made misleading claims that Children’s ColdCalm, a homeopathic product it manufactures, would relieve sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sinus pain, headaches, and sore throat.

http://www.casewatch.org/civil/boi ron/coldcalm/complaint.pdf

In July, the judge denied a motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds.

http://www.casewatch.org/civil/boiron/coldcalm /dismissal_order_ruling.pdf

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Oscillococcinum, Boiron

Posted 21 August 2011

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic alternative medicine marketed to relieve influenza-like symptoms. It is one of the most popular homeopathic preparations, particularly in France. Oscillococcinum is manufactured by a French company, Boiron, its sole manufacturer.[1]

It is being extensively advertised in South Africa, in particularly in television advertisements.

The burning questions are:

  1. Does it work?
  2. Does the way it works make scientific sense?
  3. What would happen if one publicly states that this product’s claims are baloney?
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