Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Homeopathic malaria ‘remedy’ pulled in UK

Neal’s Yard Remedies, a UK-based chain of organic skin care products and natural remedies has been ordered to withdraw Malaria Officinalis 30c, a homeopathic preventative for malaria after medical watchdogs called the product misleading, the Guardian reported.

The product, which was "clearly intended to be viewed as a treatment or preventative" for a serious disease, had not been approved as required by law, the government's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said yesterday.

Homeopathic remedies are classed as medicines and require MHRA authorisation before going on the market, the watchdog said. It could find no record of such approval. David Carter, head of the team investigating such products, said: "We regard the promotion of an unauthorised, self-medicating product for such a serious condition to be potentially harmful to public health and misleading. We are pleased that Neal's Yard Remedies have complied with our request and removed this product from the market."

This isn’t the first time that the homeopath industry has been called into question for its suggestions of malaria treatments. Nearly two years ago, the BBC ran a show where 10 undercover agents visited homeopaths, explaining they would be traveling to malaria infested country. Each homeopath recommended homeopathic remedies for malaria, containing mostly water and a small trace of quinine. A large homeopathic pharmacy instructed a traveler supposedly going to Malawi to try garlic, citronella oil and vitamins. Not once were the “travelers” instructed to visit a doctor.

It is estimated that two million Britons travel to malaria-infested countries and 2,000 will contract the mosquito-based disease. Of those, somewhere around 20 will die.

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