When I was almost stabbed

About four years ago, my friend Will and I had finished a hard day’s car cleaning. We used to go round houses offering our car cleaning services for £3 – 5, depending on the size of the car. Our customers were always happy with the service. We even made leaflets, posted them through people’s letterboxes and waited for the calls. And waited. And waited. Until eventually, someone called! They became one of our loyal customers. It was a relatively easy way of making money.
But anyway, Will and I had finished cleaning some cars, so we decided to go down to Roath Park to relax, to go on the swings, etc. We talked about how successful that day had been. I checked the time. It was coming up to half past three. We decided to leave the park to go home and get some food.
We were walking towards the entrance/exit gate when we were approached by two boys, only just a little older than us. They stopped me and asked what the time was. I said “It’s half past three?”.
They replied rather aggressively – “Half past what?”.
“Half past three…” I told him again.
“Why are you being so fucking cheeky?” came the angry response, “Tell me the fucking time.” It was now clear to me that he wanted me to get my phone out so he could steal it.
“Look, I’ve told you the time. It’s half past three in the afternoon. Please leave me alone.” I answered. I started to cycle past him.
At this point, he pulled out a knife.
I cycled faster until I got part way down the road to a crossing. There were some cars coming. My friend Will was lagging behind too. I paused to look for him. He was cycling towards me, but being followed closely by the two boys. My bike was now the wrong direction to keep on cycling and they had just about caught up with us. “Oh shit…” I thought, thinking that I was going to die very soon.
“Oi, fuck you. Don’t fucking run away from me when I’m fucking talking to you!” came the livid call from the boy with the knife. “Give me fucking 10p!” I was a little astounded at this. Here I am being threatened with a knife, and all for 10p.
“I… Erm… I don’t have 10p on me, sorry.” knowing that if I pulled out my wallet, they’d take it along with my half of the day’s earnings.
“Fucking give me £10 then.”
What? If I don’t have 10p, does he really expect me to have £10?! Alas, I knew I had £10 on me, but I wasn’t going to give it to him. I’d earned that money. I’d worked my arse off for it!
“I don’t have any money on me! Please just leave me alone!”
“No! Give me the money!” and he thrusted the knife towards me, threateningly.
His friend now piped up – “Just do as he says!”
“I can’t! I don’t have any money!”
Will began to recognise them. “You used to go to my primary school, didn’t you?” he asked the accomplice.
“Yeah, that’s right!” he replied.
“Fuck that, I want the money!” his friend interjected. “If you don’t have the money, I want your bike!”
I pleaded with him to leave me alone. He thrusted the knife towards me a few more times. I looked over at Will to see if he had any ideas. He nodded at me to go when he started talking to them. I quickly pulled up onto my bike and cycled right past them. As I did, the one with a knife turned round and tried to stab me in the back. Thankfully, he missed.
I cycled down to the other end of the street. I saw some people and told them that I’d been threatened by someone with a knife and if I should call the police. They just ran away from me. I pulled out my phone and dialed 999, asking for the police. Very soon, an armoured police vehicle came round the corner. Will cycled round the corner, much to my relief.
Apparently, someone across the road had seen what was happening, jumped out of their house and screamed at the boys who then ran away, soon after I left. A park ranger then saw them running and stopped them. The police did a search of the area and very quickly found the boys. The idiot still had the knife on him.
My mum had come down from home at this time and was understandably upset. I couldn’t speak to her on the phone because I was so upset and she only heard “Boys… Knife…” and was worried that I had been stabbed. The police van drove us home.
Later that night, a police officer came and took my statement. The next day, both of the boys had been locked up in a cell to get them to comply.
Will and I were due to give evidence against them in court, but something happened and that changed. The boy with the knife was given a referral order, a bit like bail. He had to go to meetings with counsellors every week for a year. Something like that, at least.
Then there was a meeting between the counsellors, the boy with the knife and me. I asked for a letter of apology, which they promised would be delivered within the month.
It never came.
I later discovered that he was a teenage delinquent who rarely turned up to school and was frequently suspended.

Not so Appyfeet

You may have noticed them. I certainly have.

A new type of shop seems to be springing up.

Those shops full of water tanks. A bit odd, but not that weird. But there are people with their feet in the tanks. A bit more odd.

Oh, and did I mention that those water tanks are full of skin-eating fish.

Now, before you get nervous and think that these shops are selling the opportunity to have your foot eaten off by piranhas, I’ll give you a little bit of background into these establishments.

These shops supposedly give you the “Ultimate Fish Pedicure”. They have big tanks of fish called Garra rufa fish, often known as “Doctor fish”. These fish have no teeth and nibble away at dry skin.

Foot Picture 1

Appy Feet, the largest provider of these fish pedicures in Britain, say

“Although these little Minnow size fish have no teeth, they certainly have a big impact! When you immerse your feet into the warm water these curious little dermatologist will get to work by gently nibbling off any dead hard skin, leaving you pampered, healthy and glowing.

All over the world nibble fish centres are springing up and people are taking advantage of a totally organic pedicure. The fish will only work on unhealthy or dead skin, the healthy skin is left untouched.” – AppyFeet.co.uk

The price works out at £10 for 15 minutes or £20 for 35 minutes in the tank. They also offer a hand spa for £5 for 5 minutes or £10 for 15 minutes.

Foot Picture 2

There are a few problems though, the main one being the issue of disease transmission.

In the US, these spas and salons are banned for being “unsanitary”. In order to keep these places sanitary, the fish need to be thrown away after each use.

I called the Manchester branch of Appy Feet and asked them what their protocols for disease prevention were, to see if they followed this sanitation recommendation.

The person on the phone told me that they used a water filter, a UV filter and fresh water pumping through the tanks all the time. Seeing as it’s the fish that would need to be replaced after each use, this doesn’t seem like an adequate compromise.

Also, these aren’t just promoted as a cosmetic or relaxation device. It’s claimed by some that these can help with a load of dermatological illnesses, including eczema and psoriasis.

There is precisely one pilot study that I could find when searching “Garra rufa” on PubMed. It gained a positive result. However, it was a pilot study. It had no control group and only involved 67 patients. And it was used in combination with UVA therapy. It’s a little hard to derive much meaning from this then.

To conclude, these fish pedicure establishments have the potential to pass on disease – for a fee!

And, if you’ve been told to go there because they can cure psoriasis or another dermatological illness, I wouldn’t advise it. There’s close to no evidence to support it’s use.

I think I’d rather stick with my Crappy Feet.

Can a drug be classified as “not vital”?

The Daily Mail has put out a piece that reads like a press release. I suppose that’s like a lot of their web content.
However, this one attracted my attention as it was about animal testing.
It is based upon an investigation by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, titled “The Ugly Truth”, about animal experiments on rabbits. These rabbits were being used for shock horror testing side effects of antibiotics, blood fillers and saline! Oh, the humanity!
BUAV complain that “the lab inflicted ‘appalling suffering’ on thousands of animals in tests that [were] ‘crude, archaic and extremely cruel’.” adding that the bunnies were “used over and over again for months at a time.”
However, this is not what this shall focus on. No, it was one of the nutty comments on the press release… I mean “article” that wound me up to no end.

Testing for vital drugs is, I suppose, ok. Testing for non-vital drugs or beauty products should be outlawed and anyone found doing such tests should eb subjected to it themselves.
– Ex-pat of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia, 17/4/2011 15:11

How can one judge whether a drug is vital or not? A drug may not appear vital to some, but absolutely, undeniably necessary for someone else.

Let’s take an example.

For me, my medicines are vital. They allow me to function on a day to day basis without fear of excruciating abdominal pain, very unpleasant bowel movements and extreme fatigue.
However, I could still “live” without them. My life is not in immediate danger without them.
Therefore, I’m sure that in some people’s eyes they would class as non-vital.
On the flip side from my situation, there are people for who these drugs would be classed as absolutely vital in anyone’s eyes – people with severe Crohn’s disease. People who could quite plausibly die without treatment.
Therefore, the animal testing would have to be done on these vital drugs, even in the eyes of people like Ex-pat of Adelaide

The main issue comes from the definition of vital. Does it include people who would not function on a daily basis without the drug or is it strictly limited to life and death situations? Could it include someone with a headache that stops them doing whatever they want for an hour or two?

Another reason that this is an irresponsibly stupid thing to say is that we do not know every single disease each drug will treat when they are developed and therefore, cannot know how vital they may be. Take the drug ibuprofen. Originally developed as a painkiller, it was realised that it could be used to treat patent ductus arteriosus – a condition where a newborn baby’s ductus arteriosus fails to close after birth. This condition can lead to heart failure. Something not as apparently vital in the first instance has become something which can save lives. Ibuprofen is not the only drug this has happened with and I doubt it will be the last.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you could make the case for any drugs being vital.
Whether it be aspirin, methotrexate, infliximab or zidovudine – these drugs have been vital to someone, whether it be to treat a headache or stop HIV taking a greater hold in their body.

For all these reasons, and undoubtedly more, it is silly and unethical to call a drug not vital and therefore refuse to do testing on it.

First ASA Win!

Yay! My first ASA win is no longer under “embargo”. I’ve decided that, for the sheer hell of it, I will post a copy of my complaint about this website. Check the Freezepages to see what they were and the non-Freezepage links to see what they are now.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you to complain about the website: http://www.miraclemineralsupplement.org.uk/ (Backup link: http://www.freezepage.com/1298938494WVSNYDNBPV)
I recorded these details at 00:13 on the 1st March, 2011.
The only details for the company that I can find are it’s phone number and email address, which are as follows:
Phone number: 0161 870 8058
1. The name “Miracle Mineral Supplement” implies that it is a product supplementing the body, as something the body requires. I do not believe that the producer, MiracleMineralSupplement.org.uk, has any evidence to support this claim.
2. The front page of the website makes the claim:
“Miracle Mineral Supplement is a powerful substance which has been shown to greatly assist in the healing process.”
I doubt that MiracleMineralSupplement.org.uk have any evidence to support the claim that Miracle Mineral Supplement has been shown to “greatly assist in the healing process.”
“MMS was invented by Jim Humble and has spent more than 8 years of testing around the world of people who suffer from different conditions such as malaria, HIV and cancer. There are many studies that can be found on the internet showing the result of using MMS and from people’s testimonials of using the product and for the most part the results have been extremely positive.”
This clearly implies that MMS is suitable for treating conditions such as malaria, HIV and cancer. I doubt that MiracleMineralSupplement.org.uk have any evidence to back up these claims.
4. On this page – http://www.miraclemineralsupplement.org.uk/what-can-mms-be-used-for (Backup link: http://www.freezepage.com/1298938674AFVQCKKNKG)- of the website, there is a long list of claims for what “MMS can be used for”. The conditions that the website claims MMS can treat are as follows:
  1. Acne
  2. Abscessed Teeth
  3. Asthma
  4. Burns
  5. Most Cancers
  6. Cysts
  7. Colds, Flu
  8. Diabetes
  9. Dandruff
  10. Gingivitis
  11. Hepatitis A, B, C
  12. Heartburn
  13. Insect bites
  14. Malaria
  15. Pneumonia
  16. Sore throats
  17. Sebaceous
  18. Urinary Tract Infections
  19. Warts
  20. Weight Loss
This is a long list of very different conditions. I very strongly doubt that MiracleMineralSupplement.org.uk have any evidence to verify any of these claims of conditions.
I also make the point that it is illegal for anyone but registered medical and scientific personnel to claim to treat or cure cancer under Cancer Act 1939. I doubt that MiracleMineralSupplement.org.uk are registered medical or scientific personnel, and therefore put to you that this website is both misleading and illegal.
5. The website contains a testimonial entitled “MMS Testimonial – One Man’s Story” which can be found here http://www.miraclemineralsupplement.org.uk/mms-testimonial-one-mans-story (Backup link: http://www.freezepage.com/1298938724GLMUOYKGKI)
I have included a copy of the testimonial:
“I have been using MMS now for seven weeks, and would like to relate the following improvements in my health. My lifelong battle with REFLUX/HEARTBURN/ACID GUT seems to be over. That all disappeared after four days and hasn’t come back. (My system succumbed to beer and chips and other assorted rubbish one day, but a scheduled daily dose of MMS knocked it on the head within a few minutes).My lifelong weakness of too much mucus in the nose and throat at most times has been reduced noticeably to a “no problem” level. I now get an incredible good night’s sleep every night, dream vividly, and my wife says my snoring is less. My lifelong weakness to catching the common colds and being very susceptible to any virus or flu going around seems to be over. During the last seven weeks I deliberately exposed myself to catch a cold several times, I did get it, and knocked it on the head within hours (only experienced a few sneezes, and slight runny nose) then I was exposed to a severe flu virus, after two days I had a ticklish throat and a few sneezes, here we go I thought. I took a double dose of Miracle Mineral Supplement before going to bed that night and woke up the next day as right as rain. I expect my cholesterol count to have lowered, and my fear of cancer from my enlarged prostrate has subsided. Many other minor problems were experienced during the last seven weeks, and it is enough for me to say I AM HOOKED ON THE STUFF FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE”.
Statements in testimonials need to also be backed up by evidence. This testimonial strongly implies that MMS can help with all of the issues mentioned.
I doubt that MiracleMineralSupplement.org.uk can substantiate the claims made in this testimonial that MMS is effective in treating:
  • Reflux/Heartburn/Acid Gut (also known as acid reflux)
  • The issue of “too much mucus in the nose and throat”
  • Snoring
  • Common colds
  • Viruses
  • Flus
  • High cholesterol
  • Cancer risk, due to enlarged prostate
I am complaining as a concerned member of the public and wish to confirm I have no commercial interest.
Many thanks,

Rhys Morgan

MMS on eBay

If you remember back to the days of old – when Bleachgate was young and so was I… well, when I was younger than I am now…

One of the early victories of the Bleachgate campaign was eBay removing all the Miracle Mineral Solution items from it’s website. This came after the FSA’s warning.

Well, it’s not lasted as long as we might have hoped.




are some of the items currently on eBay.

This is a bad thing, especially when you see that some people have bought them.

So, my request to you is to report these items to eBay under the

“Prohibited (banned) items” – “Other prohibited (banned) items” – “Prohibited foods” sub-subsection.

This may seem a rather odd choice.

But cast your minds back to the Food Standards Agency warning. Because it is advertised as a supplement, then it is classified as a food, which is why the FSA were able to rule and warn against it.

When you report it, please refer them to the Food Standards Agency warning too, which you can find here: http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2010/sep/mms

Your help would be much appreciated!

ThinkCon: Can You Make A Difference?

Last night (19th March, 2011) was ThinkCon, an evening of skeptical goodness.

The event was titled: “Can You Make A Difference?” and the speakers all gave their experiences about how they have made a difference.

The evening was chaired by Gia Milinovich and the speakers were:

  • Me. I was the first person to speak. I talked about my experiences on CrohnsForum.com, how it very quickly turned sour when I realised there were people promoting Miracle Mineral Solution (read previous posts tagged Bleachgate for the rest of the story!) and what I did to tackle it after being permenantly banned from the forum.
  • Michael Marshall, who talked about his experience organising The 1023 Campaign and what it achieved.
  • Chris Smith, who discussed setting up The Naked Scientists radio program/podcast, how far reaching it has been and how it has promoted science in the general public
  • David Colquhoun, who told us about his use of internet campaigning when a merger between Imperial College London and University College London was proposed and the outcomes, before talking about setting up a blog and how it can make a difference.
  • Síle Lane, public liason for Sense about Science, came to talk about the Libel Reform campaign, about how it was organised, why so many companies supported it and the events in meatspace they organised to raise support. Finally, she discussed the recent victory with the draft Defamation Bill.

The event was a lot of fun and very informative. I learned a lot from the other speakers. It was particularly special for me, because it was my very first public speech. I hope you enjoyed it, if you came.

The opening question of “Can You Make A Difference?” was very clearly answered by the talks – YES! You can make a difference. Writing letters to regulatory agencies, tweeting and blogging are all incredible tools to help to make a difference.

I helped to debunk Miracle Mineral Solution and get it warned about by national and international health agencies.

Michael Marshall along with the 1023 gang drew a lot of public attention to the issues with homeopathy (like, it doesn’t work!) and got governmental agencies around the world looking into it, with many withdrawing support for it.

Chris Smith has helped to engage the public with science with his radio show, giving many people access to kitchen science experiments to show people how science works and again, engage them in the process of science.

David Colquhoun has helped expose many ridiculous “BSc” degrees in quackery and blogged about them, causing many to be shut down. He has used internet campaigning to help argue the case against a potentially catastrophic merger between UCL and Imperial.

Síle Lane and Sense about Science have helped the public realise the major problems with British Libel Law and how damaging it is and helped communicate how science works and what is trustworthy science to patient support groups.

Whilst the talks and panel discussion were all very interesting and informative to listen to, they were not my favourite part of the evening. Nor was sitting down over a drink (Coca Cola, don’t worry!) and chatting to people at the end about the evening. My favourite and most inspiring part of the evening was when we made a difference in the first break.

During the first break, a lady approached me and told me she’d used MMS every day for five years, after a friend had recommended it to her. She bought and took it without realising what is was. She had no idea that I’d be talking about it tonight. She asked me to explain to her exactly what it was again. I went through what it was. She realised what she’d been taking was an industrial bleach, injurious to health, and told me “Thank you so much for telling me this. I had no idea. From now, I will stop taking it and will tell all my friends about what it is.”

Proof that we can make a difference.

We made a difference last night.


For the last time, before I get any more stupid comments suggesting some ridiculous quacky cure…

Unless you are a gastroenterologist/immunologist or some expert on Crohn’s, I don’t care what cured your friend when you suggested it to them, I will not use your cure/treatment.

This includes:

  • Squatting
  • Herbs
  • Unproven treatments
  • Cutting out dairy
  • Actually, cutting out anything from my diet

The main reason for this is because I’m on a treatment that is working.

I am in remission.

I like my milk. I like my food. They do not cause me any Crohn’s-y issues.

None. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

Therefore, cutting them out of my diet would be pointlessly cruel to myself. I don’t need to cut them out, therefore I won’t.

I don’t go round trusting any ol’ person. If I want any serious advice on my Crohn’s or treatments for it, I will go to my doctor. Not the internet.


Ambiguity over alternative medicine funding in Wales

On the 1st of December 2010, I sent Freedom of Information Act requests to all seven of the Local Health Boards in Wales;

  • Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
  • Cwm Taf Local Health Board
  • Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board
  • Hywel Dda Local Health Board
  • Powys Teaching Local Health Board
  • Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board
  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

I posed these questions to them:

“Does your Health Board fund the use of any complementary or alternative medicine?”


“Please provide me with details of which complementary or alternative medicines you fund. How much is spent on them per annum?”

Of these seven health boards, three provided me with concrete information about whether they funded complementary/alternative medicines and if so, how much was spent on them. Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board released detailed information about which CAMs they funded and how much was spent on them. I shall come back to them later.

Two of the health boards, Powys Teaching LHB and Cwm Taf LHB, told me “[This health board] does not fund the use of any complementary or alternative medicines.”

The remaining four health boards were a little more ambiguous with their responses. Repeatedly, I was informed that information about the funding was not held by the health board.

Betsi Cadwaladr LHB responded by saying “Unfortunately we do not hold this information as the Health Board does not fund or provide complementary of alternative medicine.” Hywel Dda LHB were similarly ambiguous in their response – “I regret to inform you that the information you requested is not held by this organisation. The Health Board does not support the prescribing of complementary/alternative medicines.”

On the face, this might seem like a good thing – they’re not funding or don’t support the prescribing of these unproven therapies. However, upon re-reading of these responses, both responses start; the information simply isn’t held by the health boards. Therefore, there could quite easily be funding for CAM therapies that they just don’t know about. I would have liked to have thought that the health boards know exactly what their money is being spent on.

Back to Aneurin Bevan LHB, who provided me with detailed information on which therapies they fund. They did inform me that whilst they do not have formal agreements in place for specific funding of complementary or alternative medicines, GPs “may prescribe any medication under their terms of service that have been approved by the Department of Health. They also told me that it “is not possible to identify all alternative medicines prescribed by GPs due to the way in which the prescribing data is captured.” However, they undertook an analysis of information that they did have. Here is that information:

Nutritional Supplements

Glucosamine preparations – £121,000

Melatonin – £37,000

VSL #3 Probiotic Food Supplement – £4,000

Homeopathic preparations

Abrotanum Oral Drops – £156


Nytol Herbal Tablets – £121

Kalms Herbal Sedative – £7

St. John’s Wort – £41

In total, £162,325 is being wasted on treatments with little or no evidence base to support their use.

Glucosamine supplements have been studied to no positive avail. A BMJ meta-analysis of 10 trials concluded “Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.”

Evidence for St. John’s Wort is ambiguous. The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the evidence for it and concluded “Overall, the St. John’s wort extracts tested in the trials were superior to placebo, similarly effective as standard antidepressants, and had fewer side effects than standard antidepressants. However, findings were more favourable to St. John’s wort extracts in studies from German-speaking countries where these products have a long tradition and are often prescribed by physicians, while in studies from other countries St. John’s wort extracts seemed less effective.” So there could be a cultural bias leading to more positive results for it.

The final two health boards in Wales are Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. Both fund complementary and alternative medicines, but neither provided me with details about how much money is spent on them, even after clarification from myself.

Cardiff and Vale UHB provide “limited complementary therapy modalities … for example Acupuncture as part of physiotherapy management to provide pain relief and massage techniques in the mental health service.” However, because this is provided as a package of care as opposed to stand alone therapies and no dedicated funding is provided, they cannot provide me with any details about funding.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwyg UHB informed me that they provide acupuncture and “this is provided within the physiotherapy service. This is part of the whole package of treatment following assessment by the physiotherapists. There are no separate acupuncture clinics and referrals for acupuncture alone are not accepted. Therefore as stated in our original response there is no ‘dedicated funding’ for complementary therapies and therefore we would not hold separate financial information for this.”

To conclude, it appears that the main problem with the health boards is the way in which prescribing data is captured. Aneurin Bevan LHB said it themselves – “It is not possible to identify all alternative medicines prescribed by GPs due to the way in which the prescribing data is captured.” Perhaps there needs to be a new method of capturing prescription data, to ensure that this information doesn’t fall through the cracks as it appears to be doing now.

Consumers in Cardiff stage homeopathic ‘overdose’

Consumer rights activists across Cardiff have today announced their intention to take a mass homeopathic ‘overdose’ next month, as part of a major global protest against the alternative remedies.

Protesters in Cardiff will swallow entire bottles of homeopathic pills on February 5th 2011, in a bid to raise public awareness of the fact that homeopathic ‘remedies’ are ineffective – putting pressure on pharmacists and healthcare providers to ensure that products sold as medical treatments actually work. They will also be demonstrating the homeopathic dilution process.

Dean Burnett, co-founder of Cardiff Skeptics said “Consumer choice is all well and good, but the public deserves to know that what they’re buying isn’t genuine medicine but expensive bits of sugar that have probably come into contact with a trace amount of water that’s been hit with a book”

Jane Goldman added “I wholeheartedly support the 10:23 campaign. People deserve to be given reliable, impartial information with which they can make informed decisions about how they wish to spend their money and tackle illness, and I applaud the commitment of the campaigners to making that information widely available.”

Stephen Fry, who also supports The 10:23 Campaign, said “Homeopathy is wonderful for those who enjoy water. Which I do. Nothing nicer than a glass! Boots selling homeopathic pills is fine, but only if they have a sign saying “Contains no active ingredients” or “Proven to be Pointless””

The demonstration is being organised by Rhys Morgan of Cardiff Skeptics as part of the 10:23 Campaign [1] – a global protest against the homeopathic remedies originating in the United Kingdom. Similar events will be taking place in dozens of countries around the world, with protests announced in Germany, Hungary, Australia and Canada.

Michael Marshall, co-ordinator of the international campaign, said: “We intend to show that there is a growing feeling around the world that enough time and money has been wasted on homeopathic remedies.

In the two hundred years these treatments have existed, there has never been anything to suggest they work – and because they’re nothing but sugar and water, they couldn’t possibly do the things homeopaths claim they can do.

Tens of billions of pounds are spent every year around the world on these ineffective remedies, and when told what they really are, and how they’re made, most people are shocked these useless treatments are still able to be sold to an unsuspecting public”.

The 10:23 Campaign launched a year ago in the UK, with almost 400 protestors taking part in ‘overdose’ events across the country following an admission by Britain’s leading pharmacy that the pills are only sold because consumers will buy them, not because they are effective[2].  The campaign is named after ‘Avogadro’s Number’ [3] – a scientific constant which can be used to show homeopathic potions contain no active ingredients.

Though some would argue dispensing sugar pills may seem harmless, the endorsement of homeopathic potions by pharmacists and healthcare providers has grave consequences.  As well as undermining public trust in medicine and medical advice, patients with serious conditions can avoid seeking medical attention in the belief that homeopathy can treat their condition. An investigation by the BBC in January 2011 revealed that homeopaths were willing to give travellers ineffective homeopathic ‘preparations’ to use in place of real anti-malarial drugs [4], as well as ineffective homeopathic alternatives to vaccinations [5].

The 10:23 Campaign is organising protests in more than twenty three cities across ten counties on February 5th, 2011.

Notes for editors:

[1] The 10:23 Campaign is a network of skeptical groups which aims to raise awareness of the reality of homeopathy – how we know it doesn’t work and why it is important that patients should be given the right information to allow them to make an informed decision about their health.  http://www.1023.org.uk/
[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1230925/Boots-sells-homeopathic-remedies-theyre-popular-work.html
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avogadro_constant
[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9341713.stm
[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11280578

Local contact: Rhys Morgan / thewelshboyo@gmail.com / +44 7765 429 450
International contact: Michael Marshall / contact@1023.org.uk / +44 7841 134 309

Cardiff Skeptics Homeopathy Event

Due to being the one to suggest it, and Dean and Alice being away on the weekend planned, I am organising a Cardiff Skeptics homeopathy event! Huzzah!

If it all goes wrong though, blame them though for letting a kid run the show 😉

Honestly though, I’m planning for the event to go down on Saturday, 5th February outside of Boots on Queen Street.

What is needed?


  • Test tube racks suitable for 16 x 150 mm test tubes

If you can help out with this, it would be much appreciated!

I have pipettes, test tubes and some coffee for a stunt planned… More on that in the next couple of days.