Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Coronavirus antics #3

Previous posts (here and here) have focused mostly on the antics of UK lay homeopaths. This post will focus mainly on the UK homeopathic pharmacies.

There is something of a surprise too.

Vital service?
It might be thought that a homeopathic pharmacy is not a vital service but the UK ones are registered as pharmacies and as such aren't under any legal requirement to close during this period. Whether they have a moral obligation to close is another matter.

To be clear, these pharmacies do not dispense private or NHS prescriptions for actual medicines. In addition to homeopathic remedies, they sell herbal concoctions, often wildly overpriced dietary supplements and expensive toiletries. As far as can be told they do not sell over the counter or Pharmacy Only (POM) actual medicines. So nothing that anybody really needs.

It seems unlikely that they could be used for other purposes. Whether they have anything genuinely useful that could be donated to the NHS is unknown. They do employ pharmacists and possibly pharmacy technicians. Whether they would be any use deployed in a community or hospital pharmacy setting is moot. Their recent experience and skills may be irrelevant.

Some business that provide non-vital services have closed their physical premises to customers and operate purely online or via telephone if they operate at all. They should implement distancing and other protective measures. 

Some of these pharmacies have therapy rooms - but these are not open at the moment. Those therapists who work out of them will likely be under instruction by their profession bodies not to see clients face to face.

Mail order demand
All of the homeopathic pharmacies have reported difficulty in fullfiling orders. Aside from increased overall demand, there are a number of other factors to consider. Some employees may have been self-isolating. Some consumers who would have previously obtained remedies from their homeopath may be ordering them directly. With static demand, this could result in many smaller orders if homeopaths routinely have stocks of commonly used remedies. It is also possible that consumers who purchases over the counter remedies from retail outlets that are now closed are also buying directly.

There could have been panic buying among some consumers. Some pharmacies and other retail outlets saw a run on painkillers even before lockdown began and there were supply chain problems too. Are consumers buying the usual remedies or those that have been recommended by homeopaths and their associations for COVID-19? It isn't clear.

One thing that should not be happening is the promotion of remedies specifically for COVID-19 by pharmacies. 

Helios Homeopathy
The Covent Garden branch is not open for casual visitors but it is allowing collections. It isn't clear what the situation is with the Tunbridge Wells branch (where they also maunfacture products). Various posts on Facebook indicate that they did limit the number of people allowed in, used distancing etc. The clinic there is closed.

Nelsons is probably the best known of the UK homeopathic pharmacies not because of homeopathy but because of the heavy promotion of Rescue Remedies in various markets. It is likely to be their biggest product line. Nelsons also manufactured the Duchy Originals range of herbal remedies that caused much excitement in the media. Nelsons has an over the counter range of homeopathic remedies.

There is a Nelsons pharmacy in Grosvenor Square, which has an associated online shop which sells the whole range of Nelsons products as well offering bespoke remedies. It has therapy rooms as this list of practitioners suggests. No mention is made of whether they are still practicing there but it seems unlikely.

It is unclear if the pharmacy is open for customers and if so what distancing measures are in place. 

Freemans did stock ordinary products along aside the homeopathy, herbal products and supplements.

'The photo is from 2017 and things may have changed. 

Freemans has a clinic but their website doesn't give any information on it. It's unknown who practices there. 

Oh dear.
From early March our phonelines and website were inundated with unprecedented amounts of orders and calls from customers, new and existing, from all over the world. Our own team, which had decreased dramatically in size due to staff self-isolating, were working around the clock to process all the new orders, which are mostly hand made, to meet the demand during this very unsettling time. Thankfully, we have now resumed a relatively normal workflow and orders are now being processed nearer to our usual times.
It's likely that the other pharmacies experienced something similar.

There is a history of negative stories about Ainsworths. This is largely due to it having Royal Warrants and partly due to owner Anthony Pinkus coming out with strange statements. Note that Pinkus is a registered pharmacist and member of the FoH. Ainsworths are selling a COVID-19 nosode created by one Dr Yubraj Sharma -
Individual or a combination nosode (30c onwards) is stocked by Ainsworths homeopathic pharmacy of my Covid-19, a sputum sample based nosode called JPV, and a historic Coronavirus nosode. 
So far, the media have not picked up on this. It's not widely known about and doesn't appear to be promoted in any way. The naming of the nosode may be an attempt to avoid attention. It might be thought that publising the name of the nosode is a bad idea. Homeopaths might start using it but they don't read this blog.

It is suspected that Pinkus is not very bright and perhaps falls back on the Royal Warrant and lack of regulatory action against him as vindication. It is clear that Ainsworths have had to remove products and contents from their website from previous reporting it is clear that if you get Pinkus on the end of the phone you may be given advice that is not congruent with pharmacty standards.

There is a very obvious trap here. Sad thing is that Ainsworths aren't the only vendor for a COVID-19 nosode. But Ainsworths and Pinkus will have to answer to UK regulators.

Dr Yubraj Sharma
Sharma is a doctor but would appear to have been in private practice for quite some time. However, there is mention of involvement with an NHS clinic (Integrated medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture) in the gynaecology outpatients at Whittington hospital in various places. Sharma is a member of both the Faculty of Homeopathy (FoH) and the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths (ARH). 
Yubraj is a founder, Principal and lead tutor for the School of Shamanic Homoeopathy in London. The aim of the school is to run courses for a new style of spiritual homoeopathy, with an integrated approach teaching herbalism, homoeopathy, flower essences, crystals, starlight elixirs, spiritual healing, meditation, astrology and shamanism. There is an emphasis on both standard medical anatomy, physiology, pathology and esoteric new age anatomy; understanding disease in the light of the spiritual world. Yubraj has developed an integration of homoeopathy with many aspects of esoteric lore (such as theosophy, anthroposophy), ancient systems (e.g. Egyptian, Mayan, Chinese) and with wide-ranging topics such as art history, astrology and craniosacral medicine.
Apparently, a "starlight elixir" is -
A fluid used in “cosmic vibrational healing”. Starlight elixir is obtained using a telescope with silver-coated mirrors to capture the light of a star by suspending a quartz bottle filled with extremely pure water directly in front of the eyepiece. The telescope has a clock drive that enables the telescope to follow each particular star as it moves and keep it centred within the viewing field. Inert gases are used to eliminate contamination from negative thought.
Homeopaths make similar remedies by placing dried milk powder in front of the eyepiece.

Sharma's publications include Homoeopathy of the Solar System: Mercury and Spirit, Earth and Human Evolution. This article however worded suggests Sharma is anti-vaccination.

In addition to the "conventional" nosode, Sharma has come up with something else, a method for creating a nosode using "electromagnetic transfer".
Define the information that describes the particular nosode you are aiming to manufacture, e.g. for a virus nosode this could be the genetic code sequence listing, a gene map, electron microscopy images, scientific research papers, epidemiological data etc. 
Download various data sets of the above data. For a gene sequence this mightinclude its descriptive profile, gene linkage tables, Chromosome and Gene browser views, DNA sequence. Save the files as pdf and/or image documents. Note that the DNA sequence may be a very large file of several hundred pages, depending on the length of the gene. 
A Homeopathic remedy could then be made by ‘electromagnetic information transfer’ via bluetooth (computer to computer file transfer with the alcohol containing bottle positioned in-line of the radio wave path). The collated files of that disease data are transferred from one computer to the other. A bottle of alcohol (over 90% for medicating) is place in the path of the Bluetooth signal. 
That comes from a strange paper on the FoH website. It consists of cut and pasted abstracts and extracts from various sources. Some of which are established science, some obviously cherry-picked and bizarrely extrapolated from. Many readers will be vaguely familiar with anthroposophic medicine's ideas about childhood diseases and opposition to vaccination among some adherents but Sharma quotes Rudolf Steiner at great length. Sharma seems to be trying to justify the esoteric with science but fails. Below Sharma helpfully adds his own interpretation to public health concerns.