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07 November 2011

A right royal quack?

Prince Charles has a history of pushing bad science and unfounded health remedies. So why was he invited to speak on climate change at one of our foremost scientific institutions?

Prince Charles has a history of pushing bad science and unfounded health remedies. So why was he invited to speak on climate change at one of our foremost scientific institutions?

  • In 1993, he established the Foundation for Integrated Health, which has disseminated some dangerous disinformation, for example in its Complementary healthcare: a guide for patients, which suggested that homoeopathy is a treatment for chronic conditions such as asthma; eczema; arthritis; fatigue disorders like ME; headache and migraine; menstrual and menopausal problems; irritable bowel syndrome; Crohn's disease; allergies; repeated ear, nose, throat and chest infections; urine infections; depression and anxiety. Some of these are very serious disorders that require medical treatment, not magical medicine that supposedly works through water retaining a "memory" of extremely diluted substances. Homeopathy is entirely implausible and entirely ineffective at treating any of these conditions.
  • The Prince's Foundation commisioned the Smallwoord report into CAM that, among other things, erroneously and dangerously suggested homoeopathy is a cost-effective treatment for asthma – against all scientific evidence (such as that contained in a Cochrane systematic review of the evidence).
  • The Prince's Foundation bizarrely appointed a former writer for an AIDS denialist magazine, Boo Armstrong, as its Chief Executive in 2010.
  • Perhaps most egregiously, the Prince's company "Duchy Originals" has sold quack remedies under the "Duchy Herbals" brand, including a "Detox Tincture" containing artichoke and dandelion and promising to help "eliminate toxins and aid digestion". One of the UK's most respected experts on alternative medicine, Edzard Ernst of Exeter University (now retired), branded the tincture "make-believe and outright quackery".

 
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