Good medicine: homeopathy, Cuba, the Finlay Institute and homeoprophylaxis for Leptospirosis

BMJ 2012345 doi: (Published 14 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6184

Good medicine: homeopathy

26 November 2012
Christopher M Johnson
Naturopathic Doctor
Private Practice
4910 31st St S, Suite A, Arlington, VA 22206

Once again it must be said that what passes for ‘scientific’ discussion amongst homeopathic critics is almost entirely lacking in substance. Scientific statements, by definition, must be precise and testable. Unfortunately, criticisms of homeopathy rarely pass this test.

Alan Henness, who calls himself a ‘challenger of misleading health claims,’ continues to make vague assertions and accusations without having any grasp of the basic facts.

His previous attempts to delegitimize the Cuban homeopathic leptospirosis trial having been defused by David Eyles, he falls back on this last attempt:

“Presumably then, if homeoprophylaxis for Leptospirosis was so successful and saved so many lives, the Cuban health authorities will have been boldly rolling it out all over Cuba for the last five years?”

In fact, this is precisely what has been done, with remarkable effect: leptospirosis is now nearly eradicated – so much so that the homeopathic prophylaxis is no longer routinely needed.

Somehow, ten years of using the conventional vaccine never brought about such success.

It is clear that homeopathic ‘skeptics’ do not like being bothered with data and evidence, but for those who are interested, the facts of the Cuban experience with prophylactic homeopathy are as follows:

1) The authors of the Cuban homeopathic leptospirosis trial were not homeopaths. They were veteran conventional medical researchers and scientists who had been manufacturing, testing and implementing the use of conventional vaccinations for decades. They were highly respected in the vaccine world. Their work had previously been published in many of the major vaccine journals such as, Vaccine, Human Vaccines, Expert Review of Vaccines, etc. They were and are in fact, amongst the world’s leading experts on leptospirosis vaccination – with the trivalent Vax-spiral (the only conventional leptospirosis vaccine made anywhere in the world) designed and manufactured in their own facilities (the Finlay Institute – a WHO-designated research center). In sum, they were not homeopathic apologists. Prior to the leptospirosis study, they had no ‘skin in the game’ whatsoever, and no reason at all to defend or advocate for homeopathy.

2) The authors implemented the use of the homeopathic leptospirosis prophylaxis as a last ditch effort in 2007, when the island was overwhelmed by a record hurricane season and there were insufficient resources/time to produce enough of the conventional vaccine. They tried homeopathy in light of having no other options.

3) Unlike the conventional vaccine, the homeopathic product could be produced in less than 2 weeks (compared to 6 months), cost 2% of the conventional vaccine, and was far more easily stored and administered.

4) The results of using the homeopathic product in 2007 were far more successful than any previous use of the conventional vaccine, despite what was objectively one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons in modern history. Within 2 weeks of administering the homeopathic product, they observed a 90% decrease in incidence of leptospirosis in the intervention region (comprising 2.1 million persons), while in the low-risk areas which did not receive any intervention (either homeopathic or conventional) incidence of the disease continued to rise – a set of facts that would have been drastically reversed if the homeopathic product had no efficacy.

5) The homeopathic prophylaxis was then, in the ensuing years, administered to the entire Cuban population (11 million persons), to the effect of near eradication of the disease on the island – a result not achieved with use of the conventional vaccine product.

6) Despite the fact that the researchers had for decades published papers in the leading vaccine journals, none of these journals were willing to publish this groundbreaking trial – by all accounts, one of the largest ever conducted in medicine. What happened? Were the researchers no longer ‘experts?’ Did they forget how to conduct a proper trial? Was the trial of insufficient quality? No legitimate criticism has been registered to date and none was given by the journals. I’ll leave it to readers to make up their own minds, but will provide some historical context: from the beginning of homeopathy the conventional medical community has repeatedly sabotaged homeopathic research. Throughout the 19th century, on numerous occasions, conventional medial authorities simply confiscated and destroyed the records of successful homeopathic trials. Of course, we know the scientific world is much more ‘civilized’ now, right?

7) Despite all this, the researchers and scientists involved with the study still advocate for and use conventional vaccination in many diseases. Unlike homeopathic ‘skeptics,’ these people are actually committed to science – i.e. unbiased and objective observation. They care only about what works and are not blinded by dogma and ideology.

8) Based on the results achieved with leptospirosis, the Cuban Ministry of Health began using homeopathic prophylaxis and treatment for other infectious epidemics, including dengue fever, ‘swine’ flu, hepatitis A and conjunctivitis – all with similar success.

Competing interests: No competing interests

Why Use Homeopathy?

Mani Norland School of Homeopathy The School of Homeopathy and the Homeopathy Action Trust have created short films on topics of interest to the public, patients, and those undecided about homeopathy – to view these, visit:

Faculty of Homeopathy The Faculty of Homeopathy have also put up a YouTube channel presenting videos of practitioners speaking about why they use homeopathy:

4homeopathy logo 4Homeopathy have also created a series of videos on homeopathy

New Web Sites for Homeopathic Research

research Please be careful interpreting the battleground of modern research! See the Of interest section below*

Rome 2015 International Homeopathic Conference Report ‘… There have been hundreds of research studies on homeopathy with positive results. Rather than make you slog through a list of them, we’ll show you the ten most amazing and convincing…’ ‘… Our homeopathic colleague and friend, Robert Medhurst, has been compiling positive research studies related to homeopathy since last several years. He initially shared a compilation of positive homeopathic research studies with us in 2010 and since December 2013, he has been sharing his findings with the community every month through…’ Core Hom ‘… The CORE-Hom database has emerged from the need for a publicly available and reliable source of information in the field of homeopathy clinical research. The search grid offers a way to navigate this data, offering the possibility of searching the data through clinical condition or clinical field, name of author and more. The database was designed with the strongest scientific rigor in mind, to offer researchers and the general public a solid foundation from which to assess the quality of homeopathy trials as well the many clinical fields to which they relate. Registration and use of CORE-Hom are free of charge…’ Ayush Portal ‘… Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) was established as an autonomous organisation in 1978, under the Dept. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India. Primarily a research body, CCRH has a multi-dimensional approach to research and its varied research activities include ‘Survey, collection and cultivation of medicinal plants’, ‘Drug standardisation’, ‘Drug proving’, ‘Clinical verification’ and ‘Clinical research’. Besides, CCRH also collaborates with other research bodies for researches and monitors extramural researches…’

Of interest:

*From ‘… In the past few years more professionals have come forward to share a truth that, for many people, proves difficult to swallow. One such authority is Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. Dr. Horton recently published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false. “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.(source…’

For a background to The Lancet, please read

Sense about Homeopathy


‘… This website responds to the criticisms of homeopathy made on the Sense About Science website. These criticisms are not valid, and it is unfortunate that a website presenting itself as scientific and sensible can be so unscientific, and so insensible of its subject. The website is criticising nothing but its own mistaken understanding of homeopathy, not homeopathy itself. The same applies to theNightingale Collaboration website. (Some parts of the account of homeopathy given on that website are exactly the same. Is similarity on homeopathy acceptable in small doses?)…’

Homoeopathy healing 80% leprosy patients, claims Ayush

AyushWith thanks to the Times of India 31.1.14:

From ‘… RAIPUR: If the claims of the Directorate of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), are to be believed, a pilot project of testing homeopathy drugs on leprosy patients has proven successful in restoring sensation to the affected parts of body.

According to officials, the project started for patients from the districts of Raigarh and Janjgir-Champa, had shown encouraging results with over 80% of them recovering senses to their affected body parts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Homeopathic Legislation in Portugal 2013

portugalWith thanks to ECCH European Central Council of Homeopaths 17.9.2013:

From Portuguese Government Shows Belgian Government The Error of Its Reactionary Way  

lei_n._71-2013_tnc.pdf   NB The wording of the new Portuguese law begins at the bottom right of the first page. An approximate English translation is available here: port – eng law.pdf

‘… On the 2 September 2013 the Health Minister of the Portuguese Government, Paulo Macedo, introduced the enacting legislation that lays down the future legal framework for the regulation of the practice homeopathy and 6 other CAM disciplines in Portugal. Lei 71/2013 is the product of a long process extending over a number of years and clearly sets out the requirements in terms of education and regulation for practitioners of CAM disciplines who do not have a conventional medical training but who wish to practise their discipline competently and responsibly.  Read the rest of this entry »

Secrets of trial data revealed Records of side effects seen in clinical tests are missing from publicly available documents.

Nature cover 10.10.13With thanks to Nature Vol. 502. 10.10.2013. Pages 153-155. Secrets of Trial date revealed: records of side effects seen in clinical tests are missing from publicly available documents.

See also

‘… Drug companies, regulatory bodies and research groups are in a deadlock over plans to throw open the vaults of sensitive data gleaned from clinical trials. But just as the battle seems to be coming to a head, a study (B. Wieseler et al. PLoS Medicine 10, e1001526; 2013) has revealed exactly why the restricted information could be so valuable to researchers. Read the rest of this entry »

Undue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review

Conflict of InterestsUndue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Volume 43, Issue 5, pages 469–475, May 2013. Emmanuel Stamatakis1,2,, Richard Weiler3, John P.A. Ioannidis4,5, Article first published online: 25 MAR 2013


See also

See also


Abstract: Background: Expenditure on industry products (mostly drugs and devices) has spiraled over the last 15 years and accounts for substantial part of healthcare expenditure. The enormous financial interests involved in the development and marketing of drugs and devices may have given excessive power to these industries to influence medical research, policy, and practice.

Material and methods: Review of the literature and analysis of the multiple pathways through which the industry has directly or indirectly infiltrated the broader healthcare systems. We present the analysis of the industry influences at the following levels: (i) evidence base production, (ii) evidence synthesis, (iii) understanding of safety and harms issues, (iv) cost-effectiveness evaluation, (v) clinical practice guidelines formation, (vi) healthcare professional education, (vii) healthcare practice, (viii) healthcare consumer’s decisions.

Results: We located abundance of consistent evidence demonstrating that the industry has created means to intervene in all steps of the processes that determine healthcare research, strategy, expenditure, practice and education. As a result of these interferences, the benefits of drugs and other products are often exaggerated and their potential harms are downplayed, and clinical guidelines, medical practice, and healthcare expenditure decisions are biased. 

Conclusion: To serve its interests, the industry masterfully influences evidence base production, evidence synthesis, understanding of harms issues, cost-effectiveness evaluations, clinical practice guidelines and healthcare professional education and also exerts direct influences on professional decisions and health consumers. There is an urgent need for regulation and other action towards redefining the mission of medicine towards a more objective and patient-, population- and society-benefit direction that is free from conflict of interests.  Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Downey junior seeks homeopathic help for his son

Robert Downey Junior and Indigo juniorWith thanks to 3.10.13 and Contact 2.10.13:

From  ‘… Robert Downey Jr. is no stranger to the life of addiction, and now it seems as if his oldest son, 20-year-old Indio Downey, is seeking help in rehab for his addiction to prescription pain medication. Apparently, Indio’s mother, Deborah Falconer, confirmed to the National Enquirer that he has sought treatment. However, she also noted that we wasn’t necessarily “addicted,” as he was only taking one pill a day. But, in my opinion, when you don’t need the meds, then one-a-day is one too many. It’s not a vitamin, folks. If Indio’s addiction is true, then we’re so glad he’s seeking treatment while he’s still young and his body malleable. “He was not addicted,” says Debbie. “He was taking one pill a day,” and his rehab primarily consists of “holistic, natural and orthomolecular” treatments.“We are hoping to do it the homeopathic way rather than with medications.”…’ Read the rest of this entry »

Homeopathy takes hold in the Lebanon

LebanonWith thanks to The Daily Star 10.10.13:

From  BEIRUT: Alternative medical treatments are becoming ever more popular in Lebanon. Holistic treatments such as reiki, acupuncture, homeopathy and Chinese herbal medicine are catching on with the public, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations and increased international exposure via celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and David Beckham, practitioners say. These treatments are currently exempt from state regulation and in the absence of self-regulatory bodies, which often govern non-mainstream medical practices in countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., qualified practitioners say there is little to prevent charlatans from passing themselves off as experts. Read the rest of this entry »