In accordance to the Marburg Declaration *), we wrote the Freiburg Declaration on Homeopathy at our INH foundation meeting.
Homeopathy is neither naturopathy nor medicine
Despite the political support and the silence of those who should know better, homeopathy is and remains a procedure that clearly contradicts sound scientific foundations. The members and promoters of the “Information Network Homeopathy” see homeopathy as a persistent doctrine that is neither naturopathy nor medicine. Doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians, biologists, natural scientists and other committed critics of homeopathy have come together in the network, which unites the goal of bringing this often veiled fact more clearly into the consciousness of society.
No special status for homeopathy
In more than 200 years of its existence, homeopathy has not managed to prove its specific effectiveness according to objective criteria. Rather, it survives only because it has a special status in the German health system, which the experts of the network do not believe it deserves. While pharmaceutical drugs have to prove their effectiveness according to objective criteria, homeopathy is exempt from this. We oppose such a two-tier system in medicine.
Homeopathy has also failed to demonstrate a plausible mechanism of action. Instead, its representatives give the impression that there are still uncertainties needed to be clarified. We vehemently contradict this. Homeopathy is not an unconventional method that requires further scientific examination. Its foundation consists of long-disproved theses such as the “rule of similarity”, the “vital force” or the “potentiation by dilution”.
Self-deception of patient and therapist
We don’t deny any therapeutic effects that can be achieved within the framework of homeopathic treatment. However, these have nothing to do with the specifically administered homeopathic remedy. Rather, the presumed and supposedly experienced effectiveness of homeopathic preparations is based on the suggestion and autosuggestion of patients and therapists. The mechanisms of such (self-)deceptions are manifold, but well known and researched. Improvements in well-being caused by contextual effects cannot and must not be causally attributed to the homeopathic remedy. We assume that many homeopathic physicians and alternative practitioners are not aware of the existence and variety of such mechanisms and act with the best of intentions. However, this does not change the fact that the conclusions they draw are wrong and can, therefore, be harmful.
Medicine and Science
We are by no means claiming that the scientific method we advocate can currently recognize and explain everything. But it enables us to explain that homeopathy cannot explain itself. And it is the best way we have to distinguish effective treatments from ineffective ones. A belief in the promise of salvation that is firmly anchored in the population, which is further nourished by interested parties, politics, and journalism, can never be a guideline for action in medicine.
Our aim of this declaration
The goals of our criticism are neither the patient seeking healing nor the individual homeopathically working therapist, but the established doctrine and the institutions of the health care system, which could recognize the absurdity of homeopathy long ago, but nevertheless do not intervene. We call upon the actors of the scientifically based health care system to finally turn away from homeopathy and other pseudo-medical procedures and return to what should be taken for granted: Scientifically validated, fair and generally comprehensible rules for high-quality medicine, geared to the well-being of patients.
Freiburg, February 2016
Dr.-Ing. Norbert Aust, Initiator Information Network Homeopathy
Dr. med. Natalie Grams, Head of Information Network Homeopathy
Amardeo Sarma, GWUP Chairman and Fellow of CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry)
Prof. Dr. Edzard Ernst, University of Exeter, UK
Prof. Dr. Rudolf Happle, author of the Marburg Declaration on Homeopathy
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Hell, chairman of the science board of the GWUP
Prof. Norbert Schmacke, Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research, University of Bremen
Dr. rer. nat. Christian Weymayr, freelance medical journalist
*) Given 1992 by the medical faculty of the University of Marburg, Germany, against the attempt to make homeopathy compulsory in medical curricula