Old-school medicine making a comeback


Some people swear by it. Others doubt it. What’s undeniable, however, is that homeopathic medicine sales were up 15.7% in 2011 to $173 million in natural supermarkets (excluding Whole Foods) and food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to SPINSscan Natural. And with media reports of recalls, dangerous and lethal side effects, counterfeiting and contamination, the homeopathic school of medicine founded by Samuel Hahnemann in 1800 is making a comeback.

According to a January 2011 study commissioned by homeopathic remedy maker Boiron and conducted by the Hartman Group, 15% of shoppers used homeopathic medicine for themselves, while 14% used it for their children and 59% expressed some familiarity with homeopathy. Meanwhile, 46% have successfully used alternative or natural OTC medicine, and 37% are interested in trying. And according to the National Center for Homeopathy, sales of homeopathic remedies rose from $170 million in 1995 to $870 million in 2009.

Those are some of the figures that DSN editor-in-chief Rob Eder took to Washington when he joined American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists president and Boiron VP operations and regulatory affairs Mark Land, AAHP legal counsel Al Lorman, and Samueli Institute president and CEO Wayne Jonas for an AAHP-hosted congressional briefing in September 2011 for House of Representative staffers.

After a heyday in the 1800s, homeopathy gradually began to die out in the early 1900s following the 1910 publication of the “Flexner Report” by the Carnegie Foundation and the American Medical Association, which cast doubt on homeopathy, chiropractics and even pharmacy. By the 1940s, medical schools specializing in homeopathy had all shut down. It then started making a comeback in the 1970s with the rise of the health food movement and took off in the 1990s with the rise in popularity of natural health products.

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