An investigation by BBC South West – a regional arm of the BBC – could result in homeopathic vaccines endorsed by future king of England, Prince Charles, being withdrawn from sale. The company supplying these sugar pills, Ainsworths, has the royal warrant for supplying homeopathic products. Products with the royal seal (a coat of arms) are those regularly supplied to the royal family for a period of no less than thirty six months and deemed of high quality by the Queen, her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, or her first born son, the Prince of Wales (Charles). Ainsworth’s bears not only the royal seal but that of the three feathers of the Prince of Wales. A spokesperson for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has stated that action has been taken so that Ainsworths can, “no longer advertis[e] their homeopathic products as alternative treatments to proven, conventional vaccines.”
Homeopathy supporters are quick to claim that vaccines work on homeopathic principles, that is, that like cures like. What seems to escape them is that, unlike homeopathic nosodes, there are measurable amounts of antigens found in vaccines and that these are prophylactic and not curative products. Vociferous British based supporters believe that homeopathy should be universally available free via the NHS (National Health Service). Worryingly, the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt has, in the past, shown his support for this.
Ainsworth’s “vaccines” supposedly protect against the diseases for which real vaccines are routinely given in the UK including, HiB, measles, mumps, and rubella. Investigators found that the company were also offering a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. The UK is currently suffering its worst pertussis outbreak since the 1980s; last year thirteen infants died of the disease.
This is not the first time the royals have lent their endorsement to dangerous products. In February 1999, the royal seal was removed from all Gallaher tobacco products after being emblazoned on the Benson & Hedges brand for one hundred and twenty two years. In this instance it was Charles who was instrumental in move. Speaking at the time, Clive Bates, leader of anti-smoking pressure group ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), commented that the seal, “…adds a lustre of respectability and prestige to Benson and Hedges cigarettes that the product simply does not deserve.”
Perhaps because of this royal endorsement and the calls for homeopathy to be incorporated into NHS provision it, too, has a, “lustre of respectability and prestige” that lends it the likeness of plausibility. Even businesses whose bottom line is profit have fallen for the homeopathy magic. Companies offering pet insurance will often accept a pet as vaccinated if it has received only homeopathic nosodes.
Homeopathy is costing the UK consumer even if he or she is not credulous enough to believe in it. Tax payers are footing the bill not just in the cost of treating diseases that can be prevented by actual vaccines but certain NHS trusts (the regional governing bodies of the NHS) fund homeopathy. Worse, homeopathy, in place of vaccination, can, potentially, cost those who do believe in it the life and health of their beloved pets and, most horrifically still, that of their children.