Guerrilla tactics against Boots and the homeopathic menace
Boots the pharmacy is a British institution, widely trusted and respected. However, they've decided to sell homeopathic remedies, a saddening choice. Join my campaign for truth and science, by replacing point-of-sale information with my own flyers detailing the facts about homeopathy.
- About Boots
- Starting the guerrilla campaign against Boots and homeopathy
- A message to Boots customers
- My argument against Boots selling homeopathic remedies
- Get involved, print your own!
- Find out more
Boots has been a high street UK retailer for over 150 years, respected by the public and trusted to deliver sound medical solutions and effective medicines. They describe themselves as The UK's leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, operating around 2,600 stores. Unfortunately Boots have decided to jeopardize their reputation in pursuit of profits, by selling mysticism in the form of homeopathic "remedies".
Starting the guerrilla campaign against Boots and homeopathy
Boots use little "flap" style devices all over their shelving, the space for the marketing flyer is 150mm by 75mm. I took several printed copies of my flyer to my local store (Trafford Park, Manchester) and carefully inserted them into the displays around the homeopathy products. Read the sections below for more details on what the flyer says.
I went back and checked the next day and they were all still there. I don't know how long they'll last, but hopefully they'll be read by some shoppers and employees before they're removed.
If you're going to do this yourself be careful not to damage the shelf or the Boots leaflet which is already in the flap, just slip the new one in front of the existing printout.
A message to Boots customers
I decided upon a wording of a message that I'd like to share with Boots customers:
Scientists have devised a technique called the Randomised Controlled Trial, which corrects for errors in thinking, placebo effects and other biases.
Through these trials, scientists have been able to reliably demonstrate that, when all sources of error are removed, homeopathy does not work.
Boots know this, but will take your money anyway. If you rely upon homeopathic treatment you may not get better, but at least Boots will profit from your purchases.
Thanks to the ten23 campaign website for assistance with the exact wording.
My argument against Boots selling homeopathic remedies
First, I want to make it very clear that I have no objection to the development of ever-better medical treatment. It doesn't matter what label is attached or where the idea came from.
What does matter is that a new treatment should be properly tested and found to exhibit acceptable levels of risk, side-affect and efficacy.
It is very difficult to correctly test medical treatments. The human body is complicated - illnesses go into spontaneous remission, symptoms change and humans are very poor judges of cause and effect. Scientists have spent years refining techniques and experimental practices that allow us to know with a high degree of certainty how well a medicine performs.
- Tests are performed under controlled conditions
- The results are published, regardless of them being positive or negative
- The tests are reviewed and repeated by independent peers
Homeopathy hasn't successfully passed a test of this type. It isn't a proven treatment, it's just a collection of opinions and anecdotes. But when people see homeopathy being sold by a trusted provider like Boots they assume it is a proven treatment. They assume that Boots will have vetted the products they sell and will only stock those that are known to be effective. They're wrong of course, the only correct assumption to make is that Boots values profits more highly than integrity.
Get involved, print your own!
My goal with this project is to get Boots to rethink its decision to stock homeopathy products. One way to do this is to educate consumers (so they don't buy them) and Boots employees (so they object to the products).
The image to flyer can be viewed in full size here. The file is 2976px by 4209px and 1.3MB in size. When printed at 360dpi, or full page on an A4 sheet, you'll have 3 leaflets of your own to leave in a local Boots store.
So please get involved, and send me your comments and details of your efforts!
Even it you can't print your own flyer, at the very least please post the URL for this article on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else thats relevant - http://nut.bz/1qy4klgt
Find out more
- How to contact me. I'm always happy to provide evidence and facts to back up my comments. If you have questions or would like an interview then please get in touch.
- Read the book Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, next time you see a claim relating to a new medicine (either from a practitioner or in the media) you'll have a fighting chance of telling facts from hype.
- Comment on this page. Just keep it civil! ;)