If Nelsons goods are banned from being imported into the US…

August 10, 2012

…guess which US homeopathy advocate is still flogging one of their products on his website?

UK based manufacturer of homeopathic remedies Nelsons have been severely reprimanded by the US FDA for a slew of manufacturing cock-ups. [ Quackometer | FDA letter to Nelsons]

Cock-ups include:

  • “glass fragments present during the manufacture” and ” in the Clikpak Assembly”
  • “one out of every six bottles did not receive the dose of active homeopathic drug solution due to the wobbling and vibration of the bottle assembly during filling of the active ingredient. The active ingredient was instead seen dripping down the outside of the vial assembly. Your firm lacked controls to ensure that the active ingredient is delivered to every bottle.”
  • “The dosing process has not been validated appropriately. Specifically, your surrogate validation study, “Medication of un-medicated pillules with (b)(4),” visually demonstrates the variability of the amount of (b)(4) for the pillules in one vial. Your firm lacks control of the variation for the amount of the active ingredient in the pillules.”
  • “Your firm does not have an established written program to calibrate/qualify the Perkin Elmer Clarus gas chromatograph (GC) at suitable intervals.”
  • ” Your firm did not calibrate and qualify the Jasco high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) instrumentation adequately, in that there is no periodic qualification or evaluation of the pump, oven, injector, or detector. The “Use and Calibration of HPLC” procedure does not include criteria to define adequate calibration of the instrument.”

Basically – they don’t manufacture their remedies in a controlled and consistent manner, and they cannot monitor this because it’s homeopathy, there’s nothing to monitor they don’t maintain the equipment for doing so in the correct and proper fashion.

If this was a real drug company, the implications could be disastrous. If one in six packs of antibiotics was duff, you can bet that we’d hear about that and there would be huge fines levied all round.

One wonders if users of the duff batches of remedies noticed the lack of “powerful gentle natural effective” homeopathic active ingredient, and promptly complained to Nelsons about this?

This failure to adhere to best practice has landed Nelsons on the FDA red list [Link – scroll down to United Kingdom] – “Detention Without Physical Examination of Drugs From Firms Which Have Not Met Drug GMPs” – it seems (from my reading of this notice) that Nelsons cannot export their goods to the US, and if US customers officials discover people bringing Nelsons products into the US they are to confiscate the goods. This will clearly have a negative impact on their US exports, and Nelsons are clearly rather proud of their export success [Link].

NB. Nelsons also make the Prince Charles’ Duchy Orignal line of herbal remedies [Link – Warning – Daily Mail].

So, can Nelsons products be sold in the US?

I don’t know about the legal ramification about being on the red list, but I cannot find mention of a US based manufacturing facility. Indeed, the Nelsons website states that

Our range of products meet the appropriate UK and global regulatory and licensing requirements, and are made in our Wimbledon manufacturing facility which operates to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and rigorous procedures. [Link]

Clearly the FDA might have something to say about the “Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and rigorous procedures”.

However, as Nelsons homeopathic products are manufactured in Wimbledon, UK, it follows that any Nelsons products sold in the US must have been imported. I don’t imagine that the FDA red notice acts retrospectively, but obviously, as we are repeatedly told that “homeopathy is exceedingly popular and therefore it must work” 🙂 – one imagines that US stocks of Nelsons goods will soon run dry. I invite you to keep your eye on this page [link – warning – may cause nausea and temporary blindness ;)] to see when then this occurs.

Obviously, such a high profile and conscientious homeopath will ensure that the information on his website will remain up-to-date and entirely responsible. Moreover, given the concerns about the quality of Nelsons goods, one wonders if said homeopath will stop supplying them, to avoid the stigma of being tainted by Nelsons new-earned reputation for poor quality goods.

£4.2bn cuts to the Universities?

October 15, 2010
Great Hall before BUAFTAs night

Image by Nickster 2000 via Flickr

So it came to pass that the £4.2bn cut didn’t happen – whether it was on the cards, or was an erroneous leak, who can say. But this post isn’t going to be deleted – just left in place as a monument to a jerking-knee and as a constant reminder about Cameron’s pledge to science…

A quick and hopefully not too ranty post in which I point out that David Cameron is a liar.

The great hall of Birmingham University is quite an imposing place. It is where I sat my final biochemistry exam and where my graduation was held in 2000.


It was also chosen as the venue for the 3rd and final election debate for the 2010 UK general election. On the 29th of April this year, the leaders of the three political parties answered a variety of questions on the public finances, education and business.

During this exchange, David Cameron responded to a question regarding the rebuilding of the manufacturing industry in the UK as follows:

“Let’s start with investing in our science base and making sure great universities like this are producing the scientists and entrepreneurs of the future.”

And despite these fine and (dare I say), wholly sensible words, today it has been revealed that the UK university and science sectors will have their budgets slashed by an amazing £4.2bn.

This is most certainly not investing in our science base.

This is destroying it.

As the Science is Vital campaign has been so good at pointing out, a supply of well trained graduates and the maintenance of world class centres of research and innovation are essential for the continued existence of STEM-based industries within the UK economy, which account for roughly 40% of our GDP.

This is a huge backwards step which will do nothing for the UK economy – the short term gain by saving £4.2bn will translate into long term pain, as STEM-based industries desert the United Kingdom for countries like the US, Canada, Germany, etc which have the presence and forethought to maintain investment in their universities and research institutes.

I am afraid that I don’t have the literary legerdemain to describe how annoyed, frustrated and depressed I am about this without descending into a tirade of profanity.

What’s wrong with this photo?

April 23, 2010

The wonderful @medtek pointed us to this website where some homeopaths are talking about their campaign to exploit exploit the people of Haiti with their highly ritualised placebo.

They provide this nice picture,

taken from the homeopathy clinic, the inference being that it is showing many people queuing up outside the homeopathy clinic to get treatment.

Now, the image isn’t the greatest quality (I took it as was from the above website – fair use claimed, etc etc) – but, (please download it yourself and take a closer look…_

if all those people are queuing up for homeopathic treatment, why are they mostly facing the other way?

EDIT: I have just figured out what is going on here. This is, homeopathically speaking, a *very* powerful crowd. The dilution of the 5 or so people looking the right way with the hundreds (?) of people looking the other way clearly potentiates their effect.

EDIT EDIT: Also it has been pointed out that this photo is taken from outside the medical clinic – presumably the one outside which they set up shop. Everyone still looking the other way. Strange. Article infers that those people were waiting for homeo, and comment 1 certainly makes that assumption.

Boobquake vs Boobcano.

April 21, 2010

Weapons of mass distraction.

Brief seismological news –  Iranian Cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi blames earthquakes on exposed flesh – he recently decreed that:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,”

Now, other than the fact that this is about as likely as Deepak Chopra causing an earthquake via the power of meditation, this is clearly a rather misogynistic assertion.  This has rightly ticked off many people, but a couple of skeptical ladies, Jen McCreight & Rebecca Watson, have taken his comments to heart, and lo! The scientific experiment that is Boobquake is born.

  • Hypothesis: Exposed female flesh causes earthquakes.
  • Methods: Get as many ladies as possible to wear something revealing on a given day & monitor for seismic activity.
  • If we get increased seismic activity on that day – Boobs cause earthquakes. Got that?

Given that various geological organisations constantly monitor seismic activity – that part of the experiment is taken care of. So how do you get lots of people involved? Why, Facebook of course! At the time of writing, the facebook event for “boobquake” has over 16,000 confirmed guests. About six hours ago it was only 10,000.

So boobquake is go.

However, a friend of mine has pointed out a potential flaw in boobquake.

The people of Iceland, what with their financial woes and their volcano, have had an inordinate amount of press attention recently. Amongst other things, they have recently (March 25) elected to ban stripping and lap dancing clubs, thus preventing women from dressing immodestly.

And on the 14th of April – Eyjafjallajökull erupts. Coincidence?

Clearly not. Whilst the earthquake god dislikes boobs, the volcano god is clearly appeased by them.

Women of the Earth – your choice is simple:

  1. Cover up, stop earthquakes, but cause volcanoes.
  2. Show some cleavage, cause earthquakes, but put a stop to volcanoes.

Choose wisely.

My snoring causes M7.2 Earthquake in California.

April 9, 2010

A quick note on causality and earthquacks. (with a tip-o’the-hat to @batarista)

On Sunday the 4th of April 2010, at 3:40 in the afternoon, the residents of Baja California experienced the effects of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. One might have assumed that this was down to plate tectonics – the North America plate moving past the Pacific plate, as indeed the US geological survey said in their earthquake summary.

However, they are wrong. It has emerged, via the medium of twitter, that this was not the case. It turns out that alt-med guru and transcendental navel-gazer Deepak Chopra has the answer. Indeed, he is the answer.

Not long after the quake he tweeted:

Had a powerful meditation just now — caused an earthquake in Southern California

It just so happened that at the same time (23:40, BST) I was sound asleep. And if my wife’s constant complaints are anything to go by, probably snoring.

Therefore I proclaim that Deepak Chopra is wrong. It was my snoring that caused the earthquack. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to those who suffered any ill-effects as a result of this unintentional side-effect of my snoring. Sorry.

PS if Deepak Chopra disagrees with me, let him prove that he was the cause of the earthquack…