31 August 2011

Alternative medicine

Also known as "medicine". When it actually works.

In this case, not so much.

But it is still an interesting question about what sort, if any, interventions are necessary by government to deal with these ineffectual products (homeopathy, almost literally the same sugar and water of the generic placebo variety) being sold by the millions.

And I'd have to agree, the proper public policy response is basically to put a label on there to warn people that they're being hoodwinked, but let them if they wish to proceed from that to waste their money and time on ineffective (or at best placebo) treatment. It's really only fraud if people are unaware of the benefits and risks of their fiscal transactions. If they're still dumb after being informed that they're reliably going to be wasting their money, I say let them be taken advantage of.

One interesting qualifier would be that there could probably be better or more transparent information about actual medicines and their measurable effectiveness against various ailments. There are plenty of pills out there that can cost a minor fortune and yet have almost zero health impacts relative to placebos. In other words, there's plenty of actual medicine that's barely mediciny.
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