Despite the scientific, medical and academic rejections of homeopathy, Governments have been less enthusiastic in protecting their citizens from this modern day snake-oil. The European Union is a special case, for homeopathic pseudoscience not only can count on Governments’ and policy-makers lack of interest in protecting people; but when that interest is somehow achieved, the Union then starts lobbying for homeopathy.
Take Spain, for example. In December 2017, the European Union issued a letter of formal notice to Spain, calling them “to remove restrictions on imports of homeopathic medicines“. Yes, “medicines” — according to the European Commission, homeopathy is “medicine” (!), and Spain should allow its population to be exposed to the most expensive sugar on Earth marketed as “medicine”, lest the country pays a fine.
Last month, Spaniard Member of the European Parliament Soledad Cabezón asked the European Commission for a revision of the designation of homeopathic substances as medicinal products.
Although the Commission’s written reply has not yet been issued, we already have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to say, and it’s not even remotely heartening:
[…] European Commission sources insist that obstacles cannot be placed in the way of the marketing of ‘homeopathic medicines’ within the internal market. What is more, the EU is considering analyzing the maneuvers or legislation of certain countries in relation to this pseudo-science by obstructing their traffic. And what room for maneuver does a country have to make it difficult to sell? The Spanish Government claimed to be tied hand and foot when it came to banning the marketing of these products, including the removal of the ‘medicinal product’ label. Can Spain do this unilaterally? Brussels doubts it. “If a country tries to do so, our lawyers will analyze and answer the question […]. It is not for us to say what Spain can or cannot do at this point. When their intentions become legislation, we will see then”, the institution’s sources say. However, they stress time and again that ‘at EU level, the legislation refers to homeopathic medicinal products’. There’s no way around that.
To keep a Government from protecting its citizens so that charlatans from other countries can live off people’s despair is a dumb move — who would have thought the Commission is so hell-bent on giving Brexiters more ammo?