High-street retailer Boots shocked MPs yesterday, when a senior member of staff admitted they only stock homeopathic remedies because they sell - and not because they work...
High-street retailer Boots shocked MPs yesterday, when a senior member of staff admitted they only stock homeopathic remedies because they sell – and not because they work.
Paul Bennett, professional standards director for Boots, told a committee of MPs that: ‘there is certainly a consumer demand for these products. I have no evidence to suggest they are efficacious.’
‘It is about consumer choice for us and a large number of our customers believe they are efficacious.’
His comments recall Gerald Ratner‘s fatal admission in 1991 that one of the gifts sold by his chain of jewellers was ‘total crap’.
Mr Bennett made his comments to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, which is investigating the scientific evidence behind homoeopathy.
According to reports in The Telegraph, the industry is now worth £40m per year in the UK, and manufacturers claim homeopathic remedies can work all kids of wonders, from preventing yellow fever to alleviating toothache and reversing hearing loss.
But there are growing concerns over whether the homeopathic remedies have any effect. Since 2006, manufacturers have been allowed to claim their products can treat specific ailments, as long as they can prove the treatment is safe.
The committee also heard there is little evidence the remedies work other than as a placebo. But Robert Wilson, chairman of the British Association of Homeopathic Manufacturers, told the committee that there is ‘strong evidence’ that homoeopathy works.
‘Boots are a very important retailer, they sell a great deal of these products. If these products don’t work beyond the placebo effect, why do people keep buying them?’
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