Italian blogger, Samuele Riva is being sued by Boiron, a French company that sells homoeopathic quackery. In fact, Boiron is the largest manufacturer of homoeopathic products in the world and the second largest manufacturer of over-the-counter products in France. This is big business, which is probably why the company was so stung when some random Italian pointed out just how silly this pseudoscience really is.
The product that Riva picked up on is Ooscillococcinum – and this really does deserve all the mockery that can be piled onto it. The company claims that the product has been made by diluting “oscillococcinum” (which doesn’t actually exist) at 1:100 dilution 200 times. This is the equivalent of diluting 1ml of original ingredient into a volume of water that is the size of the known universe.
Or, as Steven Novella of Science Based Medicine very eloquently puts it:
[E]ssentially Boiron takes fairy dust and then dilutes it out of (non)existence.
Novella summarises by saying:
I hope Boiron does draw a line in the sand over their oscillococcinum product, and that it becomes the center piece of a broader public discussion about homeopathy. Most of the public does not understand what homeopathy actually is. They think it means “natural” or “herbal” medicine. They have no idea that homeopathy is about taking fanciful ingredients with a dubious connection to the symptoms in the first place, and then diluting them into oblivion, then placing a drop of the pure water that remains and placing it on a sugar pill. The resultant pill is then supposed to contain the magic vibrations of the original substance.
This rank pseudoscience, which has no place in 21st century medicine, is the business of Boiron. Let’s see them try to defend themselves and their products. Let’s see them harass bloggers and those who are just trying to expose the public to the truth. Let’s see them argue in public how air bubbles in duck liver fantastically diluted can treat the flu.
Riva’s blog is in Italian, but he has set up an English Page, Boiron vs Blogzero, to provide updates on the affair.