A homeopathic preparation called “influenzinum”

Canada…you’re supposed to be more sensible than the US. You know this. What are you doing?

Health Canada licenses homeopathic vaccines

Come on. Really?

Most Canadians were born too recently to see the night-and-day difference in public health brought about by immunizations—individuals who witnessed the horrors of the polio epidemics of the 1950s first hand are now well into old age, and many have passed away. Good health can be taken for granted when the public does not properly understand the link between that same good health and the measures that made it possible, and unfortunately, history and science cannot always conquer misinformation, mistrust, and fear.

Enter “alternatives.”

It is disheartening enough that mis­information about vaccines is spread by voices ranging from outspoken celebrities like Jennifer MacCarthy[5] to various alternative medicine trades,[6] but it is cause for urgent concern when public institutions entrusted with the health of Canadians enable misinformation about endemic communicable diseases to go forward with the imprimatur of science.

Health Canada is responsible for ensuring that remedies sold to the public are both safe and effective. In recent years, however, Health Canada has allowed various natural health products to enter the market without requiring rigorous proof of effectiveness. Indeed, there are many remedies and homeopathic preparations currently licensed for sale that do not contain any of the allegedly active ingredient. A number of these are hom­eo­pathic “nosodes.” These are ultradilute (typically diluted far be­yond the point where anything is left except solvent) preparations of infectious agents or infected tissue, and are administered as an “oral vaccine.”[7]

Although real vaccines use low doses of part of an infectious agent to prevent disease, homeopathic preparations typically are diluted beyond the point where a single molecule remains.

I don’t know if the US allows that or not. Even if it doesn’t, we can’t brag, because it does allow “religious exemptions” in the majority of states, which basically just means it allows exemptions on request. That’s pretty much the same thing as an “oral vaccine” with nothing in it but solvent.

Remarkably, at the same time as Health Canada focuses on influenza education, flu shots, and other proven prevention measures, that same body has licensed 10 products with a homeopathic preparation called “influenzinum.”[8] According to providers, in­fluenzinum is for “preventing the flu and its related symptoms.”[9]

Homeopathic vaccines are available for other infectious diseases as well. Health Canada licenses homeopathic preparations purported to prevent polio,[10] measles,[11] and pertussis.[12]

Oh dear god. Canada, shame on you.


  1. Glendon Mellow says

    Next my beloved government will be planning to allow homeopathic seat belts thinner than a human hair, followed by air bags the size of an inflated condom and then at last, the homeopathic maple syrup we’ve all been waiting for.

  2. Robert B. says

    How about we tell everyone that homeopathic vaccines cause autism?

    I mean, as long as we’ve got two wrongs sitting around, we might as well try to make something out of them.

  3. Tim Harris says

    Ah, but, Glendom Mellow, wait till the homeopathic condoms are invented – even Andrew Sullivan will have no cause for complaint (though the Magisterium of the RC Church will doubtless find a way of justifying continued objections).

  4. latsot says

    Sadly, here in the UK we have a National Health Service riddled with ‘alternative treatments’. Officially, the Department of Health ‘does not maintain a position’ on crazy shit they know doesn’t work, which allows individual NHS organisations to supply homeopathy if they want to. This is an intolerable situation.

    I just had a look at the NHS Direct site (which is where you go to convince yourself you have every disease they list) with mixed feelings (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/homeopathy/Pages/Introduction.aspx). Although it says clearly that there’s no evidence that homeopathy works, it’s a bit too nice about if for my liking.

    But check out the section on “what can we conclude from the evidence?” http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/homeopathy/Pages/Introduction.aspx#evidence

    That’s reasonably brutal. I especially like the last paragraph which basically says “if you want to use water to cure yourself then go right ahead, but you’ll be an idiot.”

    But the sad fact remains that we have doctors prescribing homeopathy on the NHS and even some NHS homeopathic ‘hospitals’, all funded by taxpayers.

  5. Sercee says

    I heard about this a while ago, and actually wrote in to my MP and a bunch of people about it. I happen to have the only non-Conservative MP in Alberta, so she’s quite vocal and awesome, but completely hamstrung due to the bullshit way our government is set up. Harper scares the crap out of me, and things like this just make it worse. I’ve repeatedly warned people that he’s dismantling our country, and he is. I love Canada, but it’s going to be a cesspool very soon if people don’t wake the fuck up.

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