AJM online Letter| Volume 123, ISSUE 6, e21, June 2010

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The Reply

      We are sorry if our reference 1 was partly misleading.
      • Baum M.
      • Ernst E.
      Should we maintain an open mind about homeopathy?.
      In the blog we refer to, Kaplan spoke of our “relentless attacks on homeopathy,” claimed that we “use evidence-based medicine as a club with which to attempt to batter homeopaths into submission,” called us “nannies” and attributed qualities like “ignorance” and “hypocrisy” to our names. We are truly sorry that he feels battered by our criticisms, but in turn, we find his words rather hurtful. However, we concede that it was a mistake on our part to claim that his blog also suggested we were in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry. In fact the correct reference for that assertion should have been:
      We have no conflict of interest as neither of us is in receipt of consultancy fees or other retainers from the pharmaceutical industry, but even if we were, it would be foolish, as well as insulting, to suggest that this would in some way fuel our motivation for attacking homeopathy. Homeopathy is no threat to Big Pharma. Furthermore, one of us (MB), a surgeon by trade, has spent most of his career challenging the role of surgery in the treatment of breast cancer, which suggests that conflict of interest is not automatically associated with loss of scientific integrity. Some might think that Kaplan might have a conflict of interest himself in so fiercely defending homeopathy, but we don't, as we are sure he practices in good faith and that his very success is reflected in the support he enjoys from his clients.
      Kaplan concludes his blog by stating, “There is a limit to how much time I am prepared to read, think and talk about those who wish to control and coerce people whom they think are unable to think for themselves.”
      We are therefore very flattered that he spared some more of his precious time to read our paper, and we hope that our gentle words of reconciliation might take the debate back into the realm of polite disputation.


        • Baum M.
        • Ernst E.
        Should we maintain an open mind about homeopathy?.
        Am J Med. 2009; 122: 973-974

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      • A Misleading Reference in Your Journal
        The American Journal of MedicineVol. 123Issue 6
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          In their first reference,1 the writers, Baum and Ernst, refer to me, Brian Kaplan, MBBCh, at the end of the first paragraph.2 It is thus clearly implied that I personally am an example of an “individual” who is “claiming that those wanting to carry out the trials are in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry and are part of a conspiracy to deny their patients tried and tested palliatives.”
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