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Pharmacology and/or homeopathy
  1. Peter Lees
  1. Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA
  1. e-mail: plees{at}

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PHARMACOLOGICAL and homeopathic approaches to veterinary therapeutics are neither healthy competitors nor uneasy bedfellows. They are, in my opinion, incompatible. Pharmacology is an offshoot of physiology and biochemistry. At its simplest and for most drugs, it proposes that the response to the drug (or hormone or neurotransmitter) results from its action on a receptor or an enzyme. A drug molecule interacts with another molecule (in the animal's body or in/on a microorganism/parasite) to initiate a series of reactions leading to the response. The more drug molecules available the greater the effect, up to a maximum level of response. Commonly, these concentration- and dose-effect relationships are sigmoidal. Homeopathic remedies, on the other hand, do not rely on molecules acting on other molecules. It is true that one starts with, potentially, active molecules, but then (for most if not all homoeopathic remedies) a series of dilutions is carried out, leading to a product that statistically is likely to contain exceedingly few or even no molecules. No or few molecules remain, but what does remain apparently is ‘memory’, however ill-defined that may be.

When I read that €2 million of European (including British) taxpayers' money was to be …

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