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Keeping therapies “complementary”, not “alternative”

No impunity for homeopathy peddlers - Featured Image

IN 2013, a 21-year-old Spanish physics student, Mario Rodríguez, died of leukaemia after refusing a second round of chemotherapy in favour of “natural” remedies recommended by his homeopath. In the wake of his son’s death, Mario’s grieving father, Julián Rodríguez, launched a legal action against the homeopath for reckless homicide and “professional intrusion” (essentially, falsely pretending to have medical knowledge). The homeopath had prescribed 4000 euros worth of alternative medicines to Mario, including vitamins, fungi and alcohol, according to a report in the Independent. He denied allegations he had claimed to be able to cure cancer, saying: “we train the body to enhance recovery and if cancer is cured, then perfect”. The case became something of a cause célèbre in Spain, pitting those who are sceptical of alternative therapies against supporters. Rodríguez senior became an active campaigner, forming an association to “protect the ill from pseudoscientific therapies”. Earlier this year, Spanish courts absolved the homeopath of blame, saying Mario was responsible for the decision to abandon conventional treatment and criticising his father for attempting to turn the case…