In India, Homeopaths Now Can Write Prescriptions

January 13th, 2014
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I hate to pick on the nation of India all the time for bone-headed homeopathy policy, but it’s hard to avoid.  For a nation which has been growing technically, by leaps and bounds, even sending probes to the moon and beyond, India still seems to have healthcare regulations from the middle-ages.

It also should be seen as a warning to the rest of the world.  In India, homeopathy has taken hold an is respected more than perhaps anywhere else in the world.   Contrary to popular belief, homeopathy is “western” medicine, as it was dreamed up in Germany.  Modern science has long rejected it, and, indeed, it never really gained much of a following in mainstream medicine.  Yet in a few places, most notably India, homeopaths have become a strong and organized force.  They have demanded the same respect and privileges as real doctors and have often gotten it.

Via FirstPost India:

Homeopaths can do one-year course, prescribe allopathy drugs: Maha govt

In a move that could benefit over 60,000 homeopaths practising in Maharashtra and one that has invited shock and anger from MBBS doctors and others, the Maharashtra government has given its nod to a proposal to permit homeopaths to prescribe allopathic drugs after they complete a year-long course in pharmacology.
The Indian Medical Association has opposed the decision, threatening to approach the Bombay High Court and calling it a move to promote quackery.
Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India.
“Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report.

The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Shocking as it may sound, homopathy doctors are often appointed as housemen in hospitals, an official was quoted as saying, adding that this pharmacology course would only improve their education. IMA honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele said the move was “nothing but legalising quackery”. Pharmacology was usually studied by MBBS students over three years, doctors said. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will also approach the courts against the decision, reported DNA. Dr Santosh Wakchaure of MARD was quoted as saying: “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it.”

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

Shocking as it may sound, homopathy doctors are often appointed as housemen in hospitals, an official was quoted as saying, adding that this pharmacology course would only improve their education. IMA honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele said the move was “nothing but legalising quackery”.
Pharmacology was usually studied by MBBS students over three years, doctors said.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will also approach the courts against the decision, reported DNA. Dr Santosh Wakchaure of MARD was quoted as saying: “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it.”

The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India. “Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report. The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

In a move that could benefit over 60,000 homeopaths practising in Maharashtra and one that has invited shock and anger from MBBS doctors and others, the Maharashtra government has given its nod to a proposal to permit homeopaths to prescribe allopathic drugs after they complete a year-long course in pharmacology. The Indian Medical Association has opposed the decision, threatening to approach the Bombay High Court and calling it a move to promote quackery. Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India. “Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

In a move that could benefit over 60,000 homeopaths practising in Maharashtra and one that has invited shock and anger from MBBS doctors and others, the Maharashtra government has given its nod to a proposal to permit homeopaths to prescribe allopathic drugs after they complete a year-long course in pharmacology. The Indian Medical Association has opposed the decision, threatening to approach the Bombay High Court and calling it a move to promote quackery. Homoeopaths first made the plea to allow “combined practice” almost three decades back, according to a report in The Times of India. “Their fellow practitioners in Ayurveda and Unani are allowed to prescribe allopathy medicines,” said the report. The pharmacology course, to be offered first at Nashik’s Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, could be one way to tackle the shortage of qualified doctors, especially in rural areas, it has been argued. Shocking as it may sound, homopathy doctors are often appointed as housemen in hospitals, an official was quoted as saying, adding that this pharmacology course would only improve their education. IMA honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele said the move was “nothing but legalising quackery”. Pharmacology was usually studied by MBBS students over three years, doctors said. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) will also approach the courts against the decision, reported DNA. Dr Santosh Wakchaure of MARD was quoted as saying: “It is a disrespect to science and we will approach court to get a stay order on it.”

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/homeopaths-can-do-one-year-course-prescribe-allopathy-drugs-maha-govt-1332985.html?utm_source=ref_article

There may indeed be a legitimate shortage of doctors in rural areas, and if that is the case, then it is a problem which is not easily tackled. However, this is certainly NOT the way to address it!

In fact, if you are going to solve the problem of lack of prescribers this way, you may as well give up the whole system of prescriptions and just let all drugs be sold over the counter.  After all, the entire reason prescriptions exist is that it is understood that certain drugs are too hazardous, too prone to miss use or too complex in administration to be given without advanced medical knowledge.  Other drugs treat conditions which should not be treated without a doctors supervision.

A year of training in pharmacology is a poor substitute for years of college, medical school, internship and residency.   Even with this background, real doctors do occasionally make errors with prescriptions.  This is why many doctors will not prescribe medications that they are not familiar with or which treat areas outside their specialty.  Having less qualified practitioners write prescriptions is certainly not going to help the situation.

Other countries should not be so quick to dismiss this as a uniquely Indian problem.  In the UK, for example, homeopaths have been trying to get more standing in the medical system and have their procedures compensated by state-run health programs.  In Canada, naturophaths and homeopaths have demanded the right to be considered “doctors,” and in the US homeopathic institutions have been lobbying for government-sanctioned accreditation in the same way medical schools are accredited.

The risks from this lunacy, which is not beyond possibility outside India, are pretty obvious:  more improperly treated conditions, greater risks of prescription drug abuse and addiction, more drug interactions, fewer conditions treated by qualified doctors, more improperly administered antibiotics.

Besides, if homeopathy actually worked, why would they need anything else?


This entry was posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 10:04 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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26 Responses to “In India, Homeopaths Now Can Write Prescriptions”

  1. 1
    BMS Says:

    Oh the other hand, it is relatively easy for anyone to prescribe homeopathic drugs. I do it all the time when I order my children, say during an evening’s dinner, to “drink your water.” I wouldn’t want them to become dehydrated.


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  2. 2
    Anon Says:

    Maybe homoeopathy in India will eventually go the way of Osteopathy is the US and just end up a different title for a medical doctor with a few extras tacked on that almost none of the practitioners uses (well, I tried to bring some optimism to the thread).

            BMS said:

    Oh the other hand, it is relatively easy for anyone to prescribe homeopathic drugs. I do it all the time when I order my children, say during an evening’s dinner, to “drink your water.” I wouldn’t want them to become dehydrated.

    Wouldn’t you have to dehydrate the water for it to be an ‘effective’ homoeopathic drug?


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  3. 3
    b Says:

            Anon said:

    Wouldn’t you have to dehydrate the water for it to be an ‘effective’ homoeopathic drug?

    Alleviating dehydration is a side effect.


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  4. 4
    DV82XL Says:

    But in an odd twist, not all of the homeopaths are happy with the decision. “Dr.” Shreepad Khadekar, a Mumbai homeopath, hinted that the ruling would dilute homeopathic practice:

    Khadekar said, “It is definitely the darkest period in a real homeopath’s life. Soon my science will become extinct, thanks to the unfortunate decision.”

    Source: Times of India


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  5. 5
    James Says:

    Yeah. I see a lot of obvious problems with this.

    One not mentioned is homeopathy is based entirely on treating the symptom with no concern for what causes it. That is where “like cures like” comes from. They say they treat the whole patient. Bull. The whole philosophy depends on only considering the symptom. A cough is treated by the same compound whether it is bacterial, viral, allergies or whatever else.

    The symptoms of disease can be made to go away with prescription drugs. A person is deadly ill in bed and can’t get up? Enough stimulants and they will spring to their feet. Are they in pain? Morphine. Can’t rest? barbiturates will fix that.

    Of course, these remedies only work for a short time, as they do nothing to treat what is actually wrong, and a homeopath would not care anyway, since the cause never matters. Also, it tends to be pretty dangerous to just use things like barbiturates and amphetamines to chase the effects as a person gets sick.


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  6. 6
    BMS Says:

            James said:

    Also, it tends to be pretty dangerous to just use things like barbiturates and amphetamines to chase the effects as a person gets sick.

    That’s easily enough to fix. Homeopaths should be allowed to prescribe any medicine that they want … as long as it is diluted down to homeopathic levels.


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  7. 7
    L.Long Says:

    We always talk of it only containing water. But I have never seem a wet ‘homeopathic medicine’.
    All I’ve seen are little white pills. This could be why many people ignore us when talking about it.

    Anyway I had some little white pills and decided to find out what they contained and analyzed them in a MassSpec. The package said milk sugar, binder, and something that sounded like it might be iron & sulfur @20C. I got the obvious C-O-H but no Fe nor S nor anything else was detected.


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  8. 8
    Matte Says:

            L.Long said:

    We always talk of it only containing water. But I have never seem a wet ‘homeopathic medicine’.
    All I’ve seen are little white pills.

    This could be why many people ignore us when talking about it.

    Anyway I had some little white pills and decided to find out what they contained and analyzed them in a MassSpec. The package said milk sugar, binder, and something that sounded like it might be iron & sulfur @20C. I got the obvious C-O-H but no Fe nor S nor anything else was detected.

    Depending on what kind of instrument you used you wouldn’t pick up any metal species at all. Sulphur might be detected if in organic form but not in ionic or free form, normally.

    Analytical chemistry is never as straight forward as shoving anything up the proverbial MS-bum. Also with a 20C dilution you would need one hell of a lot of sample and good enrichment method to detect enything more than the sugar in the pill…


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  9. 9
    Shafe Says:

            L.Long said:

    We always talk of it only containing water. But I have never seem a wet ‘homeopathic medicine’.

    I cashiered at a Whole Foods Market when I was in school. They carried lots of homeopathic preparations in little glass bottles with droppers. I think some were in water and some in alcohol. I didn’t really know what they were, but I knew I wasn’t going to spend my money on them.

            L.Long said:

    All I’ve seen are little white pills.

    That really concerns me. They reduce the amount of water to a level so low that that it has to be sold in dry pills? Wouldn’t taking them cause water intoxication, or even drowning?? Homeopathic principles, right?


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  10. 10
    drbuzz0 Says:

            L.Long said:

    We always talk of it only containing water. But I have never seem a wet ‘homeopathic medicine’.
    All I’ve seen are little white pills.

    This could be why many people ignore us when talking about it.

    Anyway I had some little white pills and decided to find out what they contained and analyzed them in a MassSpec. The package said milk sugar, binder, and something that sounded like it might be iron & sulfur @20C. I got the obvious C-O-H but no Fe nor S nor anything else was detected.

    Contrary to popular belief, homeopathy really has nothing to do with water. Homeopaths will talk about “water memory” and water may be the most common solvent used for preparations, but it can be anything. It’s about dilution, not water. The solvent could be oil or alcohol (which will have its own effects, of course)

    In the case of homeopathic pills, the pill are just empty pills with no active ingredient. Pills typically contain an active ingredient plus filler materials to bulk up the pill, buffer it from causing stomach irritation, make it easier to handle etc. These include things like sugar, corn starch, gelatine, lactos and so on.

    A homeopathic pill is a “Sugar pill” because it is a pill devoid of active ingredient, containing only the binders, coloring agent and fillers.

    In some cases I have heard of homeopathic pills being prepared by dribbling homeopathic water on the pills. Yes… it’s that ridiculous.


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  11. 11
    DV82XL Says:

    What no one seems to understand is if homeopathy actually worked as claimed, it would mean that all that is known about biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology was wrong. Not a little wrong, but completely wrong. Which would then mean that all we know about science-based medicine is wrong. If that were the case, nothing, not one modern, legitimate pharmaceutical would work at all, no painkillers, no antibiotics, none of it. You can’t have it both ways: either standard science is right and homeopathic remedies are a crock, or homeopathic remedies work and standard science is utterly wrong – you can’t have it both ways. And this extends to science beyond medicine, everything down to the very foundations of modern science, and by extension modern engineering and technology would be wrong. Thus those that would explain how homeopathy works are going to have to provide an explanation why everything else works too given standard models are so much in error.


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  12. 12
    Jello Biafra Says:

    Luc Montagnier appears to have discovered the scientific basis behind the homeopathic process in his paper ‘DNA Waves in Water’ but I am not aware of his simple experiments being reproduced by anyone. All chemistry works by electromagnetic interaction and pure non-signalized water its claimed will store the electromagnetic signature of some diluted chemical when done in the way explained in the paper. Its safe to deduce from the paper that over time the signal diminishes from the water due to background electromagnetic radiation so the vast majority of homeopathic preparations will be ineffective.


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  13. 13
    Anon Says:

            Jello Biafra said:

    Luc Montagnier appears to have discovered the scientific basis behind the homeopathic process in his paper ‘DNA Waves in Water’ but I am not aware of his simple experiments being reproduced by anyone. All chemistry works by electromagnetic interaction and pure non-signalized water its claimed will store the electromagnetic signature of some diluted chemical when done in the way explained in the paper. Its safe to deduce from the paper that over time the signal diminishes from the water due to background electromagnetic radiation so the vast majority of homeopathic preparations will be ineffective.

    There’s no citation for us to check up on that but it wouldn’t surprise me if the experiment is flawed (or maybe you’re just misunderstanding it and it doesn’t really support quackery).


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  14. 14
    DV82XL Says:

    In the Journal of Physics: Conference Series Volume 306 Number 1, L Montagnier et al 2011, from the paper: DNA waves and water

    Abstract:

    “Some bacterial and viral DNA sequences have been found to induce low frequency electromagnetic waves in high aqueous dilutions. This phenomenon appears to be triggered by the ambient electromagnetic background of very low frequency. We discuss this phenomenon in the framework of quantum field theory. A scheme able to account for the observations is proposed. The reported phenomenon could allow to develop highly sensitive detection systems for chronic bacterial and viral infections.”

    The authors make no mention of homeopathy at all ether directly or implied and seem to feel any potential piratical application of their findings would be in the area of diagnostics.

    Full PDF of paper here: http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/306/1/012007/pdf/1742-6596_306_1_012007.pdf


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  15. 15
    Jello Biafra Says:

    The experiment confirms the water memory of homeopathy (vortexing or agitation is used as in homeopathy) the practical applications of this clearly extend beyond simple diagnostics.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/4959505/Man-who-co-discovered-HIV-accused-of-stealing-rights-to-Aids-cure.html


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  16. 16
    Matte Says:

            Jello Biafra said:

    The experiment confirms the water memory of homeopathy (vortexing or agitation is used as in homeopathy) the practical applications of this clearly extend beyond simple diagnostics.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/4959505/Man-who-co-discovered-HIV-accused-of-stealing-rights-to-Aids-cure.html

    Hey peeps, we have a live one over here!


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  17. 17
    Jello Biafra Says:

            Matte said:

    Hey peeps, we have a live one over here!

    Please explain Matte how it is you know more about this than the Nobel prize wining virologist and the other accomplished scientists who worked on this. The medical treatment applications are described in the patents following on from this research. The reason you couldn’t see the potential medical applications from ‘DNA Waves in Water’ is because you are thick.


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  18. 18
    Anon Says:

            Jello Biafra said:

    Please explain Matte how it is you know more about this than the Nobel prize wining virologist and the other accomplished scientists who worked on this. The medical treatment applications are described in the patents following on from this research. The reason you couldn’t see the potential medical applications from ‘DNA Waves in Water’ is because you are thick.

    The potential medical applications (if the research is valid, it does seem rather iffy to me) are not in validating obvious quackery (as has already been pointed out to you).

    Nobel Prize winners have also been wrong about things before, e.g. Linus Pauling and food additive E300.


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  19. 19
    Matte Says:

            Jello Biafra said:

    Please explain Matte how it is you know more about this than the Nobel prize wining virologist and the other accomplished scientists who worked on this. The medical treatment applications are described in the patents following on from this research. The reason you couldn’t see the potential medical applications from ‘DNA Waves in Water’ is because you are thick.

    Ah, resorting to Ad hominem already, I have not even started with you yet…aaaaw, what a shame!

    Unlike you I have a background in chemistry, among other things. Though interesting, the EMS-effect of short DNA-strands in high dilution (some sort of resonance with background most likely) would possibly be applicable for diagnostics In-Vitro (you know what In-vitro means don’t you?). But I doubt it, the effect is small and does not seem to have any sort of identifying features.

    How anyone, bar homepath horse **** peddlers, could devise any sort of theraputic procedures out of this effect is just crack pottery of the highest order. But by all means, please go ahead and amuse us…


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  20. 20
    DV82XL Says:

            Jello Biafra said:

    The medical treatment applications are described in the patents following on from this research.

    I would very much like to see a reference to these supposed patents assuming that they are not products of your imagination.

    Now that I have had time to read this paper in detail, I have to say that it’s looking like tripe, or at the very least highly questionable. The experiments conducted demonstrate poor design and there is a lack of solid data presented to back up their assertions, to say nothing of the glaring lack of error analysis. In short it’s got some serious shortcomings making the any conclusions they have come to very doubtful.


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  21. 21
    Jello Biafra Says:

    Method for characterising a biologically active biochemical element by analysing low frequency electromagnetic signals
    US 20130217000 A1

    Google Patents: https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts

    “Various types of amplified signals are applied for 10 minutes to the M. Pirum suspension which gives a positive signal.

    a) The same signal, but amplified: the starting signal remains positive. On the contrary, a control tube containing the 0.02 micrometer filtrate of non-infected CEM cells which was negative becomes positive. This suggests that the electromagnetic signals can be transmitted in a non-active medium provided that the initial spectrum has not been modified.

    b) If the highest intensity frequencies (179, 374, 624, 1,000, 2,000 Hertz) are selected in the spectrum of the electromagnetic signals emitted by nanostructures of M. Pirum, the signal also remains positive, after the application of such amplified frequencies.

    c) On the contrary, if the same signals with a phase inversion are applied, the EMS positivity disappears.

    This is also true when all the EMS emitted by M. Pirum with a phase inversion are used.

    d) It is also possible to neutralise the signals by allo-interference, i.e. signals from another microorganism (E. coli).

    Experiment 4: Analysis of the Plasma from Persons Having Various Infections (HIV, Ureaplasma urolyticum Urethritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis).”


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  22. 22
    Matte Says:

            Jello Biafra said:

    Method for characterising a biologically active biochemical element by analysing low frequency electromagnetic signals
    US 20130217000 A1

    Google Patents: https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts

    “Various types of amplified signals are applied for 10 minutes to the M. Pirum suspension which gives a positive signal.

    a) The same signal, but amplified: the starting signal remains positive. On the contrary, a control tube containing the 0.02 micrometer filtrate of non-infected CEM cells which was negative becomes positive. This suggests that the electromagnetic signals can be transmitted in a non-active medium provided that the initial spectrum has not been modified.

    b) If the highest intensity frequencies (179, 374, 624, 1,000, 2,000 Hertz) are selected in the spectrum of the electromagnetic signals emitted by nanostructures of M. Pirum, the signal also remains positive, after the application of such amplified frequencies.

    c) On the contrary, if the same signals with a phase inversion are applied, the EMS positivity disappears.

    This is also true when all the EMS emitted by M. Pirum with a phase inversion are used.

    d) It is also possible to neutralise the signals by allo-interference, i.e. signals from another microorganism (E. coli).

    Experiment 4: Analysis of the Plasma from Persons Having Various Infections (HIV, Ureaplasma urolyticum Urethritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis).”

    Yes, US patents a reliable source of verifiable science. I have seen patents for time machines, dark energy generators and communication devices that lets you talk to god (just to make sure, non of those work).

    Here only peer review rules the day, but by all means keep it coming the amusement value is starting to get up there with some other quacks…


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  23. 23
    DV82XL Says:

    Patent makes even less sense than the paper, and Matte is right: the existence of one does not prove the viability of the underlying concept. The only thing these prove is that both the academic publishing and patent systems have serious flaws.


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  24. 24
    Matte Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Patent makes even less sense than the paper, and Matte is right: the existence of one does not prove the viability of the underlying concept. The only thing these prove is that both the academic publishing and patent systems have serious flaws.

    Regarding the peer-review process being a bit flawed:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/02/27/how_nonsense_papers_ended_up_in_respected_scientific_journals.html


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  25. 25
    DV82XL Says:

    Contributing to this is the fact that a lot of these fake papers were published as ‘conference proceedings’ from alleged conferences in China. I write ‘alleged’ because these too are a form of scam where researchers are sent invitations to these events like junk mail. To attend, of course, you have to cough up several thousand in fees and what it is all about.


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  26. 26
    Matte Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Contributing to this is the fact that a lot of these fake papers were published as ‘conference proceedings’ from alleged conferences in China. I write ‘alleged’ because these too are a form of scam where researchers are sent invitations to these events like junk mail. To attend, of course, you have to cough up several thousand in fees and what it is all about.

    Yes, I have come across a lot of people making all kinds of fantastic claims based on assertions made at conference proceedings (Kr-85 causing storms at sea is a recent contender). Conference proceedings are a forum for “scientists” to float new ideas perhaps, but they are not part of the peer review process.


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