Sceptic, conjuror and escape artist James Randi has pledged one million dollars to anyone who can prove the efficacy of homeopathic remedies. In a video statement released on Saturday (above), Randi criticised the ” pseudoscience” and the fact that homeopathic medicines are sold in pharmacies alongside “real medicine”. He said: “Every reputable medical study of these fake drugs has shown them to have no more effect than sugar pills or pure water.”
He then participated in the “10:23 challenge“, where hundreds of consumer advocates around the world take and overdose of homeopathic remedies to show that they don’t work. Randi took an entire bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills (32 pills) in a bid to demonstrate that they don’t induce any soporific effect.
He challenged manufacturers to prove their claims and win $1,000,000 by submitting their remedies to a double blind test. If they succeed, the James Randi Educational Foundation will give them the money. He also challenged the pharmacies and retailers to label the products more clearly.
He said: “Consumers have the right to know what they’re buying. No one should walk out of a drugstore with a homeopathic product without knowing these basic facts: there is no credible evidence that the product does what it says; there is not one bit — not a single atom — of the claimed ‘active ingredient’ in the package; and no US health agency has tested or approved the product. It should be a crime for retail corporations to profit by denying the public this critical information about the products on their shelves.”
Randi is a Derren Brown-esque character who achieved fame as a magician and escape artist but has turned his focus to investigating and demystifying paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.