Jeremy Sherr does not act alone, but with the support of the homeopathic establishment
Posted by gimpy on January 15, 2009
I, and others, have been doing some digging and complaining about the activities of Mr Sherr, the homeopath carrying out his healing fantasies by human experimentation in Tanzania. There is an excellent summary of the situation by Martin over at Layscience who also has another post examining Mr Sherr’s recent attempts to edit and censor his blog as well as an examination of the dishonest defence of his actions. Our investigations have revealed that not only is Jeremy Sherr making false claims of academic support but that he could not have achieved his goals of taking homeopathy to Tanzania without the support of sections of the homeopathic establishment.
Mr Sherr made some very specific claims about academic backing backing for his activities on the Dynamis website to create the impression of credible support:
We have the support of several eminent homeopathic researchers, as well as the Muhumbili University of Health Sciences in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and the Department of Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland, USA.
I have taken the liberty of contacting both Muhumbili University and the University of Maryland about this support. I have not yet received a response from the University of Maryland but Dr. Moshi of the Institute of Traditional Medicine at Muhimbili University (MUHAS) has told me:
We simply do not have any relationship with these people. This claim is libellous!.
Mr Rwegasira [Mr Sherr's Tanzanian collaborator] is a member of the Traditional and Alternative Health Practitioners Council, but his activities are not in any way whatsoever related to what the Institute of Traditional Medicine at MUHAS does. It is also not our line of research or expertise. Jeremy Sherr is a complete stranger to us; have never met him.
I am reliably informed by a staff member of the Institute that he/she was warned against using the name of the Institute or University. I have contacted our Lawyer for necessary action.
In addition to this Angus Wood has been in contact with the British Homeopathic Association (BHA), the Homeopathic Medical Association (HMA) and the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) to ask if they can do anything about the actions of Sherr. None of these organisations claimed to be able to do anything despite Mr Sherr being a Fellow of both the BHA and the SoH. After this non-response Angus Wood has contacted Simon Wilkinson-Blake, the listed contact for the Homeopathic Action Trust (HAT) as well as current chief executive of the British Deaf Association, a UK based charitable organisation funding Mr Sherr. HAT claim they will bring this issue up at a meeting of trustees in February. However, HAT, and presumably the trustees, are fully aware of and clearly complicit in the actions of Mr Sherr, their 2007 accounts reveal funding for the project:
An expanded group of investigators are now taking the planned and designed proposal undertaken at the Nelson Mandela Medical Center in Durban, forward to its next stage, prior to setting up an international AIDS research trial. This is now based in Tanzania, with the support of the Tanzanian government.
Not only that but their guidelines for making an application for funding clearly state that:
The project must be fully monitored and evaluated and results should be made available to HAT
Therefore Mr Sherr’s project must have been approved by the board of HAT. The meeting of trustees will hopefully call an end to this terrible misjudgement, but even if it does HAT must take some responsibility for the consequences of their support. HAT are not operating on the eccentric edges of homeopathy, they represent its establishment with trustees being composed of several notable homeopaths including;
- Francis Treuherz – Editor of the journal of the SoH, The Homeopath, as well as being a consultant to the SoH.
- Simon Taffler – a tutor at The Lakeland College, a homeopathic school.
- John Wallace – an author of homeopathy textbooks.
- Jacqueline Anne Becker – a practitioner at Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacy, a 150 year old homeopathic institution in London.
- Mary English – famous for making a homeopathic remedy from a shipwreck.
Their support for these egregious trials is not restricted to those proposed by Mr Sherr, their accounts also reveal that they are funding work by Peter Chappell, the man who claims to have invented a musical cure for AIDS and is himself carying out extraordinary experiments in the developing world through his charity, the Amma Resonance Foundation.
Peter Chappell Projects
A pre-pilot study in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic has taken place, and an HIV/AIDS project including a dispensary has been set up in Kenya.
Now in a curious coincidence two of Mr Sherr’s academic collaborators, Professor Harald Walach along with a Dr Schenider, are supervising the trial design for Mr Chappell, a design that almost certainly breaches the Ethical Code Professor Walach’s employers at the University of Northampton demand their staff uphold. Professor Walach is also head of the European Branch of the Samueli Institute, an organisation that funds research into alternative therapies.
This sorry episode exposes mainstream homeopathic opinion as seeing poorly educated and terminally ill people in the developing world as suitable subjects for human experimentation that has not been passed before an ethics committee and has not been assessed for plausibility. Not only that it also proves that one of the most pre-eminent and influential pro-alternative therapy academics in Europe supports and collaborates in this behaviour.
Jeremy Sherr is merely the prick that has burst the homeopathic boil and exposed the festering pus of ignorance and incompetence that defines the alternative sector. This movement is rotten from the heart of its establishment to the practitioners operating on the margins. Sherr, a respected teacher, is representative of homeopathy, not an individual acting on his own initiative. It is time these people were called to account and stripped of their influence.
In addition to the layscience links above (and replicated here and here), there are a number of other blogs reporting and commenting on this story. Rob Hinkley of semiskimmed.net has archived the original versions of Jeremey Sherr’s blog, Robin has a video of the Sherr’s describing their plans (which I’ve also saved to my youtube channel in case it vanishes) and asks ‘does this count as murder?’. My immediate thoughts on this are no, I view it as akin to manslaughter through negligence – but more on this at the weekend. JQH has some nice summaries and analysis in two posts, here and here. And jdc325 has similar summaries but with an additional interesting link to what some homeopath bloggers think of this.
My apologies if I have missed anyone out and special thanks should go to the non-bloggers who have also been proactive in investigating this and drawing it to the attention of those outside the small blogging community.