Aaron Rodgers & “homeopathy”

I assume we’ve all seen the news reports of Aaron Rogers claiming he was “immunized” against COVID-19, as he’d “received a homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels.”  This of course has been followed by reports suggesting that “homeopathic remedies do not work,” and by ridicule equating homeopathy with crystal healing & the like.

This story goes far beyond a defiant quarterback for an NFL football league, tho his notoriety brings the story into a “newsworthy” spotlight.  Whatever your personal views on vaccination might be, and however you may feel about being equated with crystal healing, the damage to homeopathy in the public eye from this incident is considerable.  One might assert that any press is good press, but I really don’t think so.  This is serving to inject  the term “homeopathy” into public awareness, but most certainly in a negative light, especially as whatever treatment A. Rog. actually received proved unequal to the task of preventing this mask- and distancing- defiant character from contracting COVID.  Rogers has gone on to soliciting and following medical advice from Joe Rogan, whose professional credentials include careers as a stand-up comedian, martial arts practitioner,  and shock-jock podcaster.

The real damage here was inflicted by Rogers’ “personal doctor” who, with the implied authority of a medical professional,  offered a treatment under the guise of “homeopathic immunization.”

Homeoprophylaxis is a very real, and potentially effective strategy in the treatment of epidemic disease, developed by Hahnemann in the management of scarlet fever and the Asiatic Cholera, with an effective track record in many of the epidemic diseases of the 19th century, but is a complex endeavor.  It does NOT confer long-term protection from infection or disease in the manner of vaccination, but represents a strategy for the early treatment of those exposed, prior to the development of characterizing symptoms, “borrowing” a characterizing totality from others seen ill with the same collective epidemic illness.  Although there are some in the contemporary homeopathic community (notably Isaac Golden & his followers) who purport to offer a homeopathic equivalent to vaccination based on a misunderstanding of Hahnemann’s experiments with homeoprophylaxis, there is no documentation of efficacy of this non-Hahnemannian strategy, despite claims offered by proponents of this approach.  There is certainly no evidence that it is capable of “raising antibody levels.”

Efforts to determine a singular “genus epidemicus” for the COVID-19 pandemic have fallen short, likely for a variety of reasons; a number of prominent figures in our homeopathic community have embarrassed themselves in the effort.  Although the use of a COVID-19 nosode has been proposed by some, the use of a specific disease nosode cannot simply be substituted for a remedy discerned on the basis of a characterizing totality of those exhibiting disease in an epidemic, and does not provide the homeopathic equivalent of vaccination; plus there are obvious problems associated with the handling of the infectious material of a pandemic disease.

Clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of short-term homeoprophylaxis, or of any proposed preventive or curative treatment, are necessary to back up any claims of efficacy, particularly in a critical setting such as a pandemic that has already resulted in over 5 million deaths worldwide, over 750,00 deaths in the U.S., and extended to chronic debility in as many as 50% of those infected.  A passion for homeopathy cannot take the place of documentation of efficacy.

A separate incident of similar concern to the profession occurred last year involving a licensed Naturopath, who has been cited for wire fraud and false statements related to health care matters for providing fake vaccination cards in association with use of a “homeopathic immunization” misrepresented on the cards issued to clients as one of the available vaccines.

Regardless of our passion for this wonderful approach to healing, we need to abide by reasonable ethical & professional standards and respect legal standards.  Stepping beyond what we can legitimately offer opens up oneself, and our profession as a whole, to public scrutiny & deserved criticism.

Aaron Rogers has announced that he’s taken “taken full responsibility” for his mischaracterization of having been “immunized,” after incurring a $14,650 fine for himself and a $300,000 fine for his franchise.  Has his “personal doctor” taken full responsibility for the damage incurred by their profession in overstepping professional standards of conduct?