Friday, 22 January 2010

Leaked Boots Legal Advice on the 10:23 Homeopathic Overdose

In advance of the 10:23 mass "overdose" of homeopathic remedies on Saturday 30 January 2010, I thought it time to publish this leaked internal memorandum...

Alliance Boots plc

To: Board of Directors

From: Legal & Regulatory

You have asked for a memorandum setting out potential liability for Alliance Boots (“AllBoo”) in respect of the threatened homeopathic overdose by the 10:23 campaign on 30 January 2010.

In particular, you wish to know the liability which AllBoo and its directors may have if the overdose injures or kills any of the campaigners if the products used are provided by AllBoo.

The starting point is that AllBoo would indeed face a range of civil and criminal liabilities if we did provide something capable of injuring or killing the campaigners in this way, especially as we are aware of the threatened overdose by reason of the spirited press campaign by the campaigners.

There are an estimated 300 campaigners who have announced that they are going to take an overdose of an AllBoo product. That would usually expose AllBoo to a potential liability of at least £60,000,000 - possibly more if they have any lawyers amongst them.

In normal circumstances we would thereby review the product and possibly take it off the shelves in the week leading up to the date of the overdose. We would also advise our insurers of the prospect of such a substantial claim. We would even engage experienced criminal defence solicitors to advise us on any potential charges because our branches knowingly sold the products in the vicinity of where the demonstrations are taking place.

Indeed, AllBoo would normally put into place a complete civil and criminal defence strategy to minimise or eliminate the risk of prosecution or civil suit.

As AllBoo know this overdose is to take place, it would simply be our duty of care to act to prevent the supply of these products in these circumstances.

However, there is no need for AllBoo to do anything at all in this case.

We may sit back and just benefit from this welcome boost in consumer demand.

We can just rest easy.

For I am delighted to advise the board that, as the products in question actually contain no active ingredient, the planned “overdose” will be nothing of the kind. Other than perhaps the effects of a sugar rush (we use sugar pills else we may suffer customer hostility to selling what is really just water), the protesters will not suffer any ill-effects at all.

Because there is no active ingredient then - as a matter of law - we are completely safe.

In support of this conclusion, we can even refer in court to both medical science and the laws of physics.

Should we be prosecuted or sued for knowingly – or even recklessly – providing a product which was to be used in such a mass attempt at an overdose, we can safely point the court to undisputed, overwhelming scientific evidence that we sold nothing which could have caused any adverse reaction - indeed any reaction at all.

In conclusion, the board of directors can be happily assured that in respect of the risk of death or injury for an homeopathy overdose by our customers, the science is firmly on our side.

So no reason to worry on this one: there is nothing in it.


A. Parody
Legal Adviser

Click here to find out more about the 10:23 Campaign.

Homeopathy: There's Nothing In It.


No purely anonymous comments will be published; always use a name for ease of reference by other commenters.


Jo said...

Fine work :) And yes you did have me going there for a bit at the beginning!

rushyo said...


James said...

Oh, what a shame this isn't real.

Having said that, even if it were real it'd be unlikely to convince homeopathy believers. "Yeah well, what do lawyers know?" they'd probably say.

AndyN said...

Watch out. Crispian Jago's gonna be all upset if you steal his "skeptic satire" crown. (Which I happen to think you have just done so completely and utterly. Congratulations. A genius post!)

Totally had me going. Would love to know if anything like this has actually been circulated. Like all the best satire, it's not a giant leap from the ridiculous to reality.

Alice said...

Oh darn, AndyN has just said what I was about to. Brilliant, had me fooled for quite some time, and I wondered if you had been wearing Crispian's hat or something! Wonderful, Jack!

wombatwal said...

Good one JOK.
I was about to link this blog topic to a woo forum that I frequent.
Lucky I caught the signature before I did. Would have been embarrassing.

thepriyankacode said...

Call me a 'skeptic' if you will but I'm still convinced this is the 'real deal' ;)

Dan Buzzard said...

I can't help but notice the name "A. Parody" at the bottom of the article.

Is this just coincidence?

Michael said...

With homeopathic remedies becoming more powerful the more diluted, every informed person knows the way to overdose on homeopathic pills is to not take them.

David Bradley said...

The "sugar rush" issue you mention is worrying...that could be a serious problem for some of those taking a homeopathic overdose, surely? I think any diabetic lawyers among the overdosers would be well placed to sue AllWoo ;-)

Unpremeditated said...

Excellent stuff ... and probably not too far from the truth!

Tetenterre said...

Nice one!

BTW, I think the wootabs also contain lactose... (I'm intolerant, so I notice things like this :-) )

garic said...

This is such nonsense! Everyone knows there's no scientific evidence for sugar rushes...

Tony Lloyd said...

I have an idea!

The centre for the "overdose" is Red Lion Square. There is a Boots nearby. There is also a police station nearby.

Could I go into the police station and report Boots for assisting suicide? Would I be done for wasting police time or would I force Boots into a humiliating and public climbdown?

James Hayton said...

If only this were real! Looking forward to seeing what happens.


Stephen Moss said...

All these excitable skeptics getting high on sugar may threaten a breach of the peace. I trust that constabularies across the land are suitably prepared.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

Real (Homeopathic) medicine cures even when Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails

Oz Digger said...

Pathetic!!!!!! With all the talent you have and the resources at you fingertips to be really responsible, I would suggest you direct your comments in other areas of health care in which there are some serious issues.
Your obsession with homeopathy is risible considering that:
1) 38000 people died as a direct result of taking Vioxx. The makers of which suppressed information about it that showed that it caused cardiac problems. The makers knew about these problems even before the drug was released to the public. Where are your comments on this debacle?????
2) 10% of patients admitted to hospital are present because of "iatrogenic" (physician) caused problems. Where are your comments on this?
3)At present in the U.K. a cardiologist is being sued for liable by a medical appliance company, for stating that the appliance or procedure advocated by the company was not correct. This issue actually make the Singh/BCA article look quite insignificant. Where is your sarcastic commentary on this issue?

You take great delight in picking on "soft subjects", why don't you show some guts and integrity and direct your blog to subject that can have a real affect on the health of people.

Jack of Kent said...

Well done Oz Digger!

Now you have re-submitted your comment with a name, I can now publish it. Thank your for taking the time to comply with the comments moderation policy for this blog.

As for Dr Wilmshurst, he will actually be my guest at Westminster Skeptics at an upcoming meeting. You should pop along!

And as for your last point: "effect" not "affect" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Is Dr Nancy a bot that scoures blogs and posts the same inane statement whenever homeopathy is mentioned? Because frankly, I would rather be informed of the fantastic world of penile enlargement than see another post with no argument, just an incorrect statement.

I don't think anyone could fault you for blocking a bot. IMHO, if Nance is real, she needs to start using arguments or go the way of the dodo.

Kind Regards,

Antony said...

OzDigger, the NHS is wasting millions of pounds every year on homeopathic treatments. The moment this stops is the moment those millions are available for real medicine. How many nurses or real treatments would that money pay for? That's why it's a big issue and that's why we continue to campaign.