The 10:23 Event in Melbourne

On Saturday, the Victorian Skeptics joined forces with the Melbourne Skeptics and the Young Australian Skeptics to take part in the worldwide 10:23 Campaign.

The campaign was launched last year by the Merseyside Skeptics, as a public education stunt to demonstrate the ineffective nature of Homeopathy.

A video of the Melbourne event was posted a couple of days ago, and as I write this, it’s had over 1,000 views on YouTube.

(If you’re keen, there’s also a great video playlist of 10:23 events around the world).

We also had John, a good friend of the Victorian Skeptics, busily snapping some great stills while we were overdosing.

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Of course while it’s all fun and games in retrospect (and there’s a message in there somewhere too), it almost didn’t happen.

Torrential rain and flash flooding had hit Melbourne the night before, and on the morning of the event, it seemed likely the rain would continue and we wouldn’t be able to go ahead.

But as the magic moment of 10:23am approached, the heavens smiled upon us (in a completely natural and non-anthropomorphic sense, of course) and we were able to begin.

Responses from the Homeopaths

The British Homeopathic Association has responded to the campaign with a snippy and characteristically evidence-free response.

“For the second year running 10.23 demonstrated their ignorance and irresponsibility by trying to stage a mass overdose. It also shows that the participants have no understanding of how to select and use homeopathic medicines in an appropriate manner.”

This is far from a surprising response. They simply repeat the canard that homeopathy is supposed to be a personalised treatment that treats the whole person.

Given this, I would like to ask the BHA a question:

How do off-the-shelf standard dosage tablets, such as those used in the 10:23 overdose, make for a personalised treatment? If the BHA are serious about this “personalised treatment” business, you should be protesting with us, on the grounds that Homeopathy is being misrepresented.

We eagerly await the BHA’s response.

The campaign also managed to elicit a response from Brauer, the company who manufactures the tablets we used:

“These people were saying that the product didn’t work. But the product is indicated for insomnia. If any of these people were suffering from insomnia then it would have worked. But they were using it for an overdose. It’s not indicated for that.”

Once we stop giggling, we’d also like to pose a question to Brauer:

Given the tablets have no active ingredients, how did your little sugar pills know we weren’t suffering from insomnia?

And furthermore, are you saying that not one single person out of the 100 or so participating in events across Australia was suffering from insomnia?

Here’s the thing about overdosing on actual, real, effective medicine: it doesn’t matter if you’re suffering from the actual disease it’s designed for.

If you overdose on it, it’ll kill you. Or at the very least, make you very sick.

No effect means it’s ineffective.

The TGA Transparency Review

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Association recently announced a review of the transparency of their processes and the labelling of therapeutic goods.

We here at the Victorian Skeptics feel very strongly that Australian consumers could be much better informed about the medicines they’re taking, particularly when it comes to things like Homeopathy.

With that in mind, the video of the Melbourne event has been submitted to the TGA as part of the review.

And finally, thanks!

We’d like to extend our gracious thanks to presenters Dr Ken Harvey and Jason Ball for their excellent work, to Victorian Skeptics president Terry Kelly for keeping everything on track and (once again) to our excellent video producer/director/auteur Doug who made us all look so good.

We’d also like to thank the Merseyside Skeptics for their work in promoting the worldwide 10:23 event, and of course, everyone who came along to overdose with us.


Jason Ball

Dr Ken Harvey and Terry Kelly

5 Responses to The 10:23 Event in Melbourne

  1. Paul says:

    Very impressive.

    Well done to all.

    I notice more opposition to opposition this year suggesting this “stunt” proves skeptics don’t know how homeopathy works [cough]. Someone even commented that homeopathic sleeping pills were “contraindicated for overdose”.

    Hard not to notice the packaging as an analogue to White Coat Syndrome. Been pondering the carbon footprint that accompanies this therapeutically void scam.

    It’s just failure at every turn.

    Anyhoo – spend those Big Pharma cheques shill wisely ;-)

    • malvickers says:

      Thanks Paul – yeah, I’m not sure what went wrong. The big pharma cheque has gone missing and I think my tablets where contaminated with placebo :-)

  2. Great slideshow!

    Mal looked decidedly sleepy in one of those photos though, so I have to wonder if perhaps the pills actually did something? Or perhaps he was just so bored waiting for an effect, he started to drift off?

  3. Rohan says:

    Nice work ladies and gents. I had intended to come along to this, but didn’t get my act together in time. Bet you were up all night celebrating (as a result of taking all that insomnia medication, of course.)

  4. barry rogers says:

    Not exactly consistent with this thread but worth noting. The gentlefolk who brought us the sleeping tabs that were the subject of this protest, now bless us with 3 new products, no doubt to try to distance themselves from homoeowoo. Brauer paw paw is now available in various sized containers, (http://​www​.brauer​.com​.au/​p​r​o​d​u​c​t​s​/​s​k​i​n​-​c​a​r​e​/​p​a​w​p​a​w​t​u​be75 etc) all of which claim to be “all natural”. Interesting when you note that the ingredients include things such as “Carica Papaya (Paw Paw Fermented), Hydrogenerated Castor Oil, Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E),Potassium Sorbate). The last time I was in a chem lab, these were things we synthesised. Can’t someone stop these people?

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