Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Minister of Defence Military personnel has, without their knowledge, been given a health insurance, where alternative care has been included in basic care.
Dutch Royal Society for Veterinary Medicine (KNMvD) The organisation lets alternatively operating vets, united in the Study Group for Complementarily Operating Vets, practice freely. Nominated for the third time.
André Rouvoet, chair of VEKTIS VEKTIS registers alternative healthcare providers, which they require in order to be eligible for compensation by health insurance companies. According to the Society, VEKTIS’ assessment procedure is a farce.
Huub Savelkoul, professor at Wageningen University Nominated for a second time, this year for his cooperation to a course on ‘orthomolecular dietetics’.
The prize is meant for the institute, person or enterprise that has contributed most to the spread of quackery in the Netherlands last year by means of act, word or writing. On skeptical blog KloptDatWel.nl, you can vote for whom you think should receive the 2016 ironic award until Friday 16:00 CET.
The Dutch skeptics foundation, Stichting Skepsis, will hold its annual congress on 22 October 2016 at De Eenhoorn in Amersfoort. This year, four pairs of speakers will jointly give a presentation, and then discuss the topic with each other and the audience:
Maarten Boudry (philosopher UGent, SKEPP) & Massimo Pugliucci (prof. Philosophy CUNY, Rationally Speaking podcast):
‘Why do people cling to unproven ideas?’ (keynote session, in English)
Peter JanMargry (prof. Ethnology UvA) & Cees Renckens (gynaecologist, former VtdK chair):
‘Alternative treatments’ (in Dutch)
Brecht Decoene (ethicist UGent, SKEPP)
& Leo Polak (popular science journalist):
‘Conspiracy theories’ (in Dutch)
Martijn van Calmthout (Volkskrant science journalist) & Patricia Osseweijer (prof. Science Communication TU Delft):
‘Science Communication’ (in Dutch)
Dutch TV show EenVandaag examined the Heilpraktiker system in Germany, where about 43,000 ‘healers’ are allowed to conduct invasive irregular treatments on patients, without being trained physicians. The recent controversy surrounding Krauss Ross’ alternative cancer clinic, which was closed after several patients received fatal injections, has stirred up debate on whether the system should be changed, or even downright abolished. In the Netherlands, such treatments are prohibited, leading some Dutch patients to try their luck across the border, where regulations are less strict, and thus the treatments more dangerous.
Physician Cees Renckens, spokesperson for the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (Dutch Society against Quackery), is in favour of expelling the Heilpraktiker from the ranks of legal professions. The interviewer responded by saying that some would argue ‘that things go wrong in the regular medical world all the time, too; that wouldn’t make you advocate for abolishing regular medicine either, would it?’ Renckens replied: ‘No, but in normal medicine, in hospitals, you can at least recover, because most treatments actually work. And if there is no benefit whatsoever [in a treatment], any risk, any complication, is unacceptable.’
Dutch newspaper Trouw featured an article critical of alternative cancer therapies today, which highlights that unreliable anecdotal stories are easily found online, and omit the dark side of unproven treatments. It refers to a case in Skepter (magazine of Stichting Skepsis) where a woman, Willeke, died of breastcancer after having visited multiple naturopaths, who all claimed her worsening condition proved the treatments were working.
Frits van Dam, secretary of the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (VtdK, Dutch Society against Quackery), points out that many of these treatments (Trouw mentions faith healing, bioresonance, mistletoe, an exotic worm called Fasciolopsis buskii, the Moerman and Houtsmuller diets, herbal supplements etc.) may often just be ineffective and not harmful in themselves. But they do waste cancer patients’ precious time (and money), in which they could have gotten a regular treatment, recovered and survived. Many alternative treatments may however be even more dangerous than the cancer itself, as evidenced by patients who died at the hands of Tullio Simoncini’s salt solutions or Klaus Ross’ glucose injections.
A sexual hype from America has crossed the Atlantic and is finding fertile ground in European countries such as the Netherlands. The so-called ‘orgasm injection’ is claimed to increase sexual excitement, deliver better orgasms, give women a tighter vagina and men a larger penis, prevent incontinence and solve erectile dysfunction. The first clinic on Dutch soil, Artz Medical in Rotterdam, is run by physician Olivier Groh, who says it ‘really works’. However, at €1000,- per treatment it’s not exactly cheap, and effects are said to last only temporary. Moreover, these amazing promises are not backed by any scientific evidence, according to many critical physicians and sexologists.
The Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (Dutch Society against Quackery) is skeptical. “It makes no sense at all”, says Cees Renckens, a former gynaecologist and board member of the society. “It takes blood, tinkers a bit with it and then injects it back in. And that is supposed to make your penis longer and your vagina more flexible? It’s quackery, I’m convinced of that.”
He calls it ‘absolutely repulsive’ that the clinic is making boatloads of money off a treatment which hasn’t been demonstrated scientifically to work. “It’s a scandal that this man is still a GP. He should know better than to trick people out of their money with false hope. There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to sexual dysfunctions and complaints, those often involve complex problems. This treatment cannot be distinguished from fraud. The Health Care Inspectorate should take measures against the clinic.”