Organisers of a planned "overdose" of homeopathic remedies hope to encourage pharmacists to stop stocking the treatments.
New Zealand Skeptics chairwoman Vicki Hyde said today's Cathedral Square protest was organised in conjunction with similar events around the world to protest against pharmacists who stock homeopathic remedies.
Participants would exceed the recommended dosage of homeopathic treatments to show they had no effect.
Hyde said homeopaths admitted there was little in their remedies, which were diluted several times until only the "memory" of the original ingredient was left.
"All they are is a pinch of sugar in an Atlantic Ocean of water."
People who used homeopathic remedies usually did so instead of conventional medicines. Hyde said that could have deadly consequences.
She said it was unethical for pharmacists to sell homeopathic remedies when there was no proof that they worked.
New Zealand Council of Homeopaths spokeswoman Mary Glaisyer said she was "exasperated" by the planned protest.
"The idea of overdosing is ridiculous, the premise is ridiculous – these silly protesters actually will deter some people who could benefit from seeking treatment."
Glaisyer, who has worked as a homeopath for 25 years, said it was impossible to overdose on homeopathic medicines because they did not contain any "material substances".
"What happens is that the remedy is diluted and then shaken, so that there's not one molecule of the original substance remaining," Glaisyer said. How the remedies worked was "a mystery to everyone", she said.
The protest will be held at 10.30am today.
- The Press
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