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The Belief in "Gentle Healing": How Rational Is the German Health Care System?

Talk by Natalie Grams on July 28 at Haus Weitblick


Dr. Natalie Grams (Photo: Dorothee Piroelle, detail)

Each year, pharmaceutical manufacturers in Germany sell 670 million euros in homeopathic preparations, the effects of which (unless they are "complex remedies" with largely undiluted components) do not generally go beyond the placebo effect. Critics who refer to corresponding studies are personally attacked and put under legal pressure. Natalie Grams, physician and gbs advisory board member, is in particular subjected to hatred. She will discuss the differences between evidence-based medicine and pseudomedical belief systems at the foundation's headquarters in Oberwesel on 28 July.

"Homeopathy is esotericism, not medicine," says Natalie Grams - and she knows what she is talking about, as the medical doctor was a convinced homeopath with a successful practice in Heidelberg for several years. Cracks in her view of the world did not appear until she sought to refute the arguments of homeopathy critics and found them in the process to be correct. Grams published the results of her study in the book "Homeopathy Reconsidered". She had given up her practice before the publication, despite this step being associated with great economic difficulties as well as the loss of friendships, since homoeopathy dropouts are often similarly ostracized as  former sect members.

That Natalie Grams quickly rose to become arguably the best-known critic of pseudomedical procedures in Germany is not least due to the fact that she gave rational arguments priority over personal advantages, which gives her criticism a unique credibility to this day. Another decisive factor is the physician's high level of competence in the field of evidence-based medicine, which is particularly evident in her second book "Gesundheit! Ein Buch nicht ohne Nebenwirkungen" ("Gesundheit! A book not without side effects"). Meanwhile, Natalie Grams has become such a threat to the pseudomedicine community that the pharmaceutical manufacturer Hevert, as reported by SPIEGEL, among others, intends to oblige her by means of a penal cease-and-desist letter to no longer claim that the effectiveness of homeopathy "does not exceed the placebo effect".

Grams did not sign the warning since this would entail that she would be no longer allowed to present the state of scientific knowledge. Based on the criteria of evidence-based medicine, the physician has a good hand in this dispute. A court case would still be tricky, however, since homeopaths can testify to the alleged efficacy of their preparations themselves according to the applicable legal requirements and do not have to prove it by independent double-blind studies. Should a trial actually take place, the Giordano Bruno Stiftung will of course stand by its advisory board member, as the principles of rationality are not negotiable from the gbs point of view. "To stop authors or physicians from denying the current state of science by threatening to sue is a chutzpah that leaves you speechless," wrote Natalie Grams after receiving the cease-and-desist letter. This will also be the subject of her lecture at the gbs foundation headquarters in Oberwesel.

Information about the event

The event with Natalie Grams on 28 July 2019 in the "Haus Weitblick" (Auf Fasel 16, 55430 Oberwesel) begins at 2 pm with a champagne reception, the official part of the programme starts at 3 pm. Admission is free, but a reservation is mandatory. Please use this web form to register for the event. (We will only provide feedback if the event is fully booked.)

ATTENTION: To relieve the parking situation we ask our guests to travel by train or to park their car free of charge at the train station (Mainzer Str. 6, opposite the red church, 55430 Oberwesel). A taxi shuttle service for a free transfer between the station and the foundation's headquarters will be available for all guests before and after the event (shuttle service from the station to "Haus Weitblick" between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm, and after the event back from the foundation's headquarters to Oberwesel train station).