"I've never seen anything like this before," North American Meeting of Concerned Homeopaths (NAMCH) president Arlene Lloyd explained. "Sure there is a bad apple in every bunch, but this is unprecedented in the history of homeopathy."
Homeopath Rick Rutledge, who has practiced in Kansas City for over 30 years, began buying cheaper knockoff homeopathic solutions from unlicensed producers in the early 1990's. Within a few years, he was diluting remedies, sometimes making several gallons from one small bottle of the original tincture. But he didn't dilute the amount of money he was charging patients for his treatments.
According to Lloyd, both practices are illegal and dangerous:
So-called "Gray Market" homeopathic remedies have not undergone the same kind of safety and efficacy testing as those from approved manufacturers. And there are serious concerns that they may be simply putting the same sugar or alcohol solution into bottles with different labels. The effects of over diluting true homeopathic remedies can range from nil to catastrophic if the stronger dilutions are properly potentized.By charging patients for over diluted homeopathic solutions, Rutledge has made millions over the past twenty years. Investigators estimate that he diluted nearly 20,000 remedies, putting thousands of patients at risk of negative direct effects of the more potent treatments, or of receiving worthless bottles of water. Law enforcement agents are still looking into the possibility that his fraudulent practice led to patient deaths because of delayed or lack of appropriate treatment.
Rutledge's scheme was undone by his simple bad luck. Not realizing that one of his patients was the grandmother of a chemistry professor at nearby University of Missouri-Kansas City, he prescribed her one of his bogus remedies. Concerned that her grandmother was being cheated, she had the solution tested and sure enough, it was pure ethanol. The authorities were notified and the investigation began.
The homeopathic community in Kansas City is responding to the controversy, rallying to both alleviate patient concerns over their own treatments and to help those potentially harmed by Rutledge. A number of practices in the area are offering, at a substantial discount, a full session to assess if additional remedies might be needed to put things right. The NAMCH has also contacted a number of Kansas City homeopaths to let them know about a revolutionary new "reverse succussion" process to restore over diluted solutions to appropriate potency.
"While these extremely potent solutions may be safe in most patients, some populations, like infants, the very old and the very sick, may be at risk of complications, Lloyd revealed. "We are offering to sell this proprietary reverse succussion and concentration process to our members for a minimal fee."
If you live in the Kansas City area and were a patient of Dr. Rutledge, you may be entitled to seek compensation. But you may also be at risk of serious health problems so please seek out a different practitioner as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment if needed. Here is a list of questions to ask at your first visit to make sure you aren't going to be swindled by another charlatan:
1. Do you prescribe remedies diluted to the point where no molecules of the original substance remain?
2. Do you prescribe remedies that have not been tested for safety and efficacy?
3. Are you a homeopath?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, seriously reconsider the arrangement.