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“A consortium of pharmaceutical companies in Germany have been paying a journalist €43,000 to run a set of web sites that denigrates an academic who has published research into their products. These companies, who make homeopathic sugar pills, were exposed in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitungin an article, Schmutzige Methoden der sanften Medizin (The Dirty Tricks of Alternative Medicine)…The newspaper accuses the companies of funding the journalist, Claus Fritzsche, to denigrate critics of homeopathy. In particular, the accusation is that Fritzsche wrote about UK academic Professor Edzard Ernst on several web sites and then linked them together in order to raise their Google ranking. Fritzsche continually attacks Ernst of being frivolous, incompetent and partisan…Ernst has pioneered and championed the idea that alternative medicine can be subject to the same rigours of evidence-based medicine as any other treatment. He has produced many systematic reviews of treatments that draw together all available evidence to assess what overall conclusions it is possible to come to. When the evidence has been positive, he has said so. But his problem has been that, for a wide range of treatments, including homeopathy, the evidence is overwhelmingly negative, non-existent, or at best, inconclusive. This has angered many proponents of the various forms of supersitious and pseudoscientific health practices. Homeopaths in particular have been furious that Ernst has not used his Chair to promote alternative medicine. They see his results, not as scientifically objective, but as a betrayal of their beliefs.” Andy Lewis, The Quackometer (16th July 2012)