Bill Grey, a 75-year-old, Stanford-trained doctor based in California, claims on his website that he can treat almost any patient’s health problems through personalised, “homeopathic” audio recordings sent via email. But the California medical board is having none of it. Earlier this month, it filed a five-page complaint against Grey for behaving unprofessionally, setting the stage for a hearing that could strip Grey’s licence to practise medicine.
Illustration: mtmmonline (Pixabay)
Homeopathy is a quack theory of medicine that purports to treat sickness through the use of select substances that have been diluted in water. By diluting something like duck liver enough, the theory goes, you can activate its healing properties against influenza in the water itself.
In reality, if done right, these mixtures are so diluted that there’s no trace of whatever substance was originally used. And when they aren’t prepared right, homeopathic products can be laced with fatal poisons. More than that, there’s never been an ounce of good research suggesting that homeopathic remedies are any better at treating illness than a simple placebo.
Grey takes the crankery up to another level, though. He hawks something called “eRemedies”, which are “electronic extractions of homeopathic remedies obtained directly from FDA approved pharmacies”.
The eRemedies are advertised to treat over 20 medical conditions, in both people and animals, ranging from grief to bladder infections to delivering a child. People are instructed to fill out a survey that’s purportedly sent to an algorithm that plops out a customised 13-second-long recording. Though every recording contains the exact same hissing sound, Grey assures his clients that each one has a “pattern of frequencies unique to the corresponding homeopathic remedy”.
The medical board isn’t too pleased about Grey’s business model. Aside from stating the obvious, that no research supports Grey’s claims of sound homeopathy, the board’s complaint attacks him for selling over-the-counter, unapproved remedies for typhoid, cholera and malaria – life-threatening conditions that require serious medical attention and can’t be self-diagnosed. On his bio page, Grey even claims to have successfully cured three of three patients of their Ebola infections over the phone within four hours in 2014 (it isn’t the first time homeopaths have advertised an Ebola treatment).
Grey, for his part, doesn’t seem willing to back down from his rhetoric. “It works really well in practice, and I’m still trying to develop investors and so on to promote it so it can be marketed and more widely used,” he recently told the Los Angeles Times.
The Medical Board of California, according to the complaint, has called for a hearing into Grey’s actions. Depending on how that goes, Grey could have his licence permanently revoked or suspended.