Dr. Ronald D. Whitmont is the current President of the American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH), which is the oldest national medical association in the United States. He is an MD trained in internal medicine and holistic medicine, who chooses to practice classical homeopathy. When the FDA recently disparaged homeopathy by claiming that a homeopathic teething remedy had harmed babies, Dr. Whitmont alone responded with a point by point analysis and rebuttal of their argument. Dr. Whitmont practices in New York City, and Rhinebeck, New York.
AS: When did you begin practicing homeopathy and what spurred your interest?
RW: I began practicing homeopathy in 1995 when I opened my first office in Amenia, New York. I had finished medical school in 1988, a transitional internship in 1989, a four year stint with the U.S. Navy in 1993, and my residency in Internal Medicine in 2005. I was fed up with conventional medicine and wanted to practice a form of medicine that wasn’t about suppressing symptoms and keeping people in a revolving door of illness. I felt that medicines were being prescribed to deal with side effects of other medicines and that people weren’t getting better, they were just being managed with more medicines, and this ultimately made them sicker.
My father was an M.D., an analytical psychologist and a homeopath. He introduced me to the field when I was young. It made sense to me, I saw its benefits first hand (on myself) and I was impressed that it actually took care of and helped resolve medical problems without creating new ones or causing side effects.
I was also impressed by the dynamic interaction between a medicine’s mental and physical effects, how both the body and the mind could be treated together, in fact had to be treated together. The system has so much integrity and the closer I looked at it the more sense it made. The more I looked at the world, the more I realized that not only did we have so many problems because of the form of medicine that we practiced, but that politics, foreign policy, social policy and our approach to the environment were all messed up because we were applying the same rotten allopathic approach to the world that we were using on our bodies.
The closer I looked at all these things, the more the homeopathic approach made sense in the world, not just in medicine. To me, this meant that there was some fundamental underlying truth that homeopathy embodied because its principles of action were so effective across the board, in the environment and in geopolitics. There is so much that is wrong with our world today which is a result of the allopathic approach, the idea that “more is better”, and that only physical or material reality is important. The world seems to have lost its moral and ethical compass, particularly in modern medicine. We are seeing a rise in conservative fundamentalism that is a reaction to failed medical strategies. Chronic diseases are epidemic, and are a direct result of modern medical interventions. The system has failed, and the forced attempt to restrict access to alternatives is a desperate attempt to distract us from seeing this.
AS: Yes, the West seems to be stuck in an unworkable paradigm. It must have been a relief to have such a marvelous alternative. Apparently there is now a concerted effort to suppress that alternative. The FDA recently tried to argue that a homeopathic teething remedy had harmed babies. You alone responded with a point by point analysis which debunked their argument.
We’ve seen similar attacks on homeopathy in Australia, Canada and the UK. Are we past the point where actual facts matter? How would you like the homeopathic community to respond now?
RW: I don’t think we are past the point where facts matter, because I think that they matter now more than ever before. It’s important to remember that the historical struggle between allopaths and homeopaths was never about the facts of practice, or efficacy for that matter; it was always about “turf”, and turf is all about money.
The struggle that we are still engaged in today, worldwide, is still about money. And it’s become more desperate as the stakes got higher. Modern medicine (allopathic medicine) is all about money. It’s all about profit. It is not a healing art anymore, but a medical trade. Wall Street drives medicine in the U.S., and I suspect that it has done so since 1910 when the Flexner report came out condemning homeopathic medical schools (which, up until that time, had credentials, standards and reputations superior to allopathic schools). The Flexner report was created by the Carnegie Foundation. Andrew Carnegie was a steel and railroad tycoon, in league with other magnates, who founded the organization with government support. One of the Carnegie Foundations first projects was to condemn homeopathic medical schools, which does not appear coincidental. The Flexner report was the beginning of the end of homeopathic medicine in the U.S. and it appears that a century later, since homeopathy refused to disappear, the FDA may now be trying to finish the job.
The current commissioner of the FDA is Scott Gottlieb, MD, who has been a partner in a large venture capital firm (New Enterprise Associates) for the past 11 years. This is a multibillion dollar organization that invests in some of the same companies that the FDA is responsible for regulating. Does this seem like a conflict of interest? Certainly in today’s government, this has become common.
Homeopathy is a threat to any system of healthcare that is profit based because it doesn’t rely on continually advancing technology, or multiple codependent industries that generate huge profits. One one hand, homeopathy is so simple and so non-technology based that it is inexpensive and easy to utilize. It cuts costs in the long run because it eliminates illnesses rather than making them chronic (which is essentially what allopathic medicine appears to do). Oddly, though, homeopathy is a much more complex (and more difficult specialty to practice) than conventional medicine. Conventional medicine essentially follows a series of simple algorithms (like cooking recipes from a cookbook) that any average physician can follow with their eyes closed. Homeopathy, to work well, relies on a painstaking individualization process that demands attention to the holistic totality of every medicine and every patient. Treating every single case as a unique entity is much more time and brain intensive than merely following an algorithm for every case with the same diagnosis.
Homeopathy does not generate large profits for the manufacturers of medicines or even the ancillary support services and products. Homeopathy helps resolve illnesses, which reduces costs over the long run. Everything about homeopathy is anathema to conventional allopathic practices.
As long as the field of medicine is dominated by for-profit industries seeking to keep it profitable, homeopathy will be pushed aside using any available means, including lies, propaganda and ultimately making it illegal to practice. It’s time that America (and the world) woke up and took a look around and noticed that their lives have become exploitable commodities that are being bought and sold and managed like so many cattle on a ranch. Until we do collectively wake up, meaningful, inexpensive, and effective practices like homeopathy will continue to be bullied and shut-out of academia, the marketplace and hospitals, not because it is ineffective, but because it doesn’t generate a profit, and it can’t compete in a profit based system
I’m not sure that any response from the homeopathic community will matter that much, but if we don’t try, we will never know. Ideally, people should be strenuously objecting to what the FDA is already doing with homeopathy. They should be objecting to the language and the attitude that the FDA has toward this valuable healing art. People should be insisting, not just that the FDA leave homeopathy alone, but they should be insisting that medical schools start teaching it again, that researchers begin researching it again and that our public health system make its inclusion a priority for every American. The sidelining of homeopathy in America is a crime against the public
People should write to the FDA, but also to their elected officials and tell them what is important to them.
AS: So the battle continues and the same forces that are lined up against homeopathy are also causing other kinds of damage. California recently passed one of the most draconian mandatory vaccine laws. What kind of consequences are we looking at if getting 69 vaccines by age 17 becomes national law? Could homeoprophylaxis and constitutional treatment replace vaccines?
RW: I haven’t looked critically at all the research on homeoprophylaxis, but what I’ve seen is very encouraging. We definitely need more research and more critical and unbiased analysis of the data in this promising field. The Cuban study on leptospirosis was extremely positive, suggesting that homeoprophylaxis has an important role to play in the management of public health crises, particularly in epidemic diseases.