Members of the public who doubt the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies have held a mass “overdose” protest outside boots stores to make their point.
Supporters of Merseyside Skeptics Society (MSS) have urged high-street chemist Boots to stop stocking the remedies, claiming they are “scientifically absurd”.
They gathered outside branches of the store in Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Leicester and Birmingham to swallow bottles of tablets.
Homeopathy tries to help the body heal itself, using very highly diluted substances.
Michael Marshall, from the MSS, said: “We believe that they shouldn’t be selling sugar pills to people who are sick. Homeopathy never works any better than a placebo. The remedies are diluted so much that there is nothing in them.”
He took a remedy said to contain arsenic but explained that the chances of finding one molecule of the substance in the tablets were incredibly small.
Mr Marshall said that consumers trust the company and it should not sell the remedies alongside mainstream medicines.
Similar demonstrations were planned in Canada, Spain, the US and Australia, he added.
The chief executive of the Society of Homeopaths, Paula Ross, said: “This is an ill advised publicity stunt in very poor taste, which does nothing to advance the scientific debate about how homeopathy actually works.”