Disaster struck ongoing attempts to prove the efficacy of homeopathic remedies today after researchers forgot which of the test groups took the placebo.
Scientists at the Kettering Institute of Sugary Water Research and Development had carried out a huge, multi-year study into the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies on a test sample of thousands, only to realise at the last minute they couldn’t remember to which group they’d given plain, ordinary sugar pills.
“It’s really frustrating,” said head researcher Simone Williams. “We gave one group just homeopathic pills to treat their symptoms, whilst the other group got a sugar pill placebo to mimic the effect of treatment of a proper homeopathic pill.
“Things were going really well, and it seemed the double-blind structure of the study was working perfectly – patients recovered or died seemingly completely at random, which is just what you’d expect if we’d designed the test properly.
“It was only after I devoted years of my life to this study that I discovered we’d mixed all the paperwork up and we couldn’t tell which group was which.
“Obviously, the only thing I can do now is write up the study to show everyone who got better was treated homeopathically, and then apply for huge medical funding based on this unequivocal proof.”