Indian YouTube channels make money from harmful quack videos: report

London: Several Youtube channels in India are profiting from quack healing videos, for children suffering from behavioral problems and asthma which can harm health if followed, according to media reports.

According to a Daily Mail report, there were dozens of videos glorifying the use of the homeopathic remedy medorrhinum, even on children.

Medorrhinum is made from the urethral discharge of men with gonorrhea – a sexually transmitted disease. The US-based National Center for Homeopathy says it can treat asthma, epilepsy, warts, menstrual pain and even psoriasis, according to the report.

YouTube ran advertisements for various companies during the videos which were largely from India-based channels and garnered over half a million views.

The Google-owned video-sharing platform earns its money from advertisers based on the number of ad views. The online giant places ads on videos that have been monetized by the downloader.

A YouTube spokesperson said it prohibits content that encourages “dangerous or illegal activities”, including videos promoting the sale of illegal substances.

“Medorrhinum is not a known illegal or regulated asset and therefore is not in violation of our policies,” the company said.

A video, filmed by Mumbai-based homeopathy consultant Dr. Jawahar Shah, advocated giving medorrhinum to children who show symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

“Children who are rude and aggressive, throw temper tantrums, fight with other children, especially during the day, and who may kick and hit their parents or loved ones may receive a medorrhinum,” said said the video, which has over 30,000 views. .

“At night, these children become very playful and affectionate. Such behavior can be expressed by the expression “going through the day, merry at night”.

On another channel, Dr Saptarshi Banerjea, with 50,600 subscribers and more than 50 homeopathy videos, said medorrhinum can treat children who seem both “cruel and compassionate” or “introverted but sociable”.

In the video, which has over 150,000 views, he said it was “fantastic treatment” for people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, as they display “extreme types of behavior”, according to the report.

There are also videos promoting magnesium as a “cure” for autism.

However, experts have expressed concerns about the health risk posed by such videos.

Former NHS England chief Simon Stevens previously accused homeopaths of spreading toxic ‘misinformation’ about vaccines and posing ‘a significant danger to human health’.

“Homeopathic remedies are almost without exception so diluted that they contain no active ingredients, but that does not mean they are harmless – as this survey shows,” said Michael Marshall, project director at the Good Thinking Society. .

Homeopathic pills ‘cannot offer any help when it comes to conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia’ and children receiving homeopathy ‘instead of real medicine could suffer from a seizure. life-threatening asthma,” he warned.

YouTube has previously come under fire for hosting health videos with health-damaging content – ​​most recently after a study found a quarter of its most-watched Covid videos in English contained misleading information.

It has also previously monetized videos promoting fake cancer cures by running ads for major brands before they aired, according to the report.

Homeopathy is an alternative “treatment” based on the use of highly diluted samples of substances – often flowers – that dates back to the early 1800s.

It is based on the “as heals as” principle, the belief that materials known to cause certain symptoms can also cure them.

Raymond T. Helms