There are several problems with alternative medicines. An obvious one is that they are unproven. Most of them rely on some scientifically dubious theories that make them unlikely to work. In fact, when their claims are tested in epidemiological studies, they don’t pass. Most of the time, their effect does not deviate from a placebo one and in some cases, there is not even a placebo effect. In Western countries, things like acupuncture, reflexology and homeopathy are relatively innocuous. When people are willing to undergo these “medicines”, probably because it is fashionable to do so, they still go to a real medic when their ailments are serious enough. They are problematic, however, when some organisations like “homeopaths without borders” go to third world countries to “offer” a “choice” of care to the patients there. Quite often, they come off as a cheaper, less invasive alternatives, and patients drop the real medicine altogether (it is often advertised to do so). In that case, the relatively innocuous snake oil practices one can see in the Western hemisphere become a crime: depending on the disease the homeopaths intend to “treat”, homeopathy amounts to condemning the people who take the sugar pill to a certain —and painful— death. This is bad enough.
Some won’t go to Haïti or Africa to commit these crimes, though. They’ll rely on the despair of families to make money. A lot of it. Interestingly, instead of defending their claims concerning neoplastons, the Burzynski Clinic (I certainly won’t link to the website of the clinic) decided to attack all who would question their method, as Rhys Morgan, a teenage boy from Wales made the bitter experience. They are also trying to basically shut down any reference to them on the Internet. Well, as always, such a strategy didn’t work: there is just more posts about them. And this is a good thing. Josephine Jones has a collection of links to read about the matter. These links highlight the practices of this clinic. I won’t comment on them: they speak for themselves.
Just one thing though: if a person you love is afflicted by cancer, go to a real oncologist. This disease is bad enough, don’t let reckless people use it as a device to drain your bank account dry.