10:23 Campaign

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English 10:23 logo.
Michael Marshall leads a homoeopathic overdose at QED 2011

The 10:23 Campaign (stylized as 1023) is an awareness and protest campaign against homoeopathy organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society,[1] a non-profit organisation, to oppose the sale of homoeopathic products in the United Kingdom. The campaign has staged public "overdoses" of homoeopathic preparations.[2][3]

Origin and name[edit]

In 2004, the Belgian skeptical organisation SKEPP made headlines when thirty skeptics at Ghent University performed a "mass suicide stunt" with an overdose of homeopathically diluted snake poison, belladonna and arsenic, in an attempt to publicly show that homeopathy does not work.[4][5][6] When Belgian skeptics met with Merseyside Skeptics during a Skeptics in the Pub in 2010, the idea was adopted to hold an international event.[7]

The campaign's name, 10:23, comes from Avogadro's number, which is approximately 6.022 x 1023.[8]


The campaign aims to raise awareness of implausible and unsubstantiated claims made by homoeopaths.[1] It opposes high street retailers, such as Boots UK, stocking homoeopathic remedies alongside mainstream medicines,[3] saying that "the support lent by Boots to this quack therapy contributes directly to its acceptance as a valid medical treatment by the British public, acceptance it does not warrant and support it does not deserve."[9]

The organisers state that homoeopathy is "an unscientific and absurd pseudoscience",[3] and that, according to their statement, "There is nothing in it."[10][11] They question the ethics of selling treatments to the public which have not been proven to be efficacious and are widely disregarded by the scientific community.[12]


10:23 by the Hungarian Skeptic Society. Szeged, 5 February 2011
10:23 by Society against Quackery and Stichting Skepsis members and sympathisers in Amsterdam.

On 30 January 2010, members participated in a protest involving a mass overdose of homoeopathic products to demonstrate its inefficacy.[2][3][13] Many protesters stood outside branches of Boots UK, other shops selling homoeopathic products, and other prominent public spaces and took 84 pills each of arsenicum album, 20 times the recommended dose.[3]

A second overdose was organised for 5–6 February 2011.[14] Worldwide, the campaign received commitments of participation from 70 cities in 30 countries.[15][16] In the United Kingdom, events took place in Manchester, as part of the QED Conference,[17] and Cardiff.[18] The original Belgian SKEPP and the Dutch organisations Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij and Stichting Skepsis also participated in the worldwide 10:23 Campaign. They carried out their tongue-in-cheek suicide attempt in Brussels and Amsterdam specifically to protest the recognition of homeopathic preparations by the European Parliament.[19][20] Czech Sisyfos organization joined this happening when its members tried to publicly overdose themselves in Prague.[21][22]

In April 2012, at the Berkeley SkeptiCal conference, over 100 people participated in a mass overdose, taking caffea cruda, which is intended to treat sleeplessness.[23][24]

There have been no reports of ill effects following any of the overdoses.[25]


Notable scientists and public figures have shown support for the 10:23 Campaign, including Phil Plait,[26] James Randi Educational Foundation,[27] Simon Singh,[28] Steven Novella,[29] Penn Jillette,[30] and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.[31]

James Randi invited advocates and retailers of homoeopathy to take the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge to prove that homoeopathy was efficacious to win a prize and has himself overdosed on homoeopathic sleeping pills as part of his stage show.[32][33][34]

Reaction and media coverage[edit]

The campaign gained international coverage in the press from The Australian,[35] The Medical Observer,[36] BBC,[3] The Independent,[12] The Telegraph,[37] and The Guardian.[38]

The British Homeopathic Association dismissed the 10:23 Campaign as "grossly irresponsible", describing the public overdose as dangerous, and claimed that the participants had no understanding of how to select remedies appropriately.[39]

Melbourne-based Dr Ken Harvey told Pharmacy News "the campaign would raise awareness of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) transparency review and concerns over homeopathic products."[40]



  1. ^ a b "1023.org.uk". Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Overdose' protest against homeopathy". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Liverpool anti-homeopathy campaigners stage protest". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  4. ^ Hilde Pauwels (12 January 2004). "Gif slikken om homeopathie te ontmaskeren". De Standaard (in Dutch). VUMmedia. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  5. ^ (in Dutch) De Homeopathie stunt. Skepp.be, 1 March 2004 (overview of media articles)
  6. ^ Bonneux, Luc (May–June 2004). "Belgium Skeptics Commit Mass Suicide". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 28 (3). Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ Hall, Mike; Marshall, Marsh; Harris, Colin (23 September 2010). "Skeptics with a K: Episode No. 031". Skeptics with a K (podcast). Episode 31. Merseyside Skeptics Society. Retrieved 25 August 2014.: 14:27 
  8. ^ "10:23 Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  9. ^ Merseyside Skeptics Society. "An Open Letter to Alliance Boots". 10:23 Campaign website.
  10. ^ "Homeopathy: Overdosing on nothing".
  11. ^ Merseyside Skeptics Society. "The 10:23 Challenge". Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  12. ^ a b Davis, Margaret (30 January 2010). "Mass 'overdose' staged in homeopathic protest – Health News – Health & Families". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Mass "overdose" in Leicester city centre". Leicester Mercury. 30 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  14. ^ Merseyside Skeptics Society. "The 10:23 Challenge". Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  15. ^ Merseyside Skeptics Society. "The 10:23 Challenge 2011". Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  16. ^ "The 10:23 Challenge 2011 | The 10:23 Campaign | #ten23". 1023.org.uk. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Event Schedule :: QED :: Question Explore Discover". North West Skeptical Events Ltd. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  18. ^ Morgan, Rhys (28 January 2011). "Consumers in Cardiff stage homeopathic 'overdose'". Skeptical. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  19. ^ "Skepp pleegt collectief zelfmoord". De Standaard (in Dutch). Corelio. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  20. ^ (in Dutch) Homeopathische zelfmoordpoging Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine wereldburgers.tv. 5 February 2011
  21. ^ Hympl, Josef (6 February 2011). "Protestující se demonstrativně "předávkovali" homeopatiky". Tyden.cz (in Czech). ISSN 1210-9940.
  22. ^ Kořínek, Petr. "Homeopatika neléčí". Český rozhlas Regina (in Czech). Český rozhlas. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  23. ^ Munger, Kel. "Drugs, not bugs". Sacramento News Review. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  24. ^ "Mixing Homeopathic "Remedies" for 2011 San Francisco 10:23 "Overdose" ". 10:23 campaign. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  25. ^ "No ill effects after public homeopathic overdose". Medical Observer. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  26. ^ Plait, Phil (4 January 2010). "Homeopathy and the 10:23 project". Discover. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  27. ^ "Worldwide 10:23 campaign on homeopathy: Feb. 5". Randi.org. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  28. ^ Print Email Shortlink (30 January 2010). "Andy Lewis and Simon discuss Homeopathy and the 10:23 Campaign". Simonsingh.net. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Randi issues a Challenge". Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Penn Point : Massive Homeopathic Overdose Cures". Youtube. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  31. ^ "The 10:23 Event". Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  32. ^ Randi, James. "James Randi Speaks Homeopathy Week 2010 ". JREF. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021.
  33. ^ Randi, James. "James Randi Lecture @ Caltech – Homeopathy ". California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  34. ^ Randi, James. "James Randi's Challenge to Homeopathy Manufacturers and Retail Pharmacies". JREF. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  35. ^ Adam Taor. "Good week for sceptics". The Australian. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  36. ^ Caroline Brettingham-Moore. "No ill effects after public homeopathic overdose". The Medical Observer. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  37. ^ "Boots hit by mass homeopathy 'overdose'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  38. ^ Martin Robbins. "Homeopathy: At 10:23 tomorrow we will prove there's nothing in it | Martin Robbins | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  39. ^ "The British Homeopathic Association dismisses 10:23 campaign". British Homeopathic. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  40. ^ "Homeopathy "overdose" to highlight TGA transparency". Pharmacy News. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.

External links[edit]