Creating Waves of Awareness
A little editorial message: Why does the press, media and governmental agencies listen to the ranting of the Anti-Homeopaths? Because they take action to voice their opinions. And this is what gets heard. With hundreds of thousands of people who use and love homeopathy, we need them all to speak up. Make your vote count. Takes just a minute.
The British Medical Journal Has Gotten Into the Act
This poll goes along with an article that is obviously slanted titled:
A cross party group of MPs says that the NHS should cease fundinghomoeopathy, which it says is a placebo treatment and involves deceiving the patient every time it is prescribed.
It is not sufficient to allow a treatment on the NHS just because it offers patients a choice—an argument often cited by the government for homoeopathy being provided by the health service. In their report the MPs claim that "when doctors prescribe placebos, they risk damaging the trust that exists between them and their patients."
For its second report under a programme of work called "Evidence Check," the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee looked at whether the government’s policies on homoeopathy were based on sound evidence. It found a mismatch between the evidence and policy. Although the government acknowledges that there is no evidence that homoeopathy works beyond a placebo effect, it does not intend to change or review its policy of funding homoeopathy on the NHS, the committee concluded.
MPs found that the explanation given by advocates of homoeopathy that the ultra-dilutions used in remedies can maintain an imprint of substances previously dissolved in them—so called "water memory"—to be "scientifically implausible."
Providing homoeopathy on the NHS gives the remedies "a badge of authority that is unjustified," they said.
Their report says, "Since the NHS Constitution explicitly gives people the right to expect that decisions on the funding of drugs and treatments are made ‘following proper consideration of the evidence,’ patients may reasonably form the view that homeopathy is an evidence-based treatment."
The MPs have called for the government to look into the ethics of prescribing homoeopathy. They also said that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency should no longer license homoeopathic products or allow product labels to make medical claims without evidence of effectiveness.
It is estimated that the NHS spends £4m (4.6m; $6.2m) on homoeopathy every year, although this does not include the maintenance and running costs of the four homoeopathic hospitals in the UK or the £20m spent five years ago on refurbishing the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital.
In 2007 West Kent primary care trust concluded that homoeopathy was not cost effective, which led to the closure of Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital. An investigation last year by Channel 4 television’s More4 News found that at least nine other primary care trusts do not fund homoeopathy.
The committee recommends that the health department circulate the review of homoeopathy conducted by West Kent to other trusts with homoeopathic hospitals in their area.
Phil Willis, the committee’s chairman, said, "This was a challenging inquiry which provoked strong reactions. We were seeking to determine whether the government’s policies on homoeopathy are based on current evidence. They are not.
"It sets an unfortunate precedent for the Department of Health to consider that the existence of a community which believes that homoeopathy works is ‘evidence’ enough to continue spending public money on it. This also sends out a confused message and has potentially harmful consequences."
The Department of Health said it would provide a full response to the report within two months. However, a spokesperson added, "Our view is that the local NHS and clinicians, rather than Whitehall, are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients—this includes complementary or alternative treatments such as homoeopathy."
Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1091Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy is atwww.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology.cfm.