Thursday, July 29, 2010

Homeopathy - Doesn't Work, Deserves Government Funding

Some excerpts from the UK Government response to the Science and Technology Committee report 'Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy' :

8. We agree with many of the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations. However, our continued position on the use of homeopathy within the NHS is that the local NHS and clinicians, rather than Whitehall, are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients - including complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy - and provide accordingly for those treatments.

37. Homeopathy has a long tradition in Europe and is a recognised and widely used system of medicine across the EU. The Government takes the view that consumers who choose to use homeopathic medicines should be fully informed about their purpose and assured that standards of quality and safety are maintained. If homeopathic medicines were not subject to any kind of regulatory control consumers would not have access to such information or assurances. Conversely, if regulation was applied to homeopathic medicines as understood in the context of conventional pharmaceutical medicines, these products would have to be withdrawn from the market as medicines. This would constrain consumer choice and, more importantly, risk the introduction of unregulated, poor quality and potentially unsafe products on the market to satisfy consumer demand.

40. The main public health risk that can arise from homeopathic medicinal products is their inappropriate use in serious conditions. The National Rules Scheme (NRS) is based on the premise that public health protection is better served where it is clear that the use of these products should be restricted to minor self-limiting conditions. In response to recommendation 30, that claimed indications should not be permitted in products without demonstrated efficacy, we do not think public health will be enhanced by increasing the proportion of over the counter medicinal products sold without information as to their intended purpose.

48. The regulation of homeopathic products enables the MHRA to protect the public from unsafe products and unwarranted claims to treat serious illness. The requirement for regulation of homeopathic products is laid down in a European Directive and is a treaty obligation of the UK.

To summarise the twisted logic: homeopathy doesn't work, so it should only be used for conditions that would resolve themselves anyway (because, if you refused this placebo, the conditions would resolve themselves anyway). Homeopathy should, nonetheless, still remain government supported and funded because, even though they don't qualify as 'medicines', consumer choice requires that they be called 'medicines'.

Steaming turd

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