Stop Funding Homeopathy, Say British MPs
23 February 2010
Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded.
In preparing its report, the committee [The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee], which scrutinises the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect.
"We conclude that placebos should not be routinely prescribed on the National Health Service," the report says. It also says homeopathic hospitals should not be funded by the NHS, and NHS doctors should not refer patients to homeopaths.
The committee also says that prescribing of placebos, which have an effect because a patient believes they will, involves a "degree of patient deception" and so is "not consistent with informed patient choice".
The committee is also critical of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and its practice of licensing homeopathic treatments. This gives the incorrect impression that the evidence of efficacy for homeopathic remedies is as strong as for conventional medicines, the report says.
The committee rejected the MHRA's justification for licensing homeopathic remedies - that there is an "important homeopathic tradition" to uphold. "Witchcraft is traditional, so does that mean the MHRA should endorse that too?" Willis asks.
Homeopathic medicines are diluted so much that it is extremely unlikely that any active component can possibly be left in the solution. The committee failed to identify any plausible explanation for how such remedies might work.
Homeopathy has no place in an institution with a medical school that claims to be practicing evidence-based medicine. Third greatest public research university in the world? I wonder who will win the first Nobel Prize for Medicine by doing homeopathy?