Finally - sticking a fork in Homeopathy

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I am a big believer in herbalism and plant-based medicines but Homeopathy never registered with me as being a viable alternative. It was developed by one person and some of his ideas were ludicrous.

Every year in April, there is a Homeopathy Awareness Week and I find it shameful that these people will hold out the hope of a cure to people when they themselves know that this is not so. If the practitioners sincerely believe their practice, they are delusional and should not be practicing any kind of health care that involved another person or creature.

It seems that Homeopathy is finally getting the treatment it deserves - a trifecta:

First - from England's House of Commons - Science and Technology Committee - Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy  Note - the NHS is England's National Health Service

Conclusions
The Government’s position on homeopathy is confused. On the one hand, it accepts that homeopathy is a placebo treatment. This is an evidence-based view. On the other hand, it funds homeopathy on the NHS without taking a view on the ethics of providing placebo treatments. We argue that this undermines the relationship between NHS doctors and their patients, reduces real patient choice and puts patients’ health at risk. The Government should stop allowing the funding of homeopathy on the NHS.

We conclude that placebos should not be routinely prescribed on the NHS. The funding of homeopathic hospitals—hospitals that specialize in the administration of placebos—should not continue, and NHS doctors should not refer patients to homeopaths.

Second - from this March 2015 report from Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council:

Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.

Homeopathy should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious. People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness. People who are considering whether to use homeopathy should first get advice from a registered health practitioner. Those who use homeopathy should tell their health practitioner and should keep taking any prescribed treatments.

The National Health and Medical Research Council expects that the Australian public will be offered treatments and therapies based on the best available evidence.

The third and final post comes from Dr. Steven Novella writing at The NeuroLogicaBlog:

Are We Seeing the End of Homeopathy?
Several years ago, during a lecture on Science-Based Medicine, I noted that if there were one medical pseudoscience that was vulnerable to extinction it was homeopathy. Homeopathy is perhaps the most obviously absurd medical pseudoscience. It is also widely studied, and has been clearly shown to not work. Further, there is a huge gap in the public understanding of what homeopathy is; it therefore seems plausible that the popularity of homeopathy can take a huge hit just by telling the public what it actually is.

Further, homeopathy is in a precarious regulatory position. Homeopathic products are presented and regulated as drugs, but clearly they are not, and they are also not supplements, herbal drugs, nutrition-based, or natural products. They are simply fraudulent drugs riding a wave of ignorance.

In the last few years homeopathy has had a rough time. While the industry is still growing, there are signs of clear trouble on the horizon. Let’s review:

Dr. Novella proceeds to give a little bit of detail on Homeopathy's beginnings and then rips it a new one for the obvious inconsistencies when subjected to simple blind testing. He then offers this beacon of hope:

The FDA and the FTC in the United States are now both receiving testimony, questioning their current regulation of homeopathy. Currently the FDA essentially doesn’t regulate homeopathy, even though the law tasks them to do so. They let the homeopathic industry regulate itself, but they are questioning this in light of the exploding OTC homeopathic product industry. This is a good thing. Any change is likely to be an improvement. Likewise, the FTC is accepting comments on how it can better regulate the advertising of homeopathic products.

There is even a possibility that the FDA will decide to do their actual job – require testing of homeopathic products to demonstrate efficacy before allowing them on the market. If they do this simple and obvious thing, the homeopathic industry in the US will vanish over night, because there is no evidence to support any homeopathic product for any indication. They will have to endure the outrage of quacks, charlatans, and the deluded, but hey, that’s their job. Suck it up.

The sooner this practice drops off people's horizons, the better. It is a scam and by deluding people, it is doing substantial harm to the most vulnerable in our population.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 21, 2015 8:57 PM.

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