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The Positives About Homeopathy


Positives about homeopathy
The Guardian Saturday 13 June 2009


The apparent success of homeopathy for many patients is puzzling. But Dr Evan Harris MP is wrong to say it is "known not to be effective" (£12m spend on homeopathy hard to swallow, Society, 10 June). In fact, out of six reviews of the scientific evidence carried out by the independent and respected Cochrane Collaboration, two are cautiously positive and four inconclusive. There is also some evidence to say that homeopathy may be effective in the long term for chronic intractable problems. Inconvenient for those who oppose integrated healthcare perhaps, but very different from demonstrating homeopathy is "ineffective".

If the NHS were to withdraw access to homeopathy, it would not save the £4m a year it currently spends. Patients now receiving homeopathy would still need treatment, almost certainly at a higher cost and with greater risk of side effects from treatment. The mistake made by Dr Harris and Professor Edzard Ernst is to assume that we have effective treatments for all conditions and all patients. We don't. Some patients cannot tolerate existing treatments, often those with multiple morbidity - suffering from several conditions, each needing different treatment. For some conditions, we have no effective treatment at all. Is it morally acceptable to deny patients access to a well-established treatment they find effective when no conventional treatment is available? We would suggest not.

Professor George Lewith
Professor of health research, University of Southampton
Dr Michael Dixon
Medical director, Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health
Dr Peter Fisher
Clinical director, Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital

More points to keep in mind when defending homeopathy

  • Where do people who already depend upon homeopathy in the government facilities go for healthcare?
  • What are the costs for eliminating the treatments already available?
  • Medical institutions must take into consideration chronic ailments, diseases and people dealing with intractable pain who have no other alternatives in the traditional medical field.
  • What are the moral implications to removing care that is satisfactory?

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