Parliamentary Sci Tech Committee on Homeopathy

February 22nd, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy | 81 Comments »

Here’s the report, press release below. It looks like pretty sensible stuff to me, homeopaths can’t expect special treatment among all forms of medicine, if the evidence actively shows it doesn’t work, then that’s that. I have to say what really frightens me about all this is the MHRA: if regulation is so political that they can fall into holes over sugar pills, it tells a frightening story about their wider activities.

EDIT: Just whizzed through the report, like their one on abortion, it’s a really fantastic bit of pop science writing on evidence based medicine.

While you’re here, can I ask a favour? A lot of homeopaths and GPs who like to give out sugar pills are appearing on the news, claiming that RCTs are no way to test if a pill works, cherrypicking, etc. It would be great if people could note the name and the claim here or in an email (ben@badscience.net as ever) so we can track how much harm these people are doing to the publics’ understanding of evidence, in the course of this “special case” pleading for their own pills.

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmsctech.htm

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

Select Committee Announcement

Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

Tel. No. 020 7219 2794 Fax. No. 020 7219 0896 Email: scitechcom@parliament.uk

***EMBARGOED UNTIL 11 AM MONDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2010***

No. 21 (09-10): 22 February 2010

MPS URGE GOVERNMENT TO WITHDRAW NHS
FUNDING AND MHRA LICENSING OF HOMEOPATHY

In a report published today, the Science and Technology Committee concludes that the NHS
should cease funding homeopathy. It also concludes that the Medicines and Healthcare
products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should not allow homeopathic product labels to make
medical claims without evidence of efficacy. As they are not medicines, homeopathic products
should no longer be licensed by the MHRA.
The Committee carried out an evidence check to test if the Government’s policies on
homeopathy were based on sound evidence. The Committee found a mismatch between the
evidence and policy. While the Government acknowledges there is no evidence that
homeopathy works beyond the placebo effect (where a patient gets better because of their
belief in the treatment), it does not intend to change or review its policies on NHS funding of
homeopathy.
The Committee concurred with the Government that the evidence base shows that
homeopathy is not efficacious (that is, it does not work beyond the placebo effect) and that
explanations for why homeopathy would work are scientifically implausible.
The Committee concluded—given that the existing scientific literature showed no good
evidence of efficacy—that further clinical trials of homeopathy could not be justified.
In the Committee’s view, homeopathy is a placebo treatment and the Government should
have a policy on prescribing placebos. The Government is reluctant to address the
appropriateness and ethics of prescribing placebos to patients, which usually relies on some
degree of patient deception. Prescribing of placebos is not consistent with informed patient
choice—which the Government claims is very important—as it means patients do not have
all the information needed to make choice meaningful.
Beyond ethical issues and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship, prescribing pure
placebos is bad medicine. Their effect is unreliable and unpredictable and cannot form the
sole basis of any treatment on the NHS.
The report also examines the MHRA licensing regime for homeopathic products. The
Committee is particularly concerned over the introduction of the National Rules Scheme (NRS)
in 2006, as it allows medical indications on the basis of study reports, literature and
homeopathic provings and not on the basis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) – the normal
requirement for medicines that make medical claims.

Continues over page

1

2

The MHRA’s user-testing of the label for Arnica Montana 30C—the only product currently
licensed under the NRS—was poorly designed, with some parts of the test little more than a
superficial comprehension test of the label and other parts actively misleading participants to
believe that the product contains an active ingredient.
The product labelling for homeopathic products under all current licensing schemes fails to
inform the public that homeopathic products are sugar pills containing no active ingredients.
The licensing regimes and deficient labelling lend a spurious medical legitimacy to homeopathic
products.
The Chairman of the Committee, Phil Willis MP, said:
“This was a challenging inquiry which provoked strong reactions. We were seeking to
determine whether the Government’s policies on homeopathy are evidence 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 homeopathy works is ‘evidence’
enough to continue spending public money on it. This also sends out a confused
message, and has potentially harmful consequences. We await the Government’s
response to our report with interest.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. Further details about this inquiry can be found at:

Media Enquiries: Becky Jones: 020 7219 5693
Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/science
Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the
Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).
Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard
(from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk

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81 Responses



  1. IainP said,

    February 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Was somewhat irritated by a BBC Breakfast debate on the subject this morning:

    www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/02/daily_view_homeopathy_and_the.html

    Decided to submit a complaint (thanks ALondoner!) and see what happens – never tried it before; hopefully I’ll get a response:

    “This morning’s interview at around 8:10 with Chris French and Dr Sara Eames appeared to be an extremely misleading way to report the case for and against homeopathy. Reporting of a scientific issue using a debate between two experts is a poor way of articulating the science behind the case. These 5 and a half minutes of the programme would have been far better spent on an unbiased report explaining published evidence on whether homeopathy has been shown to work.

    Furthermore, while one guest, Chris French, attempted to explain the concensus among almost all scientists working in evidence based medicine, he was interrupted by the interviewer (Bill Turnbull, I believe). The interviewer tells the guest (who appears far better informed on the science in question) that there is ‘debate’ over homeopathy. However, this ‘debate’ appears to be the perception of the interviewer and is not borne out by the scientific concensus based on the combined evidence from all scientific studies on the subject.

    I would like to know if the BBC intends to continue reporting science in this uninformative ‘debate’ format. Additionally, I would like to know whether the programme’s editor believes that a 5 minute item reporting impartially on the scientific evidence of homeopathy would be less informative than the debate that was actually featured, and why.”

  2. elvisionary said,

    February 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    @owl, the question isn’t how much should be spent – it’s what public money should be spent on. You’re clearly right that any treatment costs money, whether it is effective or not. And DrJG is clearly right that there are elements of medicine that are more art than science. But does that make it right to spend public money on placebos and then pretend to the recipients of this public service that they are getting something different? To me, that’s simply inappropriate.

    Let people spend their own money in whatever stupid way they see fit. But when it’s your money and mine, certain standards apply, and to my mind homeopathy falls well below those standards. (I feel the same way about faith schools – but that’s a whole other question!)

  3. Ginger Yellow said,

    February 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    “I help to look after a rural community hospital with only 12 beds and that costs nearly £2 million a year to run.
    Anyone like to find out the actual budgets for running the 4 homoeopathic hospitals?”

    To be fair, they don’t need 12 beds. They only need 1 bed, diluted by 10^30. That’s got to cut costs.

  4. pv said,

    February 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    @kim said,
    February 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm
    I think JG raises some interesting points. I also think that s/he probably knows the answer to “why it does get relatively high patient satisfaction scores.” The answer is that homoeopathic practitioners listen attentively to what patients say and take them seriously. That makes a huge difference for people who have been ignored and patronised by medical practitioners.

    This is in fact a commonly repeated slander against proper GPs.

    There certainly are differences between most homeopaths and most GPs. For a start GPs carry a great deal of responsibility whereas homeopaths are simply play acting, with no responsibility to anything except their own delusions. GPs patient lists are usually several magnitudes larger the homeopath lists. GPs occasionally get to deal with real, serious illnesses whereas homeopaths get to pander to their clients’ delusions while their clients’ illnesses resolve themselves.

    And once more I think it’s worth pointing out that homeopathy’s record of curing non-self-limiting conditions is, after 200 years, precisely zero. It follows that not one single homeopath has ever prescribed/issued/recommended a homeopathic “remedy” that has cured a non-self-limiting condition.
    It’s probably also fair to say that no homeopathic remedy has directly led to the resolution of a self-limiting condition (by definition they resolve themselves).

  5. thenighttripper said,

    February 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    A bit of information about the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, from their own lips.
    “The historic site of the RLHH on the corner of Queen Square and Great Ormond Street has undergone a comprehensive £20m makeover to transform it into a leading centre for integrated medicine.” (This was finished in 2005)
    Their facilities include;

    * Allergy Environmental and Nutritional Medicine
    * Autogenics Training
    * Children’s Clinic
    * Complementary Cancer Care Programme
    * Education services
    * Musculoskeletal Medicine Clinic
    * Pharmacy Services
    * Skin Services
    * Stress and Mood Disorder Clinic
    * The Marigold Clinic – Homeopathic Podiatry and Chiropody
    * Womens Clinic

    The Marigold Clinic was fascinating; “Quick acting and without adverse reactions, Marigold Therapy is suitable for people of all ages. Its gentle, noninvasive nature makes it attractive to patients. The non-painful procedure helps to remove even the youngest patient’s fear of treatment. It is also helpful for people for whom surgery is contra-indicated.”
    And how helpful to know that, “No animals are used in the manufacture of Marigold Therapy preparations, making this therapy a natural choice.”
    But all in all the level of services they provide suggests that the quoted figure of £4 million a year on homeopathic treatment is a complete fabrication. The problem is that the Homeopathic Hospitals tend to be within a group of hospitals, making it difficult to disaggregate the spend on each section. But they all have a 70% satisfaction figure.
    And ginger yellow is correct, they don’t need beds, as, “Most inpatients (are)accommodated in local hotels while those requiring hospital admission are admitted to other Trust hospitals.”

  6. Guy said,

    February 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Skysteve,
    I don’t wish to get into defending homeopathy which is at best total placebo and more generally delusional fraud. However as a doctor I suspect you prescribe SSRI anti-depressants. Several hundred million are spent on these each year by the NHS. They are pretty effective, but sadly no more effective than placebo pills. Hopefully however you know this so are not deluding yourself. This isn’t a criticism of you but there are some inconsistencies within medicine.

  7. penglish said,

    February 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    There are lots of comments about the quality of the placebo effect above… As the son of a medical homeopath, and a former GP myself, I can comment on this.

    As a GP, patients want to tell you about certain things – the colour of their snot, the effect of temperature, which side of their body the symptoms affect most… Many of the things they want to tell you about are of very little value in getting to a diagnosis and providing the right treatment.

    If you are a homeopath, however, the things you want to know about, in order to choose the right “remedy”, are exactly the things patients are so keen to tell you about. I’m sure this is no coincidence.

    The fact that a homeopath is extremely interested in the things the patient wants to tell him or her, must surely mean that the “doctor-as-drug” placebo effect will be much stronger than when the patient sees a doctor who tries to hurry them through these symptoms, and focus only on those that will lead to a diagnosis.

  8. penglish said,

    February 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I love the youtube clip. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFm4uCxbMU0&feature=player_embedded

    2000 years of homoepathy? Strange, I thought Samuel Hahnemann (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hahnemann) invented homeopathy at the turn of the start of the 19th century…

  9. skyesteve said,

    February 23, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    @Guy – always happy to discuss/debate and be pragmatic/willing to change but can I refer you to my post from the How To Defeat Wu thread (number 39) when I said:-

    “In fairness, in contrast to other complimentary therapies, I actually have some time for herbalism because it can at least demonstrate a logical physiological basis and may, in the right hands, be as effective as “modern” therapy for some conditions – for example, the use of St John’s wort as compared to SSRIs in mild to moderate depression (although perhaps that’s a poor example given that both may not be much better than placebo…)”

    Your statement re SSRIs is true for mild depression but less so for moderate depression but nonetheless you can see from the above post I am sceptical about their value even in those circumstances and that’s exactly what I tell my patients.

  10. Guy said,

    February 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Steve, thanks for reply. The use of SSRI’s in primary care is placebo. I find this very uncomfortable, but it is true. Hospital studies in severe depression (very rarely seen in primary care) and publication bias have given the myth that they are highly effective drugs. Not sure where this argument takes me as I’d happily ban NHS homeopathy. Lots of interesting comments about use of placebos in this argument and others. The old days when prescriptions could be unlabelled, so placebos could be used, has gone. Not sure what the place of the placebo is in modern medicine. Wrapping it up as homeopathy however is definitely not the answer.

  11. skyesteve said,

    February 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Guy – thanks in return. Please believe me when I say I share your doubts about the value of SSRIs but a quick search of the Cochrane reviews would suggest that even in moderate depression they may be marginally better than placebo – there are a number of reviews which suggest that MAY be the case. For example:-

    www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab007954.html

    But you’re right – almost certainly they are of no value in mild depression and they are of limited (or perhaps even very limited) value in moderate depression.
    The caveat to that is that depression as you know is not a homogenous disorder and the response is therefore not always predictable. In addition, there are clearly patients who become “dependent” on them.
    So, yes, I do think long and hard before recommending someone with moderate depression to try an SSRI and I almost never even raise the subject until I have seen and assessed them once or twice.
    What I never do is offer them an SSRI, tell them it is the thing that will help when all else has failed or talk it up way beyond what the evidence would suggest.
    Anyway, we could ping pong this back and forth for a few more posts but let’s not (though feel free to respond to this post and I promise not to counter-post unless you say something too outrageous!).
    Homoeopathy on the NHS just cannot be justified and that’s what we should be saying here loud and clear.

  12. DrJG said,

    February 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    @owl – thanks for the compliment, but if you can actually read any practical approaches from my rational considerations, I’d be very grateful if you could let me know, because I certainly can’t!

    @pv – I largely agree with your comment on self-delusion, though wonder if you are slightly oversimplifying the placebo effect (insert emoticon of choice here). But I am not sure that we are talking about the same sort of patients. I don’t know which patients get referred to the NHS homeopathic hospitals, but I doubt that they are mainly those with self-limiting ailments. The patients I am thinking of are more in the area of those sometimes labelled as having “medically unexplained symptoms” they are likely to have had symptoms for months or years, and been extensively investigated. I think SkyeSteve can think of examples of who I mean, though I’m afraid, much as I agree CBT and similar therapies badly need proper provision, I don’t think that the current official approach that CBT is the answer to every difficult problem is realistic either. I can think of many patients who have had as much psychotherapy as they have had physical investigation, and more who will not or cannot countenance psychological approaches to their complaints.

    @kim – thank you for your diagnosis of patronisation. Let me suggest a thought experiment for you: Put a homeopathist in the situation of a a GP, give them the same case mix and, most importantly, the same few minutes per patient with more arriving al the time, all of the data collection demanded of us, etc, and watch those approval ratings plummet. Alternatively, give medical practitioners the time to give each patient a proper hearing, and watch satisfaction with conventional medicine climb.

    @elvisionary – what I was trying, badly after a heavy day, to get across is the question of what Is appropriate, and that can only be answered once you decide what your objective is. If it includes helping people to feel better, I find it very hard to say bluntly that it Is inappropriate – but that does not make me any happier about homeopathy.

  13. jwm said,

    February 23, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    -Guy

    While it is depressing to think of the use of SSRIs in most cases being placebo, policy is slowly changing, with several practices that I or colleagues have worked in only prescribing SSRIs in patients that are simultaneously being referred to tertiary care. But in a system of 60 million people and it only being 2 years since the damning meta-analyses were published it will take a while for these to slowly dissappear. Especially as it is extremely hard to deny a patient a drug which they’ve been prescribed by their doctor before ‘and works for them’.

  14. feralboy12 said,

    February 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    If I ever catch my doctor treating me with a placebo, I’m paying him with Monopoly money.

  15. shockdoc said,

    February 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I am a little distressed by the discussion of SSRI medications on the comments section here, as if they were comparable to Hopey-opathy.

    Biological effect versus clinical effectiveness
    ——————————————————-

    The first idea that makes me balk is that a rational argument about drug effectiveness in real world clinical sub-populations (versus efficacy trials) is not the same as questioning whether those drugs have a biological effect. They do. These drugs have all been through years of R & D including animal studies which demonstrate biological effects. Then the scientific community takes them out and shows what other cool stuff they can do – and they do. They are associated with brain change including probably (but not definitely) neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The fact that in some mildly ill people the risk-benefit balance lies in favour of not prescribing is not really the same as the Homeopathy versus placebo argument now is it?

    There are a number of logical arguments that have been stated already. There is good evidence that SSRIs do not work better than placebo in mildly depressed patients who have been enrolled in randomised-controlled trials.

    However, some of the problems with (for example) the Kirsch meta-regression are:

    1)The use of the words mild, moderate and severe is a by-product of the pharma companies’ classifications. All or most of these studies use the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (Hamilton 1960). This scale has one question about mood severity and three questions about sleep. It is by definition not fit for purpose. Despite this it has become the “gold standard” for measuring pharmacological efficacy in depression trials. The pharma companies ( in an effort to make it seem like they include severely depressed people in trials ) say that anything over about 24 on the HDRS is severe depression. It is not. GPs DEFINITELY see people with depression who would score >24 on the HDRS, and by this definition definitely see people who suffer from severe depression, as measured in these trials. Take another look at the Kirsch meta regression graphs. They stop at a level of severity that reduces their clnical relevance dramatically.

    2)Suicidal patients are excluded from nearly all placebo controlled trials for the obvious reason that randomising suicidal patients to placebo is considered by (most) ethics committees to be at least moderately dodgy. This excludes even moderately depressed patents with any suicidality. This in turn reduces the external validity of the trials.

    3)Irving Kirsch is pretty much an expert on the placebo effect. He knows that in placebo controlled trials the effect is mediated by a)statistical regression to the mean, b) baseline inflation of scores, c)the effect of time, d)the effect of being in a trial, e)the true placebo effect. He also knows how trials run and that they have limited external validity when it comes to clinical effectiveness ( not none but limited). He knows that active comparitor studies are better for looking at effectiveness not least because they – at minimum – act as an active placebo and -at most – provide useful information about relative efficacy of the drugs. He chose to ignore all this in presenting his findings, however and sensationally presentations were taken up in the press and widely touted. I don’t think that’s very nice. In fact I think it’s a bit stinky really.

    I could go on …. but I think you get my drift. Essentially, it’s just a bit more complicated than stated.

    PS. Just an afterthought but… most people I see with severe depression started out without depression, then they got a little bit depressed, then they got a bit better, but then they got REALLY f**ing depressed. So SSRIs might stop people getting more depressed, mightn’t they? Not to mention the evidence supporting reduced relapse rates on SSRIs versus placebo. They don’t measure that in RCTs for the FDA though.

  16. shockdoc said,

    February 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Also, wrt above slightly affronted GPs and patronising comments. GPs do a fabulous job of treating people. I go to mine all the time, at least 4 times a week, in fact, I think I’ve got a pain in my toe right now.

    Seriously, I don’t know how you guys stick it.

    GPs are treated like a filter for hospital services. Double the numbers in training say I and double the time spent with each patient and give GPs the time to do what they want to be doing, which is great medicine.

  17. Guy said,

    February 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    shockdoc, I admire your optimism!
    “The fact that in some mildly ill people the risk-benefit balance lies in favour of not prescribing is not really the same as the Homeopathy versus placebo argument now is it?”
    The meta-analysis didn’t look at just mildly depressed. Only those severely depressed benefited to any great degree. With NNT being about 8 for even severe depression they aint great. Remember the publication bias found out by freedom of information requests for premarketing trials. You really can’t fall back on saying they have a biological action, if that action is little better than placebo. Either they work in RCT or they don’t – end of argument. At least 90% of those treated with SSRI in primary care are outside the trial data. So it’s a placebo.

    So it’s only a “bit more complicated than stated” if the answer isn’t what you want. If the RCT’s disprove homeopathy we say ban it. I was just pointing out an uncomfortable fact (for me as much as you) that SSRI’s don’t do much better than placebo either.

    So nobody likes me pointing this out, but what is the place of placebo’s when used by properly qualified doctors who know they are placebos???

  18. B.Serious said,

    February 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Top Pain Scientist Fabricated Data in Studies, Hospital Says

    A prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex, according to the hospital where he worked.

    online.wsj.com/article/SB123672510903888207.html

  19. ALondoner said,

    February 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Has anyone else seen this:

    edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40517&SESSION=903

    It’s an Early Day Motion, thankfully with only 4 signatures, basically slagging off the report. Seems to be part of an organised homeopath fight back,

    www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/latest-news/

  20. skyesteve said,

    February 24, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    For those who are interested here’s the text of the Early Day Motion:-

    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE REPORT ON HOMEOPATHY23.02.2010

    Tredinnick, David (he’s a Tory in case that matters to you)
    That this House expresses concern at the conclusions of the Science and Technology Committee’s Report, Evidence Check on Homeopathy; notes that the Committee took only oral evidence from a limited number of witnesses, including known critics of homeopathy Tracy Brown, the Managing Director of Sense About Science, and journalist Dr Ben Goldacre, who have no expertise in the subject; believes that evidence should have been heard from primary care trusts that commission homeopathy, doctors who use it in a primary care setting, and other relevant organisations, such as the Society of Homeopaths, to provide balance; observes that the Committee did not consider evidence from abroad from countries such as France and Germany, where provision of homeopathy is far more widespread than in the UK, or from India, where it is part of the health service; regrets that the Committee ignored the 74 randomised controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, of which 63 showed homeopathic treatments were effective, and that the Committee recommends no further research; further notes that 206 hon. Members signed Early Day Motion No. 1240 in support of NHS homeopathic hospitals in Session 2006-07; and calls on the Government to maintain its policy of allowing decision-making on individual clinical interventions, including homeopathy, to remain in the hands of local NHS service providers and practitioners who are best placed to know their community’s needs.

    You’ll see that Ben is specifically cited as having “no expertise” in homoeopathy but, even if that’s the case, it kind of misses the point. This report was about the lack of evidence that homoeopathy was anything more than placebo and in that respect Ben has more than enough expertise to analyse and critique the research.
    Apparantly they want the NHS to determine its own local needs – well big hurrah! If only that were true and Governments kept their hands off and let them get on with it. Greater Glasgow Health Board tried to close the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital beds in 2004 but chickened out in the face of a determined campaign which included many politicians:-

    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4552289.stm

    I just feel increasingly frustrated by it all. I did sufficient homoeopathy training (3 years )that would allow me to sit the Membership of the Faculty of Homoeopathy exam. This was in the mid 1990s and I was a younger doctor trying to be open-minded. But the more I did the more I came to realise that is was nothing more that a charismatic con – pandering to the needy and offering a pill for every ill. In short – it’s crap.
    Yet, despite this report, nothing will change. The homoeopaths are trotting out the same old tosh they did then – “homoeopathy doesn’t work like conventional medicine so you can’t test it like one”; “there’s no need to do RCTs because we see it working every day in our patients”;”only homoeopaths offer a true holistic approach”; blah, blah.

  21. random592 said,

    February 25, 2010 at 1:25 am

    This bit made me laugh:

    “128. The absence of a requirement to show evidence of efficacy means that the MHRA’s current arrangements would allow a person to seek, for example, a licence for a confectionary product as long as he or she persuaded a number of people that it was a homeopathic product with therapeutic effects. Such a development would, rightly, bring the licensing arrangements into disrepute.”

    It’s almost as though someone cut out the “.. but of course we would never suggest anyone try doing this, oh no!”

  22. pv said,

    February 25, 2010 at 8:54 am

    B.Serious said,
    February 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Top Pain Scientist Fabricated Data in Studies, Hospital Says

    A prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex, according to the hospital where he worked.

    online.wsj.com/article/SB123672510903888207.html

    So what! Are you suggesting it somehow validates homeopathy?
    Someone fabricates results. They get found out. The system works. It doesn’t discredit all studies and all evidence for all ebm.
    As regards homeopathy, all claims of “evidence” that it performs better than a placebo are false because the basic premise of homeopathy is false.

  23. Jut said,

    February 25, 2010 at 11:11 am

    supprise supprise, the first person to sign that EDM is the Mike Hancock. The same guy that wrote to me stating that “homeopathy may be a low cost alternative to expensive cancer treatments”

  24. rugbycomont said,

    February 25, 2010 at 11:25 am

    “128. The absence of a requirement to show evidence of efficacy means that the MHRA’s current arrangements would allow a person to seek, for example, a licence for a confectionary product as long as he or she persuaded a number of people that it was a homeopathic product with therapeutic effects. Such a development would, rightly, bring the licensing arrangements into disrepute.”

    You mean, like sugar pills? :)

    Every woman I know swears chocolate is medicinal, maybe we should register that…

  25. updownupdown said,

    February 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Ben, perhaps you could get Zoe Williams the Guardian’s chief airhead (www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/25/homeopathy-nhs-costs-parliament) to read the report, she surely hasn’t written that nonsense having done so?

  26. random592 said,

    February 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    rugbycomont: I mean, like gummy bears :)

  27. reprehensible said,

    February 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    this has to be considered a victory for EBM but it’s definately a small one, i’m more worried by the review of NICE by the HSC and their response…

    HSC Many PCTs struggle to afford to implement NICE technology appraisals, as well as clinical guidelines. As more interventions are evaluated it is feared that the position will become unsustainable. Funding is essentially ring-fenced for technology appraisals, leaving PCTs little room for manoeuvre in their budgets to reflect local needs and priorities. (Paragraph 241)

    NICE: Our Statutory Instruments and Directions do not allow us to take budgetary impact or affordability into account when advising on cost effectiveness.

    (www.nice.org.uk/media/F51/D0/HSC2007OfficialResponseFINAL.pdf)

    a real body for rationing is urgently needed, not one where this is a secondary outcome!

  28. steve_s said,

    February 26, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Where did my comments go? Have I been moderated out? I wasn’t offensive – I just disagreed with the thrust of the comments.

    Bah.

  29. steve_s said,

    February 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Ignore last remark. Duh.

  30. JMM said,

    March 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Homeopathy industry pushes for EU-wide public healthcare support
    LEIGH PHILLIPS
    05.03.2010 @ 17:35 CET
    EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – With the European Commission soon to launch a review of EU pharmaceutical laws, the homeopathy industry feels the time is ripe to launch fresh lobbying push in Brussels to have the EU force all member states to provide access to the product from public health systems and loosen up the approval process for their remedies. Representatives of the industry, practitioners and patients that use homeopathic products are to hold an EU Homeopathy Day in the European Parliament on 23 March as the kick-off for a new effort to win EU-level alternative-medicine-friendly legislation..
    Industry lobbyists and their MEP allies believe that with the new European Commission expected to launch a review of EU pharmaceutical laws at some point during its four-year term, now is their chance to press their case.
    “It provides an excellent opportunity for positive change,” Irish liberal euro-deputy Marian Harkin, the organiser of the event in the parliament, told EUobserver. “The aim is to integrate homeopathy into EU health policy,”
    See euobserver.com/9/29620 for the full article

    NOW, TIME AND RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE THAT MIGHT BE SPENT IN IMPROVING HEALTH POLICY WILL BE WASTED IN COMBATING THE NONSENSE OF HOMEOPATHY AND IN PROVING YET AGAIN THAT IT DOES NOT WORK…..
    JMM

  31. sucram said,

    June 26, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Have any of you people even read the research on homeopathy?

    Most clinical research conducted on homeopathic medicines that has been published in peer-review journals have shown positive clinical results,(3, 4) especially in the treatment of respiratory allergies (5, 6), influenza, (7) fibromyalgia, (8, 9) rheumatoid arthritis, (10) childhood diarrhea, (11) post-surgical abdominal surgery recovery, (12) attention deficit disorder, (13) and reduction in the side effects of conventional cancer treatments. (14) In addition to clinical trials, several hundred basic science studies have confirmed the biological activity of homeopathic medicines. One type of basic science trials, called in vitro studies, found 67 experiments (1/3 of them replications) and nearly 3/4 of all replications were positive. (15, 16)

    (3) Linde L, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et al., “Are the Clinical Effects of Homoeopathy Placebo Effects? A Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials,” Lancet, September 20, 1997, 350:834-843.
    (4) Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015.
    (5) Taylor, MA, Reilly, D, Llewellyn-Jones, RH, et al., Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial Series, BMJ, August 19, 2000, 321:471-476.
    (6) Ullman, D, Frass, M. A Review of Homeopathic Research in the Treatment of Respiratory Allergies. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010:15,1:48-58. www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/15/1/48.pdf
    (7) Vickers AJ. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Reviews. 2009.
    (8) Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology. 2004:1111-5.
    (9) Fisher P, Greenwood A, Huskisson EC, et al., “Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis (Primary Fibromyalgia),” BMJ, 299(August 5, 1989):365-6.
    (10) Jonas, WB, Linde, Klaus, and Ramirez, Gilbert, “Homeopathy and Rheumatic Disease,” Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, February 2000,1:117-123.
    (11) Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34.
    (12) Barnes, J, Resch, KL, Ernst, E, “Homeopathy for Post-Operative Ileus: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 1997, 25: 628-633.
    (13) M, Thurneysen A. Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial. Eur J Pediatr. 2005 Dec;164(12):758-67. Epub 2005 Jul 27.
    (14) Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, van Haselen R, Fisher P. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2.
    (15) Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. Epub 2007 Mar 28.
    (16) Endler PC, Thieves K, Reich C, Matthiessen P, Bonamin L, Scherr C, Baumgartner S. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10-23: a bibliometric study. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 25-36.