The ABC’s medical reporter Sophie Scott looks at a recent critical report from House of Common’s science and technology committee into homeopathic remedies and asks “Are patients being hoodwinked”.
The answer, of course, is a resounding “yes”.
The report notes;
A new British parliamentary report says patients are being hoodwinked by ineffective homeopathic treatments.
The report found that homeopathy is "scientifically implausible" and works no better than placebos.
Homoeopathy is a natural therapy where an active ingredient is diluted again and again until there is very little of the original substance left.
It originated in Germany in the 1700s, and is widely used in Britain and some parts of Europe, with a growing following in Australia.
British MP and United Kingdom science and technology committee member, Phil Willis, says homeopathic products are not medicines and should no longer be licensed by the British National Health Service (NHS).
"This is a fundamental point of principle as to whether we are actually hoodwinking individual patients, and they are being given a treatment that the NHS knows does not work," he said.
The report couldn’t be plainer; homeopathic remedies are nothing more than water and any beneficial result is purely as a result of the placebo* effect. Sure, you can use them if you want to and it’s entirely up to you if you’re the sort of dill that believes this guff but the danger arises if you use homeopathic remedies instead of scientifically proven remedies – such as taking homeopathic remedies against malaria.
But I do like this response from the Australian Homeopathy Association's Michelle Hookham who says the committee was biased and only considered "one kind of scientific evidence".
Yeah, that kind of beastly scientific evidence that uses empirical research and double-blind trials instead of the magical effect of pixies.
* Not the band.