Friday, 2 December 2011

So Homeopathy Does Work!

A Swiss Report, which thoroughly investigated the effectiveness of homeopathy, has now been published. The summary of this report is available in English, and it makes good "I told you so" reading for everyone connected with the homeopathy community.

And, indeed, it makes very bad reading for the homeopathy denialists, who have been attacking homeopathy so vehemently and gratuitously for so long through Europe!

The full HTA report will be published in English soon, but the summary shows that it covers three main considerations:
* Effectiveness (looking not just at RCTs, but other evidence more appropriate for homeopathy)
* Appropriateness (looking at the demand and need, as well as the safety of homeopathy
* Cost effectiveness

As far as effectiveness is concerned, the report, over 300 pages long, exhaustively reviews the scientific literature in homeopathy, summarising 22 reviews, 20 of which show 'positive' results for homeopathy. Karin Mont, Chair of ARH, has this to say about these sections of the report:
"The report is balanced in its description of the underlying principles of homeopathy. It stresses the wealth of empirical evidence acquired in clinical practice over two hundred years, which confirms homeopathy to be an effective system of medicine, and it highlights the essential principle of individualisation. 

As far as appropriateness is concerned, the report states that homeopathy training was of high standing, that there was an internationally agreed regulation in the manufacture of homeopathy remedies, and that there was a high degree of safety in homeopathic practice in Switzerland. It also said that homeopathy produced few adverse reactions, and were free from toxic side-effects.

And as far as cost-effectiveness was concerned, the report, whilst concluding there was insufficient data, but the studies available indicated that homeopathy was cost efficient to deliver, could reduce dependence on expensive conventional drugs, and by increasing general wellbeing, could reduce the number of days lost to sickness.

This report comes at the end of a long process, which began in 1999, when it was agreed that 5 Natural Medical Therapies should be included in the Swiss Health Insurance Scheme. In 2005, the Swiss government decided to end this, and sought to suppress the report, but this led to a popular reaction, and a petition that delivered over 145,000 signatories. For more information on this struggle, click here.

It is clear that the conventional medical establishment does not want to 'share' treatment with natural therapies; and certainly it does not want to be subject to comparisons with them. But at last it does seem likely that this report will ensure that it has to do so.

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