The long-running debate about the role of homeopathy in the NHS is hotting up again. In her evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in January, Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies replied to a question about homeopathy with a ringingly clear statement: “..Why am I being wishy-washy? It’s rubbish”. Earlier in her evidence, she said that homeopathy had no impact outside the placebo effect, expressed concern about homeopathic practitioners trying to “peddle this way of life to prevent malaria or other infectious diseases” and commented that she was “perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS”. She aims, during her time as CMO, to make “a difference in science and evidence” – so watch this space.
Meanwhile, the sorry saga of how the NHS Choices website entry for homeopathy came into being has been tenaciously pursued by David Colquhoun and set out this week in his Improbable Science blog and covered by The Guardian.
Reading the NHS Choices entry, I struggled not to laugh at the statement “Many homeopathic remedies are so diluted that they contain no substances that are unsafe…” – funny how three little words can make all the difference.
Jeremey Hunt, delightfully dubbed minister for magic by New Scientist magazine when his pro-homeopathy views emerged after his appointment as Secretary of State for Health, appears to be biding his time on this one.