It’s official: homeopathy is a ‘treatment’ not a treatment.
The homeopathy entry on the NHS Choices website has been rewritten, following the media storm resulting from the revelation that the Department of Health censored accurate information about homeopathy after lobbying by the Prince’s Foundation.
The new entry starts by saying, “Homeopathy is a ‘treatment’ based on the use of highly diluted substances” and is bracingly frank in the evidence section: “There is no evidence for the idea that substances that can induce certain symptoms can also help to treat them. There is no evidence for the idea that diluting and shaking substances in water can turn those substances into medicines”. The evidence appears to have triumphed.
Is the speed with which this entry was rewritten a record?
Bans on smoking in public places are linked with reductions in preterm births, says a study from Belgium published in the BMJ, which introduced smoke-free bans in three steps. Each time a ban was bought in, the risk of babies being born before 37 weeks fell. There were no downward trends in the period before the bans – and other factors such as ‘flu epidemics did not seem to explain the differences either. So, good news for the public health benefits of smoking bans as premature birth is an important health risk factor.
The Great Fight, Punch magazine 1888, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
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”. Continue reading