Be aware: April 10-16 is World Homeopathy Awareness Week! It’s been organised by the World Homeopathy Awareness Organisation, a Netherlands-based, non-profit foundation established over a decade ago to increase awareness of homeopathy around the globe. The week was chosen as 10th April is the birthday of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the German physician who founded the therapeutic system of medicine that is homeopathy.
There couldn’t be a more important time to show awareness of this medical system given the vigour of the attacks against it. It’s a classic case of ‘attack what you don’t understand’. The biomedical model has moved so far along the track of pharmaceutical interventions using patented molecules, it becomes increasingly incomprehensible for its protagonists to understand how energy held in water or other substances can have an effect on the body. Homeopathy denialists are quite capable of looking at the same research we look at that shows consistent beneficial effects as well as economic and social benefits – and still want to shut it down.
Evidence – that some choose to ignore
Here’s a snapshot of some important evidence:
- Human efficacy as measured using the biomedical model’s gold standard approach: meta-analyses and systematic reviews, in which 5 out of 6 showed a beneficial effect as compared with placebo.
- Economic benefits, see the report by the European Coalition on Homeopathic and Anthroposophic Medicinal Products (ECHAMP) report from 2014, Reducing healthcare costs with homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine: a literature review.
And if you want to read about how homeopathy works on farm animals, check out dairy farmer Oliver Dowding’s piece from 2011 – or his video, How homeopathy works for me and farm animals! Or if you prefer to look at trials on cattle, pigs and poultry, you’ll find in this German review of 52 trials between 1981 and 2014, 26 trials showing beneficial effects. Remember, that when it comes to human trials of some 3000 medical interventions, only 11% have been proven to be of benefit.
That’s why, despite consistent attacks against this specific system of medicine, there are over 200 million people who use it regularly.
April 2018 update on UK homeopathy attacks
In the meantime here’s some important updates on the battle to keep homeopathy alive:
- The British Homeopathy Association is engaged in a legal challenge to be heard on 1 May against the UK’s National Health Service’s consultation on homeopathy.
- The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) issued a position statement on November 2017 regarding the use of homeopathy to treat animals, in which the RVC stresses the complementary rather than alternative nature as it does not recognise that homeopathy is based on a “recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles.”
- The British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) has provided a potent response to the RVC statement that it considers part of a witch-hunt against homeopathic vets. There will be a demonstration in London on Monday 16th April with a petition that calls on the RCV to retract its statement.
- The fight to stop the provision of homeopathy to the public at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (formerly the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital) has been lost with services being withdrawn this month courtesy of the “funding policy of Camden Clinical Commissioning Groups, the local NHS body that plans and pays for healthcare services in this area” (see page 2, 5th paragraph)
- Simon Singh’s Good Thinking Society that has been involved in pressuring CCGs in the NHS to pull funding from homeopathy includes a call for attention to be turned to Bristol and Glasgow regions as the last two NHS regions still prescribing homeopathy on the NHS.
- The NHS’ Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is currently running a consultation (which closes 15 April) as part of its review of all NHS funded homeopathic or alternative therapies in the area.
- Some good news is that a study recently published in BMJ Open shows that British GPs trained in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including homeopathy, prescribe 22% fewer antibiotics.
More information about Homeopathy Awareness Week
For more information about Homeopathy Awareness Week, check out the Find a Homeopath website
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