Health

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Homeopathy is 'rubbish', says chief medical officer

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Homeopathic remedies are "rubbish" and do not serve as anything more than placebos, England’s chief medical officer has claimed.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said she was “perpetually surprised” homeopathy was provided on the NHS, and branded homeopaths “peddlers.”



Giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology committee, she also expressed fears about the prescription of homeopathic remedies to treat malaria and other illnesses.



‘I’m very concerned when homeopathic practitioners try to peddle this way of life to prevent malaria or other infectious disease,” she said.



“I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.”



Dame Sally, who is England’s most senior doctor, concluded by remarking that homeopathy “is rubbish”.

The Department of Health said it was up to local NHS organisations to decide whether to fund homeopathic treatments.



Complementary therapies have been famously championed by the Prince of Wales, while Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has also backed homeopathy.



Its supporters believe it can treat everything from depression to hay fever, the theory being that substances that produce the symptoms of an ailment can cure it once they have been watered down many times to reduce their strength.



Advocates of the practice claim the water retains a “memory” of the original substance.



But critics say the only benefits are in the mind, with a Lancet study concluding that homeopathy was no more effective than the standard sugar pill given as a placebo in clinical trials.



In 2010, the Science and Technology Committee agreed there was no evidence the drugs were any more effective than a placebo.



But then health minister Anne Milton said the Government still believed the local NHS and clinicians were best placed to make decisions on what treatment was appropriate for their patients, and homeopathy has continued to be available on the NHS.

Rosa Silverman Telegraph.co.uk

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