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Portfolio politics

Louise Newson

Monday, 01 March 2010

homeopathy.jpgThe House of Commons has recently stated that the NHS should stop funding all homeopathic medicine. The reasons for this is that there is no evidence that homeopathic treatments are any better than giving placebos.

Apparently, the NHS spends about £4 million a year on homeopathy. Although the amount spent on homeopathic prescriptions is fairly small - £152,000 (only 0.001% of the total drug budget), the NHS supports the running of four homeopathic hospitals.

The chairman of the Science and Technology Select Committee has said that homeopathic products should no longer be labelled with medical claims of efficacy and should not be licensed by the MHRA.

I feel all this seems fair enough. However, I do feel that homeopathy is an important area of alternative medicine, and many patients claim to experience positive benefits from it. It is far safer than, for example, some of the Chinese herbal preparations that can be associated with hepatotoxicity and renotoxicity.

However, the European homeopathy industry has been valued at a colossal £1.5 billion. This means that there are going to be some very angry people following this proposal!

Do you think this is reasonable?

Author's Image

Louise Newson

Louise is a part-time GP in Solihull, as well as a writer for numerous medical publications, including www.patient.info. She is an Editor and Reviewer for e-learning courses for the RCGP. She is an Editor for Geriatric Medicine journal and the British Journal of Family Medicine. Louise has contributed to various healthcare articles in many different newspapers and magazines and is the spokesperson for The Information Standard. She has also done television and radio work. Louise is a medical consultant for Maverick TV and has participated regularly in ‘Embarrassing Bodies Live from the Clinic’. Louise has three young children and is married to a consultant urological surgeon. Although her spare time is limited she enjoys practising ashtanga yoga regularly and loves road cycling – she has raised over £2K for a local charity, Molly Olly Wishes by competing in a 120km cycle ride!
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