As it is possible to contact MPs quite easily now and I was wondering why homeopathic remedies are exempt from the requirement for medicines to show proof of efficacy, I decided to ask a few questions.
Following the SoH controversy1 and the recent articles by Anne Winterson2 and Denis MacEoin3 defending homeopathy I felt now would be as good a time as any to make my point – well it seemed fairly topical, anyway. Wonder if the Americans have a similar system? Voters could write to complain about NASH4. More seriously, there was also a recent death that was covered by the Bad Chemist blog5.
The message I sent ran roughly along these lines:
I was shocked to learn that, while proof of therapeutic efficacy is required for traditional drugs and the evaluation guidelines in force are extremely strict, homeopathic remedies are exempt from these guidelines and the requirement for proof of efficacy. How can it be right that people can be ‘prescribed’ completely ineffective remedies by a person who is medically unqualified to do so? (Many, if not most, homeopaths are not medically qualified).
A major concern regarding homeopathic remedies is the lack of an active ingredient. If I set up a mail order company offering goods for sale and simply sent (for example) empty boxes, then I’m sure The OFT / Trading Standards would be very interested in my activities. As ‘homeopathic medicine’ is – to all intents and purposes – an empty bottle, should the same standards not apply? After all, the House of Lords has already heard that two homeopathic remedies may be distinguished ‘only by the label’. I would consider this to be fairly damning testimony.
To find out how to contact your local MP, go here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/. Fill in your postcode and click ‘go’. It’s that easy. Don’t worry about being ignored by your MP or think they won’t pay attention – while I was writing this post (and within seven or eight minutes of my having sent my message), my local MP responded to my email with a promise to take the matter up with the Secretary of State for Health.
1. https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/the-gentle-art-of-homeopathic-killing-cowards-and-bullies/ – copy of Le Canard Noir’s post, plus links to other blogs covering the affair such as Gimpyblogs, DCscience etc…
3. http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/denis_maceoin/2007/11/your_ignorance_is_showing.html. Recommend the comments by Monk7b and Scooby71.
4. https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/more-on-homeopathic-societies-this-time-its-nash/ – a copy of my complaint to NASH (inspired by DCscience, another complainant was Gimpyblogs – there are links to these sites in the post and on my blogroll).