Homeopathy ruling in Scotland – Comments wanted

On occasion, I see an interesting bit of news that should be brought up and discussed. But I don’t have the time to look into the background adequately. Instead of doing this off the cuff, I’m crowd-sourcing to our knowledgeable readers.

I’m looking for DN readers to fill us in on the details of this piece. Please comment, provide links or if you would rather be anonymous, send to editor@doubtfulnews.com

Homeopathy allies pledge to fight axe – Health – Scotsman.com.

CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight a decision to axe ­homeopathy on the NHS.

Members of the NHS Lothian board unanimously agreed the controversial treatment, which costs £240,000 per year but has not been proven to work by any study, will no longer be publicly funded.

The British Homeopathic Association (BHA), which claimed the controversial 
alternative medicine had been the victim of a “hate campaign”, today refused to rule out a challenge in the courts.

Addition: Here is Edinburgh Skeptics response

Keir Liddle writes on Twitter: “The BHA are currently planning a legal/parliamentary challenge.”

  12 comments for “Homeopathy ruling in Scotland – Comments wanted

  1. RayG
    June 27, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Ironically enough, they will try and dilute the claims against them…

  2. Godbluff
    June 27, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Homeopaths have little dignity if they are going to equate lack of evidence with ‘hate campaign’. Such a desperate ad hominem attack is their last and only defence.

    There are only two conclusions to be drawn from homeopathy.

    1. That all the biology, physics, and chemistry we know is wrong.
    2. That homeopaths are wrong.

    I think small school children should be given the opportunity to make up a test to see how homeopathic results can be evaluated. I think a small child, say five year old, would be much more honest and objective than a homeopath.

  3. June 27, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    If I remember rightly, there was quite a widespread consultation about this with quite a lot of very rational people contributing to it. Plus some homeopaths. Details of consultation here: http://bit.ly/10nYUz9. I’m pleased it turned out the way it did. I’d love to see the BHA take it to court but will be very surprised if they do…If there is a legal challenge, I suspect it may be around the fact that people outwith the Lothian NHS area contributed to the consulation. Pretty sure that would include me.
    As an aside, I love how the consultation document makes it clear that homeopathy and herbal remedies are not synonymous. Herbal remedies at least have some pretence to an active ingredient after all…..

  4. June 28, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    1983: According to British Medical Journal, 80% of graduates from medical schools in Britain said they wanted training in either homeopathy, acupuncture, or hypnosis. (BMJ, 287, 30 July 1983, pp. 337-39)

    1986: According to British Medical Journal, 42% of British physicians surveyed in Avon refer patients to homeopathic physicians.

    1990: According to The Times of London, homeopathy is now the fastest growing alternative therapy in Scotland. The numbers of Scots who have used homeopathic medicines have more than doubled from 1985 to 1990, increasing from 5% to 11%. Similarly, in 1985 23% of those Scots interviewed in 1985 said they would “seriously consider” going to a homeopath, and in 1990 this figure grew to 40%.

    Ref: “Take a Little of What Ails You,” The Times, November 13, 1989.

    1992: 45% of UK GPs consider homeopathy useful and 42% refer their patients for homeopathic treatment.

    Ref: Natural medicine Society News, UK, 21, June 1992

  5. June 28, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Ms Malik, while you may have shown evidence for popularity this is in no way evidence of efficacy. Plenty of popular things have no effect or worse negative effects, read smoking and drinking coca-cola.

    There is no evidence homeopathy WORKS therefore tax payers should not expect to pay for it.

  6. Mojo
    June 28, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Ms. Malik might want to get her information a little bit more up to date.

    2008: Prescriptions for homoeopathy fall by almost half in two years. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7523302.stm

    2010: BMA says homeopathy should not be funded by NHS or sold as medicine. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10449430

    2011: Only one third of NHS trusts fund homeopathy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12492742

    2011: An 8-fold reduction in homeopathic prescriptions since 2000 (and a two-thirds reduction since 2008) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8729588/NHS-spending-on-homeopathy-prescriptions-falls-to-122000.html

    Or perhaps she might not…

  7. Chris Howard
    June 28, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    61% of Americans believe that the Genesis story is literally true. 64% believe in the Biblical account of a global flood, Noah’s ark and all.

    Does this mean that those things are true, because they are popular? If public opinion changes, and the American people decide that the flood, and genesis aren’t true anymore does that mean that no longer true?

    Wanting to believe that homeopathy works doesn’t make it so.

  8. June 29, 2013 at 2:50 AM


    2001: A report by the Centre of Complementary Health Studies in Exeter noted a 49% increase in the number of statutory health practitioners who practice homeopathy.

    2003: 86% of Scottish GPs surveyed were found to be in favour of homeopathy [1].

    [1].Hamilton E, Exploring General Practitioners attitudes to homeopathy in Dumfries and Galloway, Homeopathy, 2003, 92, 190-194.

    Currently, homeopathy is the second most popular complementary medicine in the UK [2,3].

    [2]. “New research in the Times Body and Soul reveals disenchanted Britons turning to complementary therapy”, PRNewswire, London Jan 9, 2004.

    [3]. The Independent, 17 November, 2003.

  9. June 29, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    So what? People want it because they do not understand it doesn’t work. This is zero justification for why the government should support it.

  10. Pete Attkins
    June 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM
  11. Jim
    July 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    It beggars belief that it was ever funded at all. Any doctor who suggests it to a patient ought to be de-registered.

  12. Geoff Offermann
    July 1, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    “Hamilton E, Exploring General Practitioners attitudes to homeopathy in Dumfries and Galloway, Homeopathy, 2003, 92, 190-194.”

    Pro-homeopathic articles published in a journal called Homeopathy? I’m shocked! Shocked, I say.

Comments are closed.