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Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century

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Defending Choice in Medicine

H:MC21 is a charity established to counter the unfounded propaganda against homeopathy by informing the public of the facts about homeopathy and its historical and scientific relationship to orthodox medicine.

It will do this through research, publication and campaigning.

Clicking on the links below will take you directly to various aspects of our campaign

Follow us on Twitter at @HMC21org

Publications

Nonsense, Not Science

 Halloween Science

Pilot survey of PCTs

Edzard Ernst interview

 Resource pack

CS&TC Report

CS&CT Evidence Check

Support the campaign

Make a donation

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Welfare State Demonstration 10 April 2010

The following is the text of the leaflet with references:

Defending Choice in Medicine
Defending the NHS

H:MC21 working to defend the use of homeopathy in the NHS. 10% of people in the UK use homeopathy including many NHS employees.[1] In the last five years there has been an intense propaganda campaign against homeopathy, based on serious misrepresentations of the facts.[2]

Studies in the NHS routinely show that 70% of patients benefit from homeopathy, even though it is usually a treatment of last resort.[3,4,5] In fact, referral has been known as TEETH (Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy). These studies have been backed up by others in Norway and Germany, for example.[6,7]

At the same time high quality, multi-centre replicated laboratory research has shown that homeopathic ‘potentised’ medicines are not only different from plain dilutions, but are biologically active.[8] Physicists have also started to develop techniques which can distinguish between different potentised substances, dilutions and water. [9]

The best randomised controlled trials confirm that homeopathic treatment is better than placebo,[10] but there is a tendency for many trials to have poor homeopathic methodology, which means that they produce inaccurate or confusing results.[11,12]

On the other hand, the NHS spends some £8 billion each year on drugs and a further £2 billion each year on the adverse effects of prescribed drugs.[13,14] The public and the NHS need to look at alternatives, not cuts which hand the drug companies a monopoly over our health.
The difficulty of policing drug companies was shown recently, when CNN reported that “Just as the giant banks on Wall Street were deemed too big to fail, Pfizer was considered too big to nail” (2 April 2010).[15]

H:MC21 organised a mass lobby of Parliament on 24 February 2010 against the cuts proposed by the Commons Science and Technology Committee. We also handed in a letter to the Prime Minister, supported by a declaration that “Homeopathy Worked for Me”, signed by 28,122 people.

32 organisations supported our protest, including the main bodies registering homeopaths in the UK and the League of Friends of the London Homoeopathic Hospital.

References

1. Reply to Q211 by Professor Woods in the Commons Science and Tecnology Committee, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy (London: The Stationery Office, 2010), Ev 70.
2. William Alderson, Halloween Science; The Truth about Trick or Treatment? by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst (Stoke Ferry: Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, 2009), available at <http://www.hmc21.org/#/halloween-science/4535659799>.
3. Spence DS, Thompson EA, Barron SJ, ‘Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study’, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2005, 11:793-798.
4. Donal McDade, Evaluation [of a] Complementary and Alternative Medicines Pilot Project (London: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2008), available at Get Well UK website at <http://www.getwelluk.com/>, accessed 27 April 2009; full report at <http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/final_report_from_smr_on_the_cam_pilot_project_-_may_2008.pdf>.
5. Dr. Adrian Hunnisett, Homeopathy Service Survey (Cirencester: The Park Surgery, 2005).
6. Steinsbekk and R. Lüdtke, ‘Patients' assessments of the effectiveness of homeopathic care in Norway: A prospective observational multicentre outcome study’, Homeopathy, 94 (2005), 10-16, available at: <http://www.scopus.com/record/display.url?eid=2-s2.0-11844297403&origin=inward&txGid=79ie_u0p0cPFoTLkdzTDA2p%3a2>, accessed 14 February 2010.
7. Claudia M. Witt, Rainer Lüdtke, Nils Mengler, and Stefan N. Willich, ‘How healthy are chronically ill patients after eight years of homeopathic treatment? – Results from a long term observational study’, BMC Public Health, 8 (2008), 413, available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2630323/>
8. P Belon, J Cumps, M Ennis, P F Mannaioni, M Roberfroid, J Sainte-Laudy, F A C Wiegant, ‘Histamine dilutions modulate basophil activation’, Inflamm. Res., 53 (2004), 181-188.
9. Studies of potentised substances show that they differ from diluted substances and are biologically active. For a summary of the evidence see Dr Peter Fisher, Homeopathy: the Evidence from Basic Research at <http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/homeopathy/ucm2102.htm>.
10. Ben Goldacre, Bad Science (London: Fourth Estate, 2008), p. 53; Ben Goldacre says that he does not believe these results, but he offers no evidence for them being invalid.
11. Paolo Bellavite and Andrea Signorini, The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: Complexity, biodynamics, and nanopharmacology (Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2002), p. 45. They refer to R.H. Savage and P.F. Roe, ‘A further double-blind trial to assess the benefit of Arnica montana in acute stroke illness’, Brit. Hom. J., 67 (1978), p. 210 and A.M. Scofield, ‘Experimental research in homeopathy: A critical review’, 2 parts, Brit. Hom. J., 73 (1984), p. 161.
12. ‘The Trials of Homeopathy’ in William Alderson, Halloween Science; The Truth about Trick or Treatment? by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst (Stoke Ferry: Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, 2009), pp. 57-62, available at <http://www.hmc21.org/#/halloween-science/4535659799>.
13. ‘Call to curb rising NHS drug bill’, BBC News website, 3 April 2008 at <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7190267.stm>, accessed 27 November 2008.
14. Sarah Boseley,‘Adverse drug reactions cost NHS £2bn’, The Guardian, 3 April 2008, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/apr/03/nhs.drugsandalcohol>, accessed 14 November 2008.
15. Drew Griffin and Andy Segal, ‘Feds found Pfizer too big to nail’, CNN, 2 April 2010, at: <http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/02/pfizer.bextra/index.html?hpt=T2>, accessed 5 April 2010.

The leaflet can be downloaded here.

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