The adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on advertising by the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) is extraordinary.

 

The logic of the ASA's arguments is that absolutely any evidence in support of homeopathy will be inadmissable.

 

An important feature of homeopathy is the individualisation of treatment, matching the medicine to the unique character of the patient’s symptoms. However, the ASA states that

 

… our expert considered that the use of individualised homeopathic treatments was problematic because it meant the materials in the ‘active’ arm of the studies were not identical. He considered this meant the studies were assessing effectiveness rather than efficacy and therefore the evidence was not sufficient to support efficacy claims for homeopathy … (ASA Ruling 3d)

 

In other words, the ASA is claiming that:

 No trial of individualised treatment can be a trial of the efficacy of homeopathy.

 

When it is not possible to determine the unique character of the patient’s symptoms, the lowest potencies are used in a more generalised form of homeopathy, because the higher potencies will only have an effect if they are individualised. However, according to the ASA, their ‘expert’

 

… pointed out that the homeopathic remedy used was at the most concentrated for homeopathic preparations and it was conceivable that patients would therefore have received a dose of the original homeopathic substance. He therefore considered that the product tested was not representative of homeopathic preparations generally and it would not be appropriate to draw wider conclusions regarding homeopathy in general. (ASA Ruling 3m)

 

In other words, the ASA is claiming that:

No trial of generalised treatment can be a trial of the efficacy of homeopathy.

 

But ...

If no trial using an individualised approach is allowed to show the efficacy of homeopathy, And no trial using a generalised approach is allowed to show the efficacy of homeopathy,

 

Then no trial at all is allowed show the efficacy of homeopathy.

 

The ASA has chosen to interpret the CAP Code as requiring that marketers can only provide proof of the efficacy of homeopathy based on randomised controlled trials (RCTs). At the same time, the ASA and its ‘expert’ are denying any means of using RCTs to test the efficacy of homeopathy.

 

This is medical and scientific nonsense, and it contravenes CAP Code 12.1.

 

In the light of the issues already raised by H:MC21, this new ruling raises extremely serious questions about the credibility and integrity of the ASA.

 

We urge all those who support homeopathy to write to their MP and protest.  

Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century

Extraordinary Ruling by the ASA

Public Leaflet 12-6-25 Front