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Homeopathy rules attacked

26th October 2006

02032006_AsthmaBoyWithInhalerL.jpgChanges in the regulation of homeopathic medicines have been criticised for putting patients at risk, by leading scientific institutions.

Homeopathy is a therapy based on the idea that disease can be treated with drugs (in minute doses) thought capable of producing the same symptoms in healthy people as the disease itself. Many millions of people use it as an alternative treatment to conventional medicine.

Now the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has proposed new rules which will allow homeopathic remedies to specify which ailments they can be used for to benefit patients.

A range of top bodies, including the Royal College of Pathologists, Medical Research Council and 10 other national organisations have raised fears over the regulations impact on patient safety, one accusing the MHRA of appeasing industry pressure.

Other bodies that have raised concerns include the BioSciences Federation, the British Pharmacological Society, the Society for Applied Microbiology, the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

More than 600 doctors and scientists have also signed a statement opposing the rules allowing homeopathic medicines to make ‘unsubstantiated health claims’.

Under the voluntary National Rules Scheme, homeopathic products will be licensed if they can provide data proving the treatments are safe but will not have to produce evidence of efficacy from clinical trials like conventional medicines.

Homeopathy will also be permitted to provide advice on what sort of symptoms they can relieve in minor ailments like colds and hay fever, as long as manufacturers can show that the product has been used to treat them within the homeopathic industry.

Criticism has also been levelled at the MHRA by suggestions that the rules are motivated by the desire to boost the homeopathic industry.

The regulations are currently being debated in the House of Lords.

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Comments

Jayne Goddard

Friday 27th October 2006 @ 18:07

Why is this causing such an upset? Many pharmaceutical drugs are in the BNF on the basis of a grandfather clause and would fail miserably if subjected to trials to demonstrate that they are 1) effective and 2) harmless. And what of medicines that are licensed, having gone through all the correct trials and then prove to be harmful, take Vioxx as just one example? Homeopathic medicines have been used for hundreds of years, successfully - which is why people use them. Sort out the 40,000+ iatrogenic deaths each year before trying to marginalise a harmless and effective medicine! (References available from BMJ)

Dennis Morrod

Thursday 11th June 2009 @ 6:42

Homeopathic medication extended my sons life by 23 years. I turned to alternative medication for him because, the medical professioanls in the NHS did not want to know (dosed him up on Epilim that could have eventually killed him) until I finally stopped it and controlled his Epileptic fits by temperate control and his vitality by Homeopathy. The NHS, who failed to correct any, of his operable disabilities.


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Article Information

Title: Homeopathy rules attacked
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 977
Date Added: 26th Oct 2006

Sources

BBC News

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