Friday, 18 July 2008

Some good news...

According to this article in Pulse, the number of prescriptions written for homeopathic 'remedies' in the UK fell significantly between 2005 and 2007. 83,000 prescriptions were written in 2005, 62,700 in 2006 and 49,300 in 2007.

Naturally, if you're a homeopath, this is the result of a 'hate campaign' conducted against homeopathy by Prof Edzard Ernst, the Laing Professor of Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula Medical School (Universities of Exeter and Plymouth). At least, this is what one Dr Tim Robinson says in the Pulse article. This is fairly typical of the homeopathic community, who inevitably confuse a desire to rigorously assess the evidence base with a 'hate campaign'. Dr Robinson writes "Patients are not asking for [homeopathy] because of what has been written in the press..." This ignores woefully uncritical articles like this one that appear in the press, and columns for homeopaths in local papers that amount to free advertising, like this in the Manchester Evening News. If it was left to the press, people could be forgiven for thinking that there was decent evidence that homeopathy works.

Perhaps the message is getting out: that in an NHS with scarce funding, there's no room for funding things that don't work.


HolfordWatch said...

It's rather cheerful and encouraging if fewer patients are asking for homeopathic remedies because they now know that they are not effective.

Yes, the 'hate' rhetoric was over-played and looks rather silly.

Dr Aust said...

Dr Tim Robinson, the GP who is quoted defending homeopathy, once debated Ernst in the pages of Pulse: see here. To my reading Ernst wiped the floor with him.

Robinson also has a rather alarmingly daft homeopathy website here . Be careful if you click on the "Fact File", as it may lead to the uncontrolled grinding of teeth.

On a separate issue, perhaps we should set up a Manchester Evening News NonsenseWatch blog? I don't know how often the idiotic "Ask the Experts" Feature runs in the MEN, but if it was only once a week, there must be enough of us hardened sceptics in the North West region to construct a "rota" and give it a kicking on a regular basis? The "Apathy Sketchpad" is Manchester-based, and Claire (frequent bad science blog commenter) also seems to be an MEN reader.

Just a thought.