ECCH Welcomes UK Medicines Agency’s Balanced Approach to Homeopathics
On 1 September the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency announced revised rules for the regulation of homeopathic medicinal products. Under the voluntary scheme, called the National Rules Scheme, homeopathic products will receive a licence if they can provide data proving the treatments are safe – this will not need to be evidence from clinical trials which other drugs have to have.
They will also be allowed to indicate what sort of symptoms they can relieve, although this will be limited to minor ailments such as colds, coughs and hayfever. To make such a claim, the manufacturers need only show that the product has been used to treat those particular conditions within the homeopathic industry.
Homeopaths know what their medicines are capable of treating because they are tested on groups of healthy people in what are called ‘provings’ to find out what symptoms the source substance of the remedy can produce. This information forms the basis of the indications for the use of the remedy when it is prescribed on the ‘like cures like’ principle on which homeopathy is founded.
As usual the habitual detractors of homeopathy were vociferous in their objections to the introduction of these rules. The national media once again wheeled out the Emeritus Professor Michael Baum who seems to have developed an obsession with homeopathy in his latter years and now regularly refers to it as witchcraft.
Arthur C Clarke once wrote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. Homeopathy is a healthcare technology that has been ahead of its time for the past 200 years and for some it it will clearly remain so.
ECCH welcomes the UK MHRA’s balanced and consultation-based approach to the registration of homeopathic medicinal products and recommends their approach to implementing the EU directives to all other national agencies across the EU.
Swiss Health Technology Assessment of Homeopathy shows positive effects
A Swiss journal ‘Forsch Komplementarmed’. Research in Complementary Medicine has recently published a paper that appears to show homeopathy as being a safe and effective form of treatment. This paper comes out of the same Swiss Government Program of Evaluation of Complementary Medicine (PEK) that produced the highly biased paper that caused so much controversy last August when it was published by its admittedly skeptical authors in the Lancet.
This new paper seems to show clear evidence from a far more methodical approach to reviewing the existing research trial data that homeopathy does indeed have a positive effect. In particular the evaluation of 29 studies in the domain ‘Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/Allergic Reactions’ showed a positive overall result in favor of homeopathy.