Homeopathy is ‘rubbish’, says chief medical officer

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Homeopathic remedies are “rubbish” and do not serve as anything more than placebos, England’s chief medical officer has claimed.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said she was “perpetually surprised” homeopathy was provided on the NHS, and branded homeopaths “peddlers.”

Giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology committee, she also expressed fears about the prescription of homeopathic remedies to treat malaria and other illnesses.

‘I’m very concerned when homeopathic practitioners try to peddle this way of life to prevent malaria or other infectious disease,” she said.

“I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.”

Dame Sally, who is England’s most senior doctor, concluded by remarking that homeopathy “is rubbish”.

Written By: Rosa Silverman
continue to source article at telegraph.co.uk

20 COMMENTS

  1. “I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.”

    Dame Sally, who is England’s most senior doctor, concluded by remarking that homeopathy “is rubbish”.

    The disgrace is that this even needs to be said by a senior doctor to a parliamentary committee! – or that NHS public money is being wasted on this mumbo-jumbo!

    Britain – like the US has its scientifically illiterate politicians who are full of Dunning-Kruger-know-it-all pseudoscience!
    http://www.humanistlife.org.uk/2010/06/david-tredinnick-mps-early-day-motion-supporting-homeopathy/

    Tue 22 Jun 2010 16:06 • Around the web,ethics,health,politics

    David Tredinnick MP, an ardent supporter of “alternative” remedies and astrology over many years, has a new Early Day Motion before parliament, proposing to give the British Medical Association a telling off for talking about the lack of evidence for homeopathy.

    That this House expresses concern at motions 301, 301a, 301b, 301c, 301d, 301e and 301f at this year’s British Medical Association’s (BMA) Annual Representative Meeting, which calls for no further commissioning of, nor funding for, homeopathic remedies in the NHS; believes that the BMA has overstepped its remit by making such statements without proper consultation with its own membership that practice homeopathy and, more importantly, with the tens of thousands of patients who depend on homeopathy;

    So there it was:- MP Muppet-know-it-all with considerable numbers of other MP-Muppets signing up to his twaddlology, ticking off the doctors’ professional body, for making a professional condemnation of their beloved homeopathy!

    Let’s see what crawls out of the woodwork to comment on this new pronouncement from a medical expert!

  2. I am a bit confused. I commented on this as #2. My comment was “of course it is”. Now the comment was not flagged or anything (nor was it particularly caustic)… anyway, comment #2 is GONE!!

  3. She’s not all wrong, you know.

    I’m always surprised by how otherwise smart people can fall for something which doesn’t make any sense. My aunt was not only a doctor at a hospital, but Chief of staff of a whole department. Then she got laid off and decided to train herself for another profession (as if you couldn’t get a job as a doctor). Which profession did she choose? Therapist in homoeopathy. Sigh…

  4. Being in the US, I could not believe homeopathy exists as it does in Britain. It really is appalling. Homeopathy doesn’t mean the same thing in common use in the US. It’s basically another synonym for all holistic or alternative medicine.

    Dawkins and this site are the only reason I know of it. My roommate (an athlete and a scientist) recently told me about some great pills her mom gave her that really helped with muscular soreness. Normally, I’m her nutritionist and provide her with stuff like L-arginine, for which the mechanism for alleviated soreness is known. My standard is, herbal medicine and neutraceuticals are only worthwhile if they are also potentially dangerous. I checked out these ‘pills’, no FDA label. WTF?! Never seen anything like it. What back-alley, Russian mafia shop did she score these? Then I saw the word “homeopathic” in teeny tiny letters hidden next to the bar code. I chewed one up, pure sugar. After laughing and pointing, I explained what homeopathy really was.

    Thanks again, Richard!

  5. Sally be praised !a statement of pure honesty .
    We need more people like this to speak the truth about the quasi religious bunkum of alternative medicine.

    Bullshit clearly does not baffle her brain.

  6. In reply to #10 by Neodarwinian:

    What else could anyone with a modicum of education say about homeopathy except that it was rubbish.

    Well, also that it’s dangerous rubbish. That’s what.

    At best it’s a placebo treatment but at worst. it’s not seeking proper treatment for infectious diseases.

  7. In reply to #5 by crookedshoes:

    I am a bit confused. I commented on this as #2. My comment was “of course it is”. Now the comment was not flagged or anything (nor was it particularly caustic)… anyway, comment #2 is GONE!!

    Is it possible that your comment was diluted by all the other material on the internet to the extent that it effectively ceased to exist and you only remember posting it because you believe you did?

  8. In reply to #3 by Jos Gibbons:

    I could tell it was the Torygraph because they said she “claimed” homeopathy was bunk rather than saying she “pointed out” it is, which is the truth.

    Precisely. This is the paper that gave us the MMR scare after all. Just click through and read the comments board. It will give you an idea of what this doctor is up against. lots of lies about research and the benefits of homeopathy and rubbishing of the evidence against. A fair amount of anti vaccination twaddle thrown in.
    Sadly, papers like this have more influence than any scientist. And you can’t blame this all on the Tories, Blair was a big pusher of woo and the MMR debacle was on his watch.

  9. I know I’ve said this before, but the Placebo effect is real and potentially valuable, but how can doctor’s make use of it?
    “Here is a placebo” can’t work.
    “Here is some medication for you” is an unethical lie.
    “Why not try a Homeopathic treatment” is … one possible reason that the NHS offers it.

  10. In reply to #14 by CliveHill:

    I know I’ve said this before, but the Placebo effect is real and potentially valuable, but how can doctor’s make use of it?
    “Here is a placebo” can’t work.
    “Here is some medication for you” is an unethical lie.
    “Why not try a Homeopathic treatment” is … one possible reason that the NHS offers it.

    Because its not cost effective or reliable.

    In point of fact there is an opinion that homeopathy’s only benefit is that consultations are much longer than GP appointments and homeopaths are of course are always positive about the patients outcome because they are unfettered by the ethical guidelines that exist about misleading patients that doctors have to follow.

    Of course for the many subjects that the placebo is ineffective for this leads to extra suffering as they wonder why no cure is taking place.
    I think there’s an argument for longer GP consultations but not being dishonest about outcomes.

  11. In reply to #13 by mr_DNA:

    In reply to #3 by Jos Gibbons:

    I could tell it was the Torygraph because they said she “claimed” homeopathy was bunk rather than saying she “pointed out” it is, which is the truth.

    Precisely. This is the paper that gave us the MMR scare after all. Just click through and read the comments board. It will give you an idea of what this doctor is up against. lots of lies about research and the benefits of homeopathy and rubbishing of the evidence against. A fair amount of anti vaccination twaddle thrown in.
    Sadly, papers like this have more influence than any scientist. And you can’t blame this all on the Tories, Blair was a big pusher of woo and the MMR debacle was on his watch.

    I think yo’ull find it was the Daily Mail that sparked the scare in the UK, actually campaigning against it (then hiding the outcome of the findings in the middle of the paper when proved wrong, later calling anyone who didn’t vaccinate a middle class moron). It was the Times (another right wing broadsheet) that pointed out how wrong Wakefield’s conclusions were.

    Much as I accept the Telegraph is a Tory-leaning paper, I have have increasingly found its science reporting is good, just as i increasingly find the Guradian’s science reporting (Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh excluded) getting poorer. Let’s not allow our political views to colour our ability to judge the quality of reporting.

    as for the wording of claiming rather than pointing out something is “Bunk” I wouldn’t judge too harshly in a country where a misplaced word can put a journalist at the wrong end of a libel decision dispite being factually correct

  12. Jeremy “Chunt”,* the “Minister for Magic”, is an opportunistic, careerist, here today gone tomorrow politician who possesses the arrogant impudence to gainsay the top medical professional in our country.

    Tomorrow he could very well be pronouncing on another specialist discipline about which he is entirely ignorant.

    This is no way to run a whelk stall let alone an institution as vital as the NHS; my apologies to the vendors of whelks.

    • Listeners to BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme will be au fait with this reference.
  13. Headswap,

    Easily the most clever thing I’ve read this week. Good work!!!

    In reply to #12 by headswapboy:

    In reply to #5 by crookedshoes:

    I am a bit confused. I commented on this as #2. My comment was “of course it is”. Now the comment was not flagged or anything (nor was it particularly caustic)… anyway, comment #2 is GONE!!

    Is it possible that your comment was diluted by all the other material on the internet to the extent that it effectively ceased to exist and you only remember posting it because you believe you did?

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