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Is Homeopathy effective? WHO: yes / Lancet: no

Is Homeopathy effective?

WHO: Homeopathy is as effective as conventional medicines

versus

Lancet-Study: The end of homeopathy – no better than a placebo

Summary:

A study recently published in the medical journal “The Lancet” (August 2005) comes to the conclusion that homeopathy is useless placebo medicine. On closer reading it becomes apparent that the meta-analysis is problematic in design and execution and uses only 8 placebo-controlled studies (not 110 as stated in its summery) to come to this conclusion. This does not stop the journal calling for the “end of homeopathy”, an end to further research into homeopathy and suggesting that doctors should inform their patients about the futility of homeopathy.

The same study was previously published as part of a Swiss Evaluation of Complementary Medicine (PEK), which tested alternative therapies over a period of 5 years. In its final report, homeopathy features favorably. It concludes: Homeopathy is effective, safe, in demand, judged positively by the patients and is cost-effective. In addition to this the World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to publish a report, which places Homeopathy on the same level as conventional medicines.

Compared to that the Lancet study has caused maximum damage to the reputation of homeopathy. To use such strong editorial statements in such a renowned journal inevitably caught the eye of a worldwide readership. The press has helped to spread the misleading information, quoting “the end of homeopathy”, without any careful or critical analysis of the original research. One could even assume that this was precisely the intention. It seems that if the “death of homeopathy” cannot be achieved by facts, it has to be done by a smearing of it’s reputation. But the use of such desperate measures would indicate that the interested parties feel under threat or seek to eradicate something which has become too uncomfortable.

Over all the facts still indicate that homeopathy is a highly effective form of treatment.

The WHO: “The majority of scientific studies in the last 40 years have demonstrated that homeopathy is superior to placebo and is equivalent to conventional medicines in the treatment of illnesses, in both humans and animals.”

For the full article, which is only available in German: click here

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