MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

This is the title of an editorial by Alan Schmukler. You probably remember him; I have featured him before, for instance here, here, and here. This is what was recently on Schmukler’s mind (I have added a few references referring to comments of mine added below):

England’s National Health Service (NHS) is proposing that NHS doctors no longer be permitted to prescribe homeopathic remedies [1]… They claim lack of evidence for effectiveness. Anyone who’s been remotely conscious the last 10 years will see this as a pretext. Homeopathy is practiced by board certified physicians in clinics and hospitals around the world [2]. The massive Swiss review of homeopathy, found it effective, safe and economical, and the Swiss incorporated homeopathy into their national health care system [3]…

The reason given for banning homeopathy and these nutrients is a lie. Why would the NHS ban safe, effective and affordable healing methods? [4] Without these methods, all that is left are prescription drugs. Apparently, someone at the  NHS has an interest in pushing expensive prescription drugs [5], rather than safer and cheaper alternatives. That someone, also wishes to deny people freedom of choice in medicine [6]. I say “someone”, because organizations don’t make decisions, people do. Who is that someone?  In looking for a suspect, we might ask, who is the chief executive of the organization? Who introduced this plan and is promoting it? Who at the NHS has the political clout?  Who was it that recently declared: “Homeopathy is a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds which could better be devoted to treatments that work”.

The quote is from Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive. He got the job in 2014, after ten years as a top executive at UnitedHealth, the largest health insurance company in America. His past work experiences and current activities show that he favors privatization [7]. That would make him an odd choice to run a healthcare system based on socialized medicine. In fact, he has been moving the NHS towards privatization and the corporate, profit based American model. [8] The last thing a privatizer in healthcare would want, are non-proprietary medicines, for which you can’t charge exorbitant fees [9]. Banning homeopathy on the NHS is just one small part of a larger plan to maximize corporate profits by letting corporations own and control the health care system [10].  Before they can do this, they have to eliminate alternative methods of treatment.

Personally, I think Schmukler is wrong – here is why:

1 The current argument is not about what doctors are permitted to do, but about what the NHS should do with our tax money.

2 Argumentum ad populum

3 Oh dear! Anyone who uses this report as evidence must be desperate – see for instance here.

4 Why indeed? Except highly dilute homeopathic remedies are pure placebos.

5 Maybe ‘someone’ merely wants to use effective medications rather than placebos.

6 Freedom of choice is a nonsense, if it is not guided by sound evidence – see here.

7 No, that’s Jeremy Hunt! But in any case privatisation might be more profitable with homeopathy – much higher profit margins without any investment into R&D.

8 No, this is Hunt again!

9 Homeopathic remedies are ideal for making vast profits: no research, no development, no cost for raw material, etc., etc.

10 I am sure Boiron et al would not mind stepping into the gap.

I very much look forward to the next outburst of Alan Schmukler and hope he will manage to think a bit clearer by then.

10 Responses to Fighting for Homeopathy on the NHS

  • Farting for homeopathy..

    Why do they continue to lie and conflate about the Swiss report? The report did indeed find homeopathy to be safe, effective and economical. And the Swiss government rejected the findings because they were utter bollocks. That the Swiss still cover homeopathy on their health insurance was purely because of public popularity, not evidence.

  • I believe I said before- and people probably know- that Hunt sent an extraordinarily patronising letter to a man who complained, dismissively saying that it should be on the NHS ‘because people like it’.
    Why ginger marmalade therefore isn’t, I have no idea.

  • By the way, I have no time for conspiracy theories, but it is very hard not to think that the NHS isn’t indeed being softened up for privatisation. Despite the fact that the government has the appalling example of the USA to learn from.
    One can only imagine that maybe many people don’t care as much as they claim, givien that large numbers of them, self- declared ‘animal lovers’, continue to vote for fox-killers to be allowed to carry on.
    It’s about here, surely, that Colin the Homeopathic Bobby would normally be shouting ‘Fake News’.
    I imagine he defends/ has defended the Swiss report.

  • The ‘Swiss Report’ was of course written by homeopaths and then presented to the Swiss government.
    UK patients will not be denied homeopathic consultations, nor remedies – but the NHS will not pay.

    It is not simply a matter of ‘lack of effectiveness’ – it is a matter of pseudo-medicine and fake therapies warping the mindset of NHS patients and practitioners, and making it all the harder to focus on evidence-based care and exclude the many other worthless treatments.

    Homeopathy is in the frame right now, but so to, acupuncture, Reiki, energy medicine , herbs etc need to be.
    It’s called ‘progress’.

  • Alan Schmukler is one of those people who can be said to be not even wrong

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