Indian researchers published a survey aimed at determining the practice of prescription by homeopathic undergraduate students. A cross-sectional study was carried out involving all the students from 4 government homeopathic schools of West Bengal, India. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires.
A total of 328 forms were completed. 80.5% of all homeopathic undergraduate students admitted prescribing homeopathic medicines independently and 40.5% said that they did this 2-3 times a year. The most common reasons for this activity were ‘urgency of the problem’ (35.2%), ‘previous experience with same kind of illness’ (31.8%), and ‘the problem too trivial to go to a doctor’ (25.8%). About 63.4% of the students thought that it was alright to independently diagnose an illness, while 51.2% thought that it was alright for them to prescribe medicines to others. Common conditions encountered were fever, indigestion, and injury. Prescription by students gradually increased with academic years of homeopathic schools. Many students thought it was alright for students to diagnose and treat illnesses.
The authors conclude that prescription of medicines by homeopathic undergraduate students is quite rampant and corrective measures are warranted.
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry about these findings:
- If you are a homeopath, you ought to be upset to hear that students who are obviously neither fully trained, qualified or licensed already prescribe medicines.
- If you are aware of the fact that homeopathic remedies are pure placebos, you might laugh about all this thinking “who cares?”
- If you are into public health, you will worry that homeopaths are obviously being taught that homeopathic remedies can treat conditions which are considered to be urgent.
- If you are someone who believes that sick people need evidence-based treatments, you might want to change the authors’ conclusion into something like: prescription of medicines by homeopaths is quite rampant and, in the interest of patients, corrective measures are required to stop them.