On their website, the British Homeopathic Association (BHA) have launched their annual winter appeal. Its theme this year is ‘building a better future for homeopathy’. The appeal is aimed at the following specific goals:
- Continuously fighting to retain NHS services in the UK by supporting local patients & groups and providing swift media responses employing experts in areas such as media, politics, law and reputation management for ultimate effectiveness. Currently undertaking a legal challenge to NHS England
- Establishing charitable homeopathic clinics throughout the UK, with clinics currently in Norwich, York, Bath, Edinburgh and looking at developing other clinics in Liverpool, Wales, Oxford and London in 2018.
- Making further investment to enhance our digital presence and promotion of key messages.
- Continuoustly improving our website to make it the place for information on homeopathy from finding practitioners to finding the latest Health & Homeopathy online.
- Investing in research and education to keep homeopathy strong in the long term, increasing the number of healthcare professionals using homeopathy in their everyday practice.
- Taking homeopathy to the people and growing our community of supporters with public events, local events and national promotion.
I have to say, I find this almost touching in its naivety. I imagine another lobby group, say the cigarette industry, launching a winter appeal: BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE FOR CIGARETTES.
Do I hear you object?
Cigarettes are unhealthy and not a medical treatment!!!
Quite so! Homeopathy is also unhealthy and not a medical treatment, I would argue. Sure, highly dilute homeopathics do not kill you, but homeopathy easily can. We have seen this on this blog many times. Homeopathy kills when it is advocated and consequently used as an alternative therapy for a life-threatening disease; there is no question about it. And there also is no question about the fact that this happens with depressing regularity. If you doubt it, just read some of my previous posts on the subject.
In any case, an appeal by a medical association should not be for its own benefit (homeopathy); it should be for patients (patients tempted to try homeopathy), I would suggest. So, lets design the goals of an appeal for patients along the lines of the above appeal – except our appeal has to actually be in the best interest of vulnerable patients.
Here we go:
- Continually fighting to stop homeopathy on the NHS. As homeopathy does not generate more good than harm (no ineffective therapy can ever do that), we have a moral, legal and ethical duty to use our scarce resources such that they create the maximum benefit; and this means we cannot use them for homeopathy.
- Establishing charitable organisations that educate the public about science and evidence. Too many consumers are still falling victim to the pseudo-science of charlatans who mislead people for their own profit.
- Making further investments to combating the plethora of unethical misinformation by self-interested quacks and organisations many of which even have charitable status.
- Continually improving websites that truthfully inform the public, politicians, journalists and others about medicine, science and healthcare.
- Investing in research and education to keep science and evidence-based medicine strong, for the benefit of vulnerable patients and in the interest of progress.
- Taking the science agenda to the people and growing the community of science-literate supporters on a local, national and international level.
As I had to follow the lines of the BHA, these goals are regrettably not perfect – but I am sure they are a whole lot better than the BHA original!