MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Homeopathy has had its fair share of declarations, and now there is another one. I find this new one important because it is from German medical students and might thus indicate where German homeopathy is heading.

The ‘Bundesvertretung der Medizinstudenten in Deutschland’ – the German Medical Students’ Association – has recently looked into the evidence for and against homeopathy and came up with this poignant declaration:

Here is my translation for those who cannot read German; I have added a few footnotes to explain the German context:

  • Homeopathy does not work beyond placebo [1].
  • The legal health insurances should not reimburse homeopathy [2].
  • The law stating that homeopathy can only be sold in pharmacies should be abolished [3].
  • Medicines should only be licenced, if there is a valid proof of efficacy [4].
  • In public debates, it must be made clear that homeopathy is not part of naturopathy [5].
  • The medical degree in homeopathy must be scrapped [6].
  • The teaching of homeopathy must be evidence-based and context-related [7].

_______________________________

  1. This seems to refer to the wording a German manufacturer of homeopathic preparations tried to suppress.
  2. At the moment most German health insurances do pay for homeopathy.
  3. In Germany, pharmacies have a monopoly on homeopathic remedies.
  4. Since many years, there has been a special regulation in Germany whereby homeopathics could get a licence without proof of efficacy.
  5. German homeopaths tend to be keen on muddying the water by claiming homeopathy is part of naturopathy.
  6. All German students are being taught (and examined on) some rudimentary knowledge of homeopathy.

The new declaration is ‘spot on’. I congratulate the students for their courage and wisdom to publish it. They are the future of German medicine, a future where homeopathy’s place is exclusively in the history books as a bizarre episode of anti-science.

24 Responses to A new declaration on homeopathy

  • Major difference from US where homeopathy is at least half of naturopathy education and practice.

    • Please stick to the facts, your statement is factually incorrect.

      • CCNM’s curriculum includes:
        Clinical nutrition;
        Lifestyle management;
        Traditional Asian medicine and acupuncture;
        Botanical (herbal) medicine;
        Physical medicine; and
        Homeopathy.

      • I have examined the curricula of naturopathic schools and the websites of local NDs, and spoken with NDs about their practices. I believe my assessment is correct. In what respect do you disagree?

        • I think perhaps what irks me more than the intellectual gymnastics that homeopaths utilize in their justifying the existence of a homeopathic effect, is when critics, cannot reflect on the obvious irony surrounding their own poorly informed impressions. Certainly, there must be some important ‘risk of bias’ in your informal sample of NDs and their websites.

          I would suggest that if one is going to criticize homeopathy (or Naturopathic Medicine for that matter), on the grounds of the scientific evidence or scientific plausibility, be specific and stick to the facts.

          It is accurate to state that homeopathy is part of the scope and training of NDs in North America. It is also accurate to say that a growing proportion of NDs and students are skeptical of the effectiveness of homeopathy. Furthermore, why make up the data, the realm is rich with low-hanging fruit.

  • That’s a comprehensively excellent, and very welcome Declaration!

    To fend it off, why, all the homeopaths have to do, is present proper EVIDENCE!

    • That’s it.
      Should be simple.

      It’s ten years since British junior doctors (through the BMA) called for their module on homeopathy at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital to be scrapped.

      That came to pass, and now there is no homeopathy in the NHS (except for patients whose mental state would not stand deprivation of the placebo pillules to which they have become accustomed.)

      I would like a homeopath to explain just why they cannot ‘move on’ after all this time.
      Some might be lured by the lucre – the profit motive (as the manufacturers and teachers at courses and schools are); some by the prophet motive; But most I suspect, simply are not up to practicing aught else.
      ‘Medicine’ is not for the faint-hearted.

      And those who have qualified in medicine yet still want to fool folks with remedies and pillules are charlatans – and if they charge, frauds.
      As we all know.

      But “Science matters” folks.
      At the end of the day, that’s all there is.

    • I can save homeopaths the trouble of responding to your suggestion by answering that (a) homeopaths have already supplied many positive studies; (b) that homeopathy in fact can’t be studied because of its unique nature; (c) that more studies of homeopathy are required but the medical establishment refuses to fund them; (d) that studies are not needed at all because it has been used successfully for 200 years; and (e) allopathic medicine is murder.

      • ” homeopathy in fact can’t be studied because of its unique nature”
        WHAT?!? there are about 500 clinical trials!
        care to explain?

      • “allopathic medicine is murder”
        IN THIS CASE, YOU HAVE THE MORAL OBLIGATION TO RUSH TO THE POLICE

      • Yakaru:
        Thank you for your valuable contribution, but if your premises (b) and (d) are true, (c) is not.
        (d) is nonsense in any case, and some readers might be offended were it not so obviously false.

        My questions remain:
        What is it that prevents people who become interested in homeopathy from realising there is no evidence that homeopathic preparations have any effect whatsoever beyond the placebo – and moving on?
        Why is that so difficult to understand?
        What emotional and intellectual blockages are there which prevent progress?

      • (a) homeopaths have already supplied many positive studies; (b) that homeopathy in fact can’t be studied because of its unique nature; (c) that more studies of homeopathy are required …

        Now please don’t get me wrong, but doesn’t premise b) utterly destroy both statements a) and c)?

        How on earth can you claim that there are positive studies while at the same time believing that IT CAN’T BE STUDIED AT ALL? And isn’t it foolish to recommend further study if studying it can’t be done in the first place?

        Your nonsense once again demonstrates the total disconnection between homeopathy and reality. Homeopathy is a religion, a cult, not a type of medicine, with its adherents capable of believing all sorts of made-up and often contradictory rubbish.

  • Homeopathy is growing among the general public. My evidence for this comment is the ever increasing turnover of the homeopathic pharmacies. I am very happy though for Drs and pharmacists to reject homeopathy and practise only what they were trained to do. So if German Drs want to go against the public trend then that is up to them. They will just lose patients.
    I can’t see homeopathy being banned from pharmacies though as the sector then would go underground away from any controls.
    Premature celebrations around 10 years ago from friends of Edzard called the end of homeopathy. That didnt happen then.
    So Edzard you may well be stuck with homeopathy for another decade.
    That will be another 500+ blog posts on homeopathy.
    Something at least to help entertain us in these difficult times.

  • Congratulations to all students involved in the preparation of this excellent declaration.

    I have just read the full document and must say that I find it very encouraging to see that these students are so far ahead of many practicing doctors, pharmacists and politicians responsible for German health policy.

    Great job indeed!

    • I find it very encouraging to see that these students are so far ahead of many practicing doctors, pharmacists and politicians responsible for German health policy

      I wonder how many of them will still hold this position once they have qualified and realise that there is money to be made from homeopathy.

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