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

In contemporary healthcare, evidence-based practices are fundamental for ensuring optimal patient outcomes and resource allocation. Essential steps for conducting pharmacoeconomic studies in homeopathy involve study design, intervention identification, comparator selection, outcome measures definition, data collection, cost analysis, effectiveness analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-benefit analysis, sensitivity analysis, reporting, and peer review. While conventional medicine undergoes rigorous pharmacoeconomic evaluations, the field of homeopathy often lacks such scrutiny. However, the importance of pharmacoeconomic studies in homeopathy is increasingly recognized, given its growing integration into modern healthcare systems.

A systematic review was aimed at summarizing the existing economic evaluations of homeopathy. It was conducted by searching electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science) to identify relevant literature using keywords such as “homeopathy,” “pharmacoeconomics,” and “efficacy.” Articles meeting inclusion criteria were assessed for quality using established frameworks like the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS). Data synthesis was conducted thematically, focusing on study objectives, methodologies, findings, and conclusions.

Ten pharmacoeconomic studies within homeopathy were identified, demonstrating varying degrees of compliance with reporting guidelines. While most studies reported costs comprehensively, some lacked methodological transparency, particularly in analytic methods. Heterogeneity was observed in study designs and outcome measures, reflecting the complexity of economic evaluation in homeopathy. Quality of evidence varied, with some studies exhibiting robust methodologies while others had limitations.

The authors concluded that, based on the review, recommendations include promoting homeopathic clinics, providing policy support, adopting collaborative healthcare models, and leveraging India’s homeopathic resources. Pharmacoeconomic studies in homeopathy are crucial for evaluating its economic implications compared to conventional medicine. While certain studies demonstrated methodological rigor, opportunities exist for enhancing consistency, transparency, and quality in economic evaluations. Addressing these challenges is essential for informing decision-making regarding the economic aspects of homeopathic interventions.

The truth is that there are not many economic studies of homeopathy that are worth the paper they were printed on. One of the most rigorous analysis was published by German pro-homeopathy researcher. This study aimed to provide a long-term cost comparison of patients using additional homeopathic treatment (homeopathy group) with patients using usual care (control group) over an observation period of 33 months.

Health claims data from a large statutory health insurance company were analysed from both the societal perspective (primary outcome) and from the statutory health insurance perspective (secondary outcome). To compare costs between patient groups, homeopathy and control patients were matched in a 1:1 ratio using propensity scores. Predictor variables for the propensity scores included health care costs and both medical and demographic variables. Health care costs were analysed using an analysis of covariance, adjusted for baseline costs, between groups both across diagnoses and for specific diagnoses over a period of 33 months. Specific diagnoses included depression, migraine, allergic rhinitis, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and headache.

Data from 21,939 patients in the homeopathy group (67.4% females) and 21,861 patients in the control group (67.2% females) were analysed. Health care costs over the 33 months were 12,414 EUR [95% CI 12,022-12,805] in the homeopathy group and 10,428 EUR [95% CI 10,036-10,820] in the control group (p<0.0001). The largest cost differences were attributed to productivity losses (homeopathy: EUR 6,289 [6,118-6,460]; control: EUR 5,498 [5,326-5,670], p<0.0001) and outpatient costs (homeopathy: EUR 1,794 [1,770-1,818]; control: EUR 1,438 [1,414-1,462], p<0.0001). Although the costs of the two groups converged over time, cost differences remained over the full 33 months. For all diagnoses, homeopathy patients generated higher costs than control patients.

The authors concluded that their analysis showed that even when following-up over 33 months, there were still cost differences between groups, with higher costs in the homeopathy group.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!

Homeopathy is not cost-effective.

How could it possibly be? To be cost-effective, a theraapy has to be first of all effective – and that homeopathy is certainly not.

So, why does the avove-cited new paper arrive at a more positive conclusion?

Here are some potential explanations:

The authors of this paper are affiliated to:

  1. PatilTech Hom Research Solution, Maharashtra, India.
  2. Samarth Homeopathic Clinic and Research Center, Maharashtra, India.

The paper was published in the largely unknown, 3rd class Journal of Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical Management.

Most importantly, the authors aknowledge that many of the primary studies had serious methodological problems. However, this did not stop them from taking their data seriously. As a result, we have here another example of the old and well-known rule of systematic reviews:

RUBBISH IN, RUBBISH OUT!

To answer the question posed in the title of this post:

Is homeopathy cost-effective?

NO

 

 

4 Responses to IS HOMEOPATHY COST-EFFECTIVE? A New Economic Evaluation of Homeopathy

  • Studies of homeopathy on cost are very cheap. Actually they a part of the trick to cheat politicians into supporting homeopathy, because they believe, they can save money. So this trick is very common.

    But there is a problem: homeopathy does not work.

    So, despite homeopathy being crap, how can these studies be done?

    One way is to use a short duration. But the real test is in real life. And in real life the bodies of the patients CAN suffer a lot, but they will survive. But only for a time not too long. And then they are done. But this part is not in the study, and serves quite well for the undertakers.

    In Germany some MDs, who commit the fraud homeopathy, boast how much they can save by using homeopathy. But the truth is: THEY can save a lot – and the patients pay for this with their wellness, and with their lives. But as long as there are enough citizens to exploit, homeopaths have no problem with that.

    Now, HOW can the doctors save money? Answer: simply by using less laboratory material, less personnel, less of this and less of that. You don’t buy it, you don’t pay it, you don’t use it. So it is not there. This is very efficient. But only for the doctors. The patients pay with their lives for this.

    Now, how can such studies be done despite the risks for the patients? Answer: simply by choosing those patients who can be cheated. Some “studies” used children, who already reacted positive to homeopathy. So there was a high probability the real cause of the “disease” was psychic, or the patients could be indoctrinated to accept everything and still say that homeopathy works.

    And there are so many more tricks. Using statistics and complicated math does not prove that homeopathy works, it only show the way how the homeopathy mafia defrauds. After more than 225 years, there still is not a single study on whole earth, which proves that homeopathy works. Not a single one.

    Now let that sink in…

  • AMA you really should look at the Law of Similars. I call it the Law of Smiles which of course is a similar word. These days those of us into homeopathy seem to be smiling. You should try it.
    If you cant raise a smile right now just think of 225 years of homeopathy and not one study or lab that can test it and Homeopathy is not just around but growing!
    Thank Hahnemann that a few like AMA are here to remind us of this and help keep us humble.

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