I just read this blog, The Swiss Government’s Remarkable Report on Homeopathic Medicine, by Dana Ullman, who writes a regular blog about homeopathy for the Huffington Post. In this blog he discusses a report from the Swiss Government after extensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine. I’ve summarized some key points from his blog below.
People want homeopathy
There was strong demand from both consumers and physicians for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments:
- “Approximately half of the Swiss population have used CAM treatments and value them.”
- “About half of Swiss physicians consider CAM treatments to be effective.”
- “85 percent of the Swiss population wants CAM therapies to be a part of their country’s health insurance program.”
The assessment was thorough
The Swiss government’s assessment was high quality and sought to not only evaluate existing evidence relating to homeopathy, but also the QUALITY and VALIDITY of such evidence, which is also important, since many researchers do not design studies that evaluate homeopathy (or many other natural therapies for that matter!) in the way that it is actually practiced!
- “Not only did this report carefully and comprehensively review the body of evidence from randomized double-blind and placebo controlled clinical trials testing homeopathic medicines, they also evaluated the “real world effectiveness” as well as safety and cost-effectiveness.”
- “This report evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses, outcome studies, and epidemiological research. This wide review carefully evaluated the studies conducted, both in terms of quality of design and execution (called “internal validity”) and how appropriate each was for the way that homeopathy is commonly practiced (called “external validity”).
- “some scientists and physicians conduct research on homeopathy with little or no understanding of this type of medicine,”
- “When such studies inevitably showed that the homeopathic medicine did not “work,” the real and accurate assessment must be that the studies were set up to disprove homeopathy”
So what were the results?
- “homeopathic high-potencies seem to induce regulatory effects (e.g., balancing or normalizing effects) and specific changes in cells or living organisms.”
- “The report cited 29 studies in “Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/AllergicReactions,” of which 24 studies found a positive result in favor of homeopathy.”
- “Further, six out of seven controlled studies that compared homeopathic treatment with conventional medical treatment showed that homeopathy to be more effective than conventional medical interventions (the one other trial found homeopathic treatment to be equivalent to conventional medical treatment).”
- “All of these results from homeopathic treatment came without the side effects common to conventional drug treatment.”
- “In evaluating only the randomized placebo controlled trials, 12 out of 16 studies showed a positive result in favor of homeopathy.”