Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Britain not to go ahead with ban on Homeopathy

Homeopathy will continue to be available on the National Health Service (NHS) despite an influential health committee condemning it as medically unproven, a British minister said.

Health Minister Anne Milton said complementary and alternative medicine "has a long tradition" and very vocal people are both in favour of it and against it, reports the Telegraph.

A report by a group of MPs said homeopathic medicine should no longer be funded on the NHS and called for a ban on the medicines carrying medical claims on their labels.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee said there is no evidence the drugs are any more effective than a placebo - the same as taking a sugar or dummy pill and believing it works.

Last month, doctors attending the British Medical Association (BMA) annual conference backed this view, saying homeopathic remedies should be banned on the NHS and taken off pharmacy shelves where they are sold as medicines.

The treatment was described as "nonsense on stilts" and that patients would be better off buying bottled water.

Milton said the government welcomed the MPs' report but "remain of the view that the local National Health Service and clinicians are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients".

These decisions should take account of safety, and clinical and cost effectiveness, she said, adding that the government remained committed to providing good quality information on the treatments.

Homeopathy, which dates back 200 years, has been funded on the NHS since the service's inception in 1948.

It differs from herbal medicine in that it relies on substances being diluted many times, something the MPs said could not be scientifically proven to work.

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