Call for guidelines on the use of homeopathic remedies

The Lancet is calling on the Department of Health and the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to urgently consider developing guidelines on the use of homeopathic remedies.

The request comes after the publication of a research paper in the journal (Lancet 2005; 366: 726–32), which showed that homeopathic remedies are no better than a placebo. Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, in a letter to Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, Chairman of NICE, writes that without guidance on the use on homeopathic remedies there will continue to be inappropriate practice throughout the NHS.

Dr Horton states: “The formulation of guidance based on an appraisal of homeopathy’s effects would help to promote the best possible improvement in patient care for the given NHS resources available. NICE guidance would add substantially to the debate about whether and to what extent homeopathy should be available on the NHS. There is now a sufficient evidence base on which to decide such guidance. Moreover, there is strong reason to believe that, in the absence of such guidance, there will continue to be inappropriate practice throughout the NHS . . . Given the controversy and inevitable uncertainty surrounding homeopathic medicine, this subject is a matter of urgent public concern.”

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