Tuesday, February 23, 2010

British to pay for placebo treatments out of pocket

A committee of British MPs have recommended that the British National Health Service discontinue homeopathy as a routine treatment for health issues. From an article by Andy Coghlan in the New Scientist

In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinises the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect.

This seems like a strong victory for the reality-based community. There are the usual complaints from people supporting homeopathy, such as:
Michael Dixon, medical director of the foundation adds: "Science is a vital tool in healthcare, but so are compassion and caring and treating patients with dignity. It is not clear that the Committee took that into account."
I'm not sure why ineffective remedies are supposed to be compassionate, and I think that the burden of proof rests with supporters of homeopathy to make the case that ineffective remedies are still useful.