Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Science and Technology Committee


The Science and Technology Committee heard arguments for and against the effectiveness of homeopathy in a one-off evidence check on 25 November 2009.

Members questioned experts on whether homeopathic treatments had any impact beyond the placebo effect.

Professor Jayne Lawrence, chief scientific advisor to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and Dr Ben Goldacre, writer of the Guardian's Bad Science column, said that while they did not believe homeopathic treatments were harmful, there was no scientific evidence to support their effectiveness.

Tracey Brown, managing director of Sense About Science, said: "There is the possibility of delayed diagnosis, or of people believing they are seeking effective treatment when they are not."

But Dr Peter Fisher, director of research at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, said: "I would not practice it [homeopathy] for two minutes if I thought I was conning patients...if I thought it was only a placebo."

When asked whether money spent on homeopathy consultations should be diverted to other areas of the NHS, he said: "I think you get more bang for your buck with homeopathy, so no I don't."

Robert Wilson, chairman of the British Association of Homeopathic Manufacturers, said the industry had suffered a decline because of a "huge amount of negative PR based on spurious trials".

"The homeopathic voice is not being heard," he said.


Story Tools

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific