Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Homeopathy is 'dangerous and wasteful,' bioethics expert argues

Date:
May 9, 2011
Source:
University of Abertay Dundee
Summary:
A bioethics expert has denounced the public funding of homeopathy at a time where Scotland’s health budget is under unprecedented pressure.

A bioethics expert from the University of Abertay Dundee has denounced the public funding of homeopathy at a time where Scotland's health budget is under unprecedented pressure. Writing in the journal Bioethics, Dr Kevin Smith says that Homeopathy is 'ethically unacceptable' and should be 'actively rejected' by healthcare and education providers.

Related Articles


Despite heavy criticism from the medical community including the British Medical Association, homeopathic treatments continue to be available on the NHS. Last year a BBC programme, 'Magic or Medicine -- Homeopathy and the NHS', reported that the NHS in Scotland spent around 1.5m per year on homeopathy -- almost a third of the estimated 4m spent each year in the UK. Scottish GPs were found to be prescribing 10 times as many homeopathic medicines per patient as their English counterparts.

Dr Smith said: "The NHS in Scotland is spending far more per person on homeopathic treatments than in the rest of the UK and now in particular, in times where finances are stretched to breaking point and funding for vital services is at risk, this is incredible."

Dr Smith argues that in addition wasting valuable resources, government funding gives credibility to homeopathy, which puts patients at risk. "NHS funding for homeopathy legitimises it and suggests a scientific basis, the risk is then that people will avoid effective medicine, potentially damaging their health. The same applies to education providers running homeopathy courses," he said.

Supporters of homeopathy argue that if the patient feels a placebo effect then there is still benefit to the patient. Dr Smith refutes this saying: "If placebo effect is the only form of benefit, then you're effectively lying to the patient and going against a core principle of medical ethics -- that patients must have all the information available to give fully informed consent."

Dr Smith's article comes as the axe continues to hang over Scotland's only homeopathic hospital -- Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. Future funding has not been confirmed and NHS Highland has already announced that it will no longer be commissioning services from the facility.

"Homeopathy is utterly implausible. Homeopathic preparations are so thoroughly diluted that they contain no significant amounts of active ingredients, and thus can have no effects on the patient's body. So it is hardly unsurprising that, despite a large number of studies having been conducted, there's no convincing evidence to support claims of effectiveness for homeopathy. Those who believe it works either do not understand the science, or are simply deluded. It is important to realise that homeopathy is not ethically neutral; it is wasteful and potentially dangerous, and conflicts with fundamental ethical principles. I argue that those involved with healthcare have a moral duty to take an active stance against homeopathy. For example, those responsible for healthcare funding should act to ensure that scare NHS resources are not allocated to the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. Indeed, the closure of this facility would be welcome on ethical grounds."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Abertay Dundee. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin Smith. Against Homeopathy - A Utilitarian Perspective. Bioethics, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01876.x

Cite This Page:

University of Abertay Dundee. "Homeopathy is 'dangerous and wasteful,' bioethics expert argues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509065749.htm>.
University of Abertay Dundee. (2011, May 9). Homeopathy is 'dangerous and wasteful,' bioethics expert argues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509065749.htm
University of Abertay Dundee. "Homeopathy is 'dangerous and wasteful,' bioethics expert argues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509065749.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins