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.

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 September 15, 2014 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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