Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by the UK Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention in UK Travellers (ACMP) (HO 07)

  1.  The UK Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention in UK Travellers (ACMP), an independent expert committee of the Health Protection Agency has been asked to respond by the HPA to the call of your committee for evidence on:

    — Government policy on licensing of homeopathic products

    — Government policy on the funding of homeopathy through the NHS

    — the evidence base on homeopathic products and services.

  2.  The ACMP has on several occasions considered the third question in relation to travellers who have been advised to take homeopathic prevention against malaria (not by NHS homeopathic practitioners) and subsequently contracted the disease.

  3.  Malaria is a potentially fatal disease, almost completely preventable by a combination of mosquito bite prevention and antimalarial prophylaxis, which kills several people every year and causes over 1,000-2,000 cases of malaria in the UK. There is no convincing evidence that homeopathic prevention or treatment works, although no scientifically robust trials have been conducted.

  4.  There is clear scientific evidence based on trials that several antimalarial drugs do substantially reduce the risk of malaria, as do insecticide-treated bednets. There is clear evidence that current antimalarial drugs are highly effective at treating malaria.

  5.  Given the seriousness of the disease and the clear evidence of other measures being effective no responsible homeopathic practitioner would consider recommending homeopathy in the view of the ACMP. We would strongly advise against homeopathic products for preventing or treating malaria being licensed in the UK on the basis of current evidence. The ACMP has no views on homeopathy more widely.

Professor Christopher Whitty FRCP FFPH

Acting chair, ACMP

November 2009

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