Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Hugh Evans (HO 54)

  While looking for another programme on iPlayer, I happened upon the broadcast of your Committee's session of 25 November 2009 on homeopathy, and I hope that I am not too late in submitting some observations as an ordinary member of the public.

First let me declare an interest. For a miserable 18 months, my excellent GP and three expert hospital consultants tried hard, but failed, to cure my worsening balance problem (caused by an inner-ear condition), and a series of prescribed pharmaceutical drugs either had no effect or made me feel even worse. In desperation, having been eventually told that I "would have to live with it", I turned to a homeopath practitioner (registered by a national body). I knew nothing about this form of medicine.

  Over the following five months, the homeopath worked hard to narrow down the homeopathic profile of my condition, and after monthly consultations, gave me three tablets which I took at two hourly intervals one Friday afternoon. The problem had gone by the Monday. I have been free from all the balance symptoms ever since, and that was 20 years ago.

  My observations for the Committee are:

    (a) The Germans and the French are not generally regarded as gullible nations, yet they embrace homeopathy in a very significant way. Their Health Insurance organisations are very supportive of homeopathic medicine, because they see good results at a fraction of the cost of the drugs supplied by pharmaceutical companies. I trust that your Committee is taking evidence from European experts and bodies from outside the UK.

    (b) Here in the UK, I and many other, including—I dare say—members of the Royal Family, who do not regard ourselves as cranky or gullible, have benefited from homeopathic remedies, sometimes in a highly dramatic way.

    (c) Homeopathic remedies are very cheap (eg I paid around £4.50 for my bottle of 60 Arnica pills which I use for bruising etc and this will last for years). In countries such as India, where money is tight for many people, homeopathy flourishes. I hope that the Committee will take evidence from poor countries such as India.

    (d) In the discussion I saw from your Committee session, I did not hear much from the point of view of the patient. I hope, therefore, that your report will include evidence from patients, be they people who have benefited from homeopathy, been harmed by it, or found it a waste of time.

  I hope that these observations will be of some interest to you.

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