Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by the British Medical Association (BMA) (HO 55)


  I note that the Science and Technology Committee's evidence check on homeopathic remedies is drawing to a conclusion and I thought that the Committee might be interested in the British Medical Association's (BMA) view on this issue. I wanted to inform the Committee that we have long been concerned about the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and over the last 20 years the BMA's Board of Science has worked extensively to develop BMA policy on CAM.

Our policy development has focussed on the discrete therapies which have established training programmes, criteria of competence, professional standards and the potential for use alongside orthodox medical care. Doctors have a duty to safeguard public health and BMA policy has therefore focused on the principles of good practice in CAM which would safeguard the individual against possible harm to health and maximise the potential benefits of particular CAM methods.

As you may be aware, the popularity of CAM has led to greater demand for CAM on the NHS. This has coincided with changes in healthcare provision which aim to facilitate greater patient choice. Research into the efficacy of CAM however has raised questions about the use of NHS resources for such provision. As such our members would be supportive of a call in the Committee's final report to request that NICE review and report on the cost effectiveness of homoeopathic remedies and for NICE to recommend whether they should continue to be funded by the NHS.

  I hope that you find this useful.

Professor Sir Ken Calman


Board of Science

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Prepared 22 February 2010