Memorandum submitted by Professor Vincent Marks
Government policy on licensing of homeopathic products
1 Homeopathic products have no place in a society and more especially a National Health Service that aims to protect people from unnecessary harm arising whether due to ignorance or misfeance. Homeopathy has no justification for continuing to exist in a world where medical practice is a craft that relies upon the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and psychology and demands evidence of efficacy.
2 Homeopathy has none of these attributes and whilst it may have been justified because when inaugurated because it fullfilled one of the prime maximes of medical practice namely, "First do no harm.." which was in sharp contrast to much of orthodox medical practice at the time, it no longer is so.
3 Homeopathy produces harm, in my experience and in numerous published reports,not by commission but by omission, and by the denial of access to remedies of proven benefit. Licensing homeopathic remedies gives them a credibility they do not deserve or warrant from either a pragmatic or philosophical point of view.
4 Evidence based medical practice should not have to compete for funds with what can legitimately be described as a cult practice based upon nothing than unsubstantiated dogma.
5 This has repeatedly been shown, through fair trials, to provide no benefits beyond those achievable by diligent use of the placebo effect whose adantages cannot be used to full effect by practioners of modern medicine.
6 Registered Medical Practioners are ethically bound to explain to their patients the scientific basis of treatments they recommend and both the desirable and undesirable consequences of it.
The evidence base on homeopathic products and services
7 I am not aware of any genuine evidence base for homeopathy whose philosophy flies in the face of all known physical, chemical and biological science.
8 The proposition that "like cures like" was a preposterous proposition based on nothing more profound than the imagination of its author.
9 Properly conducted randomised controlled clinical trials of homeopathy (fair trials) have not established any benefit greater than can be achieved by placebo therapy and that cannot be explained by chance.
10 Claims that animals respond to homeopathy do not withstand scrutiny but are often attested to as pragmatic evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy in spite of its implausibility.
By Vincent Marks, MA, DM,FRCPath, FRCP (Edin & Lond)