Sunday, November 25, 2007

Homeopathy- cure or delusion?

Lancet, the British medical journal, is set to place itself firmly in the anti-homeopathy camp, a British GP, Margaret McCartney writes in FT.

“There are five homeopathic hospitals in the National Health Service, 40 per cent of GPs refer patients for homeopathic treatments,” he (Richard Horton, editor-in-chief, Lancet) told listeners, “and there’s not one shred of evidence to support homeopathic efficacy for any disease.”


McCartney herself is forthright in denouncing homeopathy:

The bottom line, and no homeopath with half an eye on the evidence can ignore it, is that homeopathic remedies are no better than taking a placebo. Homeopathy does not work. We should accept this and move on.
McCartney argues that homeopathic hospitals under the NHS must be closed down. However, that the placebo effect of homeopathy- the effectiveness of treatment that is chemically inactive- is worth focusing on. Homeopathy doctors tend to give more time and attention to a patient than their allopathic counterparts. This 'caring' factor itself may have beneficial effects and should be captured in some way in allopathic treatment.

How can this be achieved under NHS? McCartney has one concrete suggestion: ensure that patients meet the same GP on a continuing basis instead of being bounced from one GP to another.

When I read stuff like this, I thank heavens for the quality of medical care in India. Most of us have GPs we stay with for years. They know our ailments inside out, the treatments they have prescribed- and, not least, are willing to come home at short notice.

61 comments:

Daze said...

The "Family Doctor" relationship with GPs is waning in the cities though, isn't it? At least here in B'lore most "immigrants" to the city end up using GPs at major hospitals and/or hospital chains who aren't as keen about building lasting relationships with their patients as my "family doctor" is.
Sad, methinks, although still better than the shunting from GP to GP in the UK

At least the insurance situation prevalent in the US (and UK?) has not yet got here.... The consumer is the one getting shafted and the insurance companies AND doctors are the ones that complain about not making enough money.

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