Parliamentary Committee on Homeopathy
The full title should be “The Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee on Homeopathy” but I think that would make the URL unreadable. The English Parliament (UK Parliament?) has many Select Committees covering all aspects of governmental influence. The Committees are drawn from all parties and their role is to examine evidence and take expert testimony. They also take great pleasure in ripping apart MPs, civil servants and suppliers to the government. Where normal parliamentary business appears to be stage managed and operating off some bizarre codewords and actions, Select Committees are very plain speaking. Hansard, which publishes parliamentary records, has a list of Select Committee meetings and the records. Luckily for us, they also provide video records of the meetings.
This Science and Technology Committee meeting was called to hear evidence and submissions on 3 subjects:
- 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
It is important that this is done as homeopathy is a widespread industry throughout the UK and, indeed, the world, and because they are not medicines in the same sense as aspirin or antibiotics, they do not have to go through the same testing before being released to the public. As well, there is lobbying to have homeopathy more widely accepted in the NHS and for funding to be provided for it. Why is this an issue? Because many doctors cannot prescribe some more expensive and proven medicines for lack of funding, by having homeopathy accepted alongside real medicines, this will further stretch already limited budgets.
Before we go to the videos, I urge you to go to the following sites:
- Skepdic article on Homeopathy
- Bad Science articles on Homeopathy
- The Quackometer articles on Homeopathy
You will notice that these are not pro-Homeopathy sites. That is intentional – these are sites that prefer to rely on evidence to prove whether something works or not. “Bad Science” is written by Ben Goldacre who is a proper practicing doctor and has a real interest in making sure that what is prescribed to his patients is something that will actually help them.
The videos that follow are via YouTube, so if you have problems with them, please go to YouTube itself to view them. They were uploaded by this user and I have no connection with him/her. I am linking to the first 3 videos, not because these are the best of them, but just to whet your appetite. Please continue watching parts 4 – 11 on YouTube itself.
The scientific community has so far only been able to prove that homeopathic medicines are as good as the placebo effect – if you are happy to be prescribed sugar pills instead of actual medicine then good luck to you. I’d rather use something that actually works.
Posted on 6 December, 2009, in News, Skeptical Stories and tagged Alternative, Bad Science, Ben Goldacre, debate, health, Organizations, parliament, quackery, Select Committee, UK, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.