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Medical Professionals Demand The WHO Condemn Homeopathic Treatments

Posted Jul 24 2009 10:59pm

Medical professionals are complaining about the fact homeopathic treatments are still being used to treat illnesses like HIV/Aids and malaria, despite the lack of evidence regarding its effectiveness.

Calls are being made for the World Health Organisation to (WHO) to publicly advise against using these “highly unethical” treatments with claims they unnecessarily raise patients hope and could even be life threatening.

The Voice of Young Science Network, a group of young doctors and scientists,   want the WHO to take action after ill patients are dying after using the remedies rather than known effective treatments.

The researchers sent a letter to the WHO, stating,

“Those of us working with the most rural and impoverished people of the world already struggle to deliver the medical help that is needed. When homeopathy stands in place of effective treatment, lives are lost.”

There has not been much resistance from British homeopathic practitioners, with many agreeing they can do little to help seriously ill patients.

Homeopathic preparations are made by repetitive dilution resulting in the eradication of the original compound. Evidence and studies suggest any supposed benefits are due to a placebo effect.

Daniella Muallem, a biophysicist at University College London, who signed the letter, said, “The WHO’s strategy is very unclear on homeopathy and that is shocking. They are supposed to be articulating evidence-based medicine, but their stance is very wishy-washy.

“Homeopathy is cheap, but there is no evidence that it works for these diseases, and the way they are being sold by practitioners is dangerous and completely unethical. There are medicines that do work and we should be advocating trying to get those to people,”she added.

Duncan Casey, a researcher at Imperial College who also signed the letter, added, “This isn’t the difference between two schools of medicine; this is like comparing a 747 to a magic carpet. The magic carpet is a lovely idea – but at the end of the day, which would you rather trust with your life?”

Peter Fisher, a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy and Clinical Director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, said, “ Malaria is a serious and life-threatening disease and there is no published evidence to support the use of homeopathy in the prevention of malaria.”

WHO statistics suggest as many as 33 million people in the world had an HIV diagnosis in 2007, two million of which died of Aids that year, with 270,000 of those children. Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected area, with two-thirds of the world’s HIV cases present here.

Malaria caused the deaths of almost one million people in 2006 with a child dying from the disease every 30 seconds.

The WHO declined to comment on the letter until later in the week.

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