JME Editorial: Funding Unscientific ‘Remedies’

Here’s an editorial that appeared a few years back in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Full text at the link:

Homeopathy is where the harm is: five unethical effects of funding unscientific ‘remedies’ by David Shaw

The editorial’s bottom line:

To conclude, it is likely that homeopathy is where the harm is. Although homeopathic remedies do not directly harm patients, it is very possible that harm could befall homeopathy patients who refrain from seeking traditional medicine. Patients in the NHS could be indirectly harmed if funds are spent on homeopathy that could have been spent on mainstream care. Patients who are prescribed homeopathic treatments are very possibly being deceived, and thus are being treated unethically. And homeopathy is currently weakening public confidence in the NHS, the MHRA and science and medicine in general, and also doing a disservice to efficacious forms of complementary medicine. Most of these unethical effects could be minimised by withdrawing NHS funding for homeopathic practice, and educating the public about the lack of an evidence base for homeopathy. In other words, it would be more ethical for the NHS to stick to treatments of proven worth. There was once a homeopathic hospital in Tunbridge Wells, but it was closed because ‘the NHS has to decide the best use of money on the evidence of clinical effectiveness’. Other NHS trusts would do well to follow this example.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.

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