Sunday, 28 November 2010

NHS funding for orthodox medicine risks misleading patients

Yes, I am deliberately transposing the words "NHS funding for homeopathy risks misleading patients" which Sir John Beddington allegedly said.

It was reported in the Guardian, which, one assumes, is proud of producing a regular flow of anti-homeopathy articles,

"Sir John Beddington, the government's chief scientific adviser, said patients might believe homeopathic treatments could protect them against serious illnesses, or treat existing conditions, because GPs and hospitals are allowed to prescribe them on the NHS."

I think Beddington is a fool (here I am being polite because I'm an Englishman) to trot out a comment which suggests that a proven alternative and safe form of medicine, unlike the current socalled orthodox medicine, doesn't work. Oh, sorry, I forgot for a moment that he's terribly important - Professor of Applied Population Biology (What?) and is (Labour appointed) Chief Scientific Adviser at £165,000 pa. And, like the hierarchy of the BMA, clearly wants homeopathy killed, which incidentally would make orthodox medicine's monopoly on healthcare complete. Aren’t monopolies meant to be unlawful? Why isn’t the Office of Fair Trading investigating the anti-competitive practices of the BMA?

If Beddington took the trouble to check, he'd find that loads of (“scientifically trained”) doctors through the last couple of hundred years have chosen voluntarily to go over to prescribing homeopathic remedies for the very reason that their orthodox remedies weren't curing their patients. In fact some orthodox remedies were killing or maiming them. These doctors have written loads of books about their experiences. And loads of doctors have cured with homeopathy serious, life threatening illnesses where the conventional medicine of the day had no answers, and used homeopathics effectively prophylactically. And I'm not just talking about curing patients in epidemics eg cholera, typhus, Yellow fever, dyptheria in the old days (see, but recently in Cuba's leptospirosis epidemic in 2007

So, Prof B, just read these snippets:

"One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew
anything better than what he was doing, because he was losing many
cases. "Yes, Doctor, stop aspirin and go down to a homeopathic
pharmacy, and get homeopathic remedies." The Doctor replied: "But that
is homeopathy." "I know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have
nursed have not lost a single case."--W. F. Edmundson, MD, Pittsburgh"

“In Cuba, Leptospirosis is recorded by an efficient national surveillance programme. Its incidence correlates closely with heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. In late 2007, in response to a developing epidemic, and with only enough vaccine to treat 15,000 high-risk people, the government decided to treat the entire population of the region, over one year of age, with a homeopathic medicine. This was prepared from the inactivated causative organism by the Cuban National Vaccine Institute.

The homeopathic medicine was given to the 2.3 million population of the provinces usually worst affected. Within a few weeks the number of cases had fallen from the forecast 38 to 4 cases per 100,000 per week, significantly fewer than the historically-based forecast for those weeks of the year. The 8.8 million population of the other provinces did not receive homeopathic treatment and the incidence was as forecast. The effect appeared to be sustained: there was an 84% reduction in infection in the treated region in the following year (2008) when, for the first time, incidence did not correlate with rainfall. In the same period, incidence in the untreated region increased by 22%.”

Doesn't that make you wonder whether you are talking nonsense, Prof B? Oh, I interrupted you .....

"I have made it completely clear that there is no scientific basis for homeopathy beyond the placebo effect and that there are serious concerns about its efficacy," Professor Beddington told the Commons science and technology committee today.

“He went on to warn that government funding for homeopathy risked legitimising unproven treatments and that patients could harm their health by choosing these over conventional vaccines and medicines.”

Well, Prof B, did you ever hear of something called the swine flu pandemic on which the last Labour Government wasted over £1.2bn of the taxpayer's money and risked harming the health of the British nation with the swine flu vaccine? Perhaps you've forgotten about the nasty side effects it had on so many, and perhaps you've forgotten that homeopathy doesn't have adverse side effects, and that homeopaths are daily called upon to treat the adverse effects of orthodox drugs? The efficacy and safety of that vaccine for all was unproven at the time this country's Government and medical authorities enthusiastically endorsed it. And do you recall the massive percentage of GPs and nurses who when polled said they would never take the vaccine themselves?

What’s that?

“Professor Beddington cited the case of a man who caught malaria after being advised to take a homeopathic preparation to protect against the disease.”

Well, Prof B, there is no orthodox malaria drug which has protected 100% of those given it by their doctors from malaria. And their side effects? Maybe you didn’t know that an orthodox-doctor-prescribed malaria drug ruined my honeymoon and made me so sick that I couldn’t move for days and only got better when I stopped taking it. Yes, I WAS BEING POISONED.

I doubt you’d want to believe it, but I recently had a patient who’d contracted typhoid while on holiday (confirmed by tests). The reason I had him – for homeopathic treatment – was because orthodox medicine wasn’t curing him. In fact he was feeling very ill indeed, had a lot of nasty symptoms, and was getting very concerned. Two homeopathic remedies and three days later he was feeling so much better he returned to work. In homeopathy we are used to such cases. But do you see us saying that all of orthodox medicine should be scrapped? Not often. But then, we homeopaths generally have open minds. I’m sorry that you don’t. Hence the headline for this posting.

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