As the ASA has been asked by the anti-homeopathy Nightingale Collaboration and fellow travellers to attack some factual statements made by the charity Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century in its 2010 New Statesman advert, I have posted the full text of the ad below. A follow-up blog will discuss the ASA response.
Homeopathy has a history of success in chronic illness
• At Bristol Homeopathic Hospital 70.7% of 6,500 patients with chronic conditions
benefited from homeopathic treatment and had reduced need for conventional
• Other clinical outcome studies indicate similar levels of benefit, and more randomised controlled trials are positive than negative. For more see www.britishhomeopathic.org.
• In Cuba an integrated approach to healthcare has led to homeopathy being used to enable 2.3 million people, including the elderly, to be cheaply and effectively protected against endemic Leptospirosis. 
• About 6 million people in the UK choose homeopathy despite the fact that for the vast majority this means that they have to pay for their treatment. 
Homeopathy offers a caring alternative
• The NHS spends £11 billion annually on conventional drugs out of a budget of £100 billion, and this cost keeps rising, as there is an increasing need to treat long-term conditions. 
• Only 0.001% of the NHS drugs budget is spent on homeopathic medicines, but these are mainly used to treat patients with chronic health problems who have not been helped, despite great cost, by conventional means. [5,6]
• The NHS also spends £2 billion annually on treating the adverse side effects of conventional drugs. Homeopathy has no side effects. 
• Even a small increase in spending on homeopathy could produce dramatic benefits, reducing care needs and increasing patient quality of life.
Opposition to homeopathy is based on propaganda
• Homeopathy has a growing evidence base, but according to the British Medical Journal, of the 2,500 most commonly used treatments in the NHS, 51% have unknown effectiveness, and only 11% have been shown to be beneficial.[8,9]
• The leading so-called ‘expert’ and critic of homeopathy, Professor Edzard Ernst, has admitted that he has no qualifications in homeopathy.
• The leading organisation opposing homeopathy, Sense About Science, is funded by pharmaceutical companies and relies on a strategy of propaganda stunts rather than scientific research.[11,12]
• The leading popular book critical of homeopathy (Trick or Treatment?) has been shown to be scientifically unreliable. It was co-authored by Simon Singh (a trustee of Sense About Science) and Professor Ernst.
• The recent Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy was voted for by only three MPs. Of these only one attended the hearings and he has strong links to Sense About Science (Dr Evan Harris).[14,15,16]
A vision for an economic and effective medical future
H:MC21 believes that the NHS should increase the integration of homeopathic practitioners into front-line healthcare whilst monitoring both clinical and cost benefits.
H:MC21 believes that, by sharing clinical experience and skills in this way, homeopathic and conventional practitioners can provide the safest, most economic and most effective service to patients.
H:MC21 believes that this will allow the NHS to confirm the benefits of homeopathy in the real world of clinical practice.
1. D.S. Spence, E.A. Thompson, S.J. Barron, ‘Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study’, JACM, 2005, 11:793-798.
2. G. Bracho et al., ‘Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control’, Homeopathy, 99 (2010),156-66, available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20674839.
3. Professor Kent Woods, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), response to Q211, House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Evidence Check: Homeopathy (2010), p. Ev 70, at
4. Mr Mike O’Brien, Minister for Health Services, Department of Health, response to Q244, Evidence Check, p. Ev 73.
5. O’Brien, response to Q244, Evidence Check, p. Ev 73.
6. Spence et al.
7. Sarah Boseley, ‘Adverse drug reactions cost NHS £2bn’, The Guardian, 3 April 2008,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/apr/03/nhs.drugsandalcohol, accessed 14 November 2008.
8. http://www.britishhomeopathic.org /research/
9. ‘How much do we know?’, BMJ Clinical Evidence at http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/ceweb/about/knowledge.jsp.
10. ‘Interview mit Professor Edzard Ernst, Exeter’, Homöopathische Nachrichten, April 2010, 1-3, translation at http://www.hmc21.org/ #/edzard-ernst/4543212059.
11. Funding information taken from the annual accounts at the Charity Commission.
12. Strategy information from the ‘Memorandum submitted by Sense About Science’ (HO36), Evidence Check, pp. Ev 7-8.
13. William Alderson, Halloween Science (Stoke Ferry: Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, 2009), available at http://www.hmc21.org/#/ halloween-science/4535659799.
14. ‘Formal minutes’, Evidence Check, pp. 48-50.
15. Register of Members’ Interests, available at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10261, accessed 22 May 2010.
16. http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/other/491/, accessed 22 May 2010.
Do not go gently into that good night
20 hours ago