Homeopathy Debate Rages in Britain

December 07, 2007 04:11 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Britain’s top health adviser rails against the U.K. health service for providing homeopathic treatments of doubtful effectiveness—many U.S. insurers also support this alternative medicine.

30-Second Summary

Homeopathy is based on the idea that an illness can be treated by giving patients minute quantities of a substance capable of producing the symptoms of that illness.

It is a controversial technique. One particular cause of skepticism is that homeopathic remedies contain such small amounts of their ingredients that they fall outside of FDA regulations. Consequently there are no legal requirements that homeopathic medicines are scientifically tested.

In Britain, the state-run National Health Service provides homeopathic treatments, a fact that has riled critics such as Sir David King, the science adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. According to Britain’s Daily Mail, King recently told parliamentarians, “There is not one jot of evidence supporting the notion that homeopathic medicines are of any assistance whatsoever.”

King sparked a debate in the U.K. media, one which U.S. citizens may want to take note of. A growing number of American insurance companies pay for homeopathic treatments, the cost of which is covered by the members’ health care premiums.

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