Another nail in the coffin of Medicine's own Zombie reveals
Professor Paul Glasziou, a leading academic in evidence based medicine at Bond University, was the chair of a working party by the National Health and Medical Research Council which was tasked with reviewing the evidence of 176 trials of homeopathy to establish if the treatment is valid.
A total of 57 systematic reviews, containing the 176 individual studies, focused on 68 different health conditions - and found there to be no evidence homeopathy was more effective than placebo on any.
Still it persists, not only in the UK but also in the US. And a simple google search about health insurance payments for homeopathy will reveal that the homeopathy industry is very busy writing long winded explanations of how to con your insurance company into covering homeopathy.(Key trick: have your homeopath recommend a Nurse Practitioner which have prescription authority in many states, and who will write you a prescription for homeopathy along with a statement of medical necessity).
Professor Glasziou writes in his BMJ Blog:
One surprise to me was the range of conditions that homeopathy had been evaluated in, including rheumatoid arthritis, radiodermatitis, stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth) due to chemotherapy, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. What subsequently shocked me more was that organizations promote homeopathy for infectious conditions, such as AIDS in Africa or malaria.
One wag posted to the Blog comments:
Prof Glaziou, I've been washing a homeopathy bottle every day for the last month, but the residue just keeps on getting stronger. Any advice?
Everyone who knows my posting history knows my hostility to the "I love Science!... sexually" crowd, the abuse of science into Scientism, scientists declaring they know a lot more than they actually do, all that. This is NOT one of those situations. Homeopathy is sympathetic magic. Period. Science can have nothing to do with it with the possible exception of permitting it as a synonym for placebo when dealing with idiots.
Homeopathy is literally 100% pure water. If there is absolutely any ingredient in it other than dihydrogen monoxide it doesn't count as a homeopathic product, by their own definition of the rules. It is older than knowledge of the atom but it I'm pretty sure that even a ratio of isotopes outside 'normally occurring' would be disallowed.
The idea we have to fund actual research and to publish studies every couple of years announcing the obvious fact that it is merely a fancy word for placebo is a disturbing sign of the notion that our knowledge has so far outstripped our ability to educate the next generation to even a basic understanding of the merest outlines of that knowledge has reached crisis levels.
"Scientist... Sounds a lot like Socialist to me." -- D Trump.
Its a never ending problem of quacks having a lot more money and time than actual scientists.
In a rational system, it would have long ago been declared as fraud, and been ineligible for medical certification or insurance coverage, and people making any health claims for it would have been prosecuted.
But they have a powerful lobby, which descends on any government entity or medical authority that denounces homeopathy, with lawyers and sobbing that nobody wants to take them on. They have been able to get protection written into legislation so they can't be gotten rid of.
There are enough people (even posting in this story) that believe placebos do "work", and we will probably never be able to get rid of it entirely. The truth is the Placebos do NOT work. And people get better over time, simply by believing they are well and stop worrying about things that solve themselves.
And Doctors are perfectly willing to allow that misconception to stand because they are tired of arguing the point and they know they can't fix stupid.
Actually I admit they might need to be able to keep it as a fancy placebo for exactly the 'can't fix stupid' reason you mention. Some people just ain't going to be happy until you give them something. If they have to use a placebo and the patient is ignorant enough to fall for homeopathy there really isn't a safer placebo to use. Problem is if they use that trick they give credibility to it and slightly less ignorant people start believing it since "Doctors prescribe it!"
Well, since water is free essentially free, they can at lease limit the Medicaid/Medicare approved billing rate to the price of an 8 oz bottled water so we don't all have to fund stupid.