Britain’s NHS Spends Millions on Homeopathic Nonsense

Interesting report from the Telegraph that the UK’s new Government Chief Science Advisor Sir Mark Walport attacked homeopathic remedies as the pseudoscience they are,

My view scientifically is absolutely clear: homeopathy is nonsense, it is non-science. . . . My advice to ministers is clear: that there is no science in homeopathy. The most it can have is a placebo effect – it is then a political decision whether they spend money on it or not.

The British Homoeopathic Association estimates that the UK’s National Health System spends 4 million pounds each year on homeopathic treatments. That is, thankfully, a tiny fraction of the NHS budget, which is projected to be 108.9 billion pounds for 2012/2013.

But while it may be a drop in the bucket compared to total spending, it is odd that money is allocated for such well known nonsense at all. As physician and former MP Evan Harris put the case against homeopathy in 2009,

It is fundamentally wrong that a treatment that’s known not to be effective, that’s known not to work in any meaningful way beyond the placebo effect, is being given some form of stamp of approval, even for the modest claims that are made of this product by an organisation that is founded on scientific tests of effectiveness.

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