Intended for healthcare professionals


The debate over complementary medicine continues

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 13 May 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1341

This article has a correction. Please see:

Evidence for homoeopathy is lacking

  1. David Ramey, doctor of veterinary medicine (
  1. P O Box 5231, Glendale, CA 91221, USA
  2. Ardgowan Medical Practice, Greenock PA16 8HW
  3. Department of Sociology, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2DE

    EDITOR—Apologists for homoeopathy must continue to overlook a mounting tide of evidence that the remedies are not effective. Indeed, there have been at least 13 reviews and meta-analyses conducted since the mid-1980s on various aspects of homoeopathy.1 2 These reviews have failed to identify a single condition for which the remedies are efficacious and, more recently, have noted that the best studies show no effect. Add to the mix the fact that homoeopathic remedies are at odds with well established principles of physics, chemistry, and pharmacology, and one has ample grounds for sustained scepticism.

    What is of most concern about the article on homoeopathy by Vickers and Zollman is the selective quotation in the discussion.3 The authors noted that “practitioners select a drug that would, if given to a healthy volunteer, cause the presenting symptoms of the patient” but failed to note that blinded studies have shown that such volunteers are unable to distinguish between homoeopathic remedies and water.4 Vickers and Zollman also stated that “there is currently insufficient evidence concerning the relative benefits of the different approaches to treatment” while failing to note that there is no evidence or good reason to believe that there is benefit to any of those approaches. The authors also said that the “notorious Benveniste affair, which involved accusations of fraud and scientific misconduct …

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