Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters What to do about CAM?

How much of orthodox medicine is evidence based?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 08 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:951
  1. John S Garrow, vice chairman, HealthWatch
  1. The Dial House, Rickmansworth WD3 7DQ
  1. johngarrow{at}

    Scientific heavyweights deplore the NHS money wasted on unproved and disproved treatments used by practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM),1 2 but Lewith, a CAM proponent [see previous letter], is cited elsewhere as saying that the BMJ reckons that 50% of the treatments used in general practice aren't proved, and 5% are pretty harmful but still being used.3

    His data were taken from the BMJ Clinical Evidence website (, viewed 6 May 2007). A pie chart indicates that, of about 2500 treatments supported by good evidence, only 15% of treatments were rated as beneficial, 22% as likely to be beneficial, 7% part …

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