Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Edzard Ernst blames rise in measles on increased popularity of complementary and alternative therapies

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 22 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5263

Rapid Response:

Re: Edzard Ernst blames rise in measles on increased popularity of complementary and alternative therapies

On behalf of the many thousands of patients in the United Kingdom and indeed the many millions of patients worldwide, I would like to express my disappointment and concern that the BMJ has once again given Edzard Ernst space and tacit permission to decry Homeopathy, CAMS in general and now to add to his litany of anti-patient propaganda, his assertion that patients demanding proof of the safety of vaccines are contributing to various outbreaks of measles. It is time to stop ridiculing and discriminating against patients who have benefitted from using CAMS for many decades and who have personal experience of vaccine damage.

In so doing you are promoting the very health inequalities the NHS vows to eradicate. I am fortunate to have lived in South Africa where Homeopathy is on an equal footing to conventional medicine; where patient opinion is taken seriously and health choice discrimination is unheard of.

I would hope that the BMJ would strongly endorse all patients’ Rights to re-assert their Legal, Democratic and Constitutional Right to self determination of medical treatment on the NHS. Giving credence to Edzard Ernst’s unverified opinion encourages discrimination against not only practitioners, but against patients. It results in patients being robbed of the Rights afforded under the NHS Constitution, The Human Rights Act and The Equality Act.

Every UK citizen is guaranteed access to Informed Consent regarding NHS services. Nowhere in the Constitution does it suggest that patients are subject only to GP preference. The Montgomery Judgement made clear that as equal decision makers in matters pertaining to their health, patients are to be advised and informed by their doctors, not bullied and brow beaten in to submission. The judgement in the Montgomery case affirmed that the days of the idea of the paternalistic doctor who tells their patient what to do, even if this was thought to be in the patient’s best interests, is no longer tenable. Lady Hale stated in that ruling “it is not possible to consider a particular medical procedure in isolation from its alternatives. Most decisions about medical care are not simple yes/no answers. There are choices to be made, arguments for and against each of the options to be considered, and sufficient information must be given so that this can be done”.

I do not consent to being treated as an intellectual inferior, nor to having my opinion disregarded by those who have chosen to maintain a closed mindset to patient input. Parents are right to be worried about the possible outcome of measles vaccinations. They are just as capable of understanding articles such as “Measles Inclusion-Body Encephalitis Caused by the Vaccine Strain of Measles” Virusfile:///C:/Users/User/Documents/Measles%20caused%20by%20Vaccine%20-%20Oxford%20Study.pdf

In 2012, the Cochrane Collaborative examined 57 studies and clinical trials involving approximately 14.7 million children who had received the MMR vaccine. they reported that: “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate.”
To suggest that Homeopathy is a “bonkers and ineffective” and that those patients who benefit from it are the victims of charlatans, or present a danger to others, is insulting to our collective intelligence and demeaning to our collective experience. It suggests that we are unable to discern whether or not symptoms have been alleviated and healing has taken place. It further suggests that we, as patients, are incapable of determining where vaccine damage has occurred.

The Homeopathic process is clearly not understood by many, but until such time as Humanity can proclaim that all science is known, all Universal Knowledge understood, it is arrogant in the extreme to claim that patients heal as a result of the “placebo” effect. To date more than three thousand studies worldwide have failed to accurately map, explain the process, or reach consensus on a process which yields the astonishing successes attributed to “placebo”.
The essence and mechanics of “Consciousness” remain as elusive as ever. Condemning anything that is as yet beyond scientific explanation, is reminiscent of the Flat Earthers of the Dark Ages.

I would remind Ernst that apples fell from trees aeons before Newton explained gravity.

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 September 2019
Karyse Day
Informed Patient