The case of Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century

The case of Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century


Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century (HMC21) is a charity promoting the use of homeopathy. In 2010 it published in a magazine supplement aimed at healthcare professionals that called for increased NHS spending on homeopathy. Homeopathy is already available in the NHS.

The usual “sceptic” mass-complainants with their own agenda reported the advert to the ASA.

HMC21 argued its case over the following three years <<previously said 2-3 years>>, pointing out that the ASA was basing its arguments on discredited evidence while discounting the evidence submitted by HMC21.

Over this period HMC21 went through an appeal and formal complaint process and ASA finally issued an adjudication in July 2013, upholding 7 of 12 parts of the complaint.

HMC21 accuses the ASA of:

  • Refusing to read the evidence
  • Misrepresenting and censoring the evidence
  • Changing their arguments and even rewriting a challenge to justify their arguments
  • Using unscientific and inconsistent arguments
  • Using unscientific or unreferenced evidence
  • Acting beyond their competence

The ASA says that it consulted an “expert” to review the scientific evidence. It also argues that only randomised, controlled clinical trials are good evidence of efficacy. However, the effectiveness of most treatments in daily medical practice are judged by patient-reported outcome measures and not by the results of a clinical trial. Furthermore, all medication that has in the past been withdrawn or found to be dangerous and/or ineffective has previously undergone a clinical trial (normally financed by the manufacturer).

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