The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

World Health Organization Slams Homeopathy

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 25, 2009

In a PR win for medical science, the World Health Organization recently slammed the alt-med pseudoscience of homeopathy!  The main problem is, that when you get down to it, homeopathy is indistinguishable from magic. And the WHO knows this: in a scathing critique, the WHO stated, among other things…

Dr Mario Raviglione, director of the Stop TB department at the WHO, said: “Our evidence-based WHO TB treatment/management guidelines, as well as the International Standards of Tuberculosis Care do not recommend use of homeopathy.”

This is just another poorly wrapped attempt to discredit homeopathy
Paula Ross, Society of Homeopaths

The doctors had also complained that homeopathy was being promoted as a treatment for diarrhoea in children.

But a spokesman for the WHO department of child and adolescent health and development said: “We have found no evidence to date that homeopathy would bring any benefit.

“Homeopathy does not focus on the treatment and prevention of dehydration – in total contradiction with the scientific basis and our recommendations for the management of diarrhoea.”

Dr Nick Beeching, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said: “Infections such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis all have a high mortality rate but can usually be controlled or cured by a variety of proven treatments, for which there is ample experience and scientific trial data.

“There is no objective evidence that homeopathy has any effect on these infections, and I think it is irresponsible for a healthcare worker to promote the use of homeopathy in place of proven treatment for any life-threatening illness.”

Notice the interesting response by the homeopaths…

Dr Sara Eames, president of the faculty, said people should not be deprived of effective conventional medicines for serious disease.

But she added: “Millions die each year as those affected have no access to these drugs.

“It therefore seems reasonable to consider what beneficial role homeopathy could play. What is needed is further research and investment into homeopathy.”

So they simultaneously claim they are being inappropriately smeared by the medical community (more of the “Big Pharma/Big Medicine” conspiracy nonsense) for providing an “effective conventional medicine”, yet they state that further research & investment is necessary.  But doesn’t that seem like a contradiction?  How can you claim that homeopathy is “effective” yet then state that the medical community should consider it by doing “further research”?  If the treatment had already been shown by the medical community to be effective, then further research should not be necessary – but the problem is that the only people who show the “effectiveness” of homeopathy are, you guessed it, other homeopaths.

Far be it from me, a mere non-homeopath (i.e. someone who relies on real science-based medicine), to criticize the homeopathic quacks, but that sort of loose reasoning doesn’t jibe in my book.  Hats off to the WHO for calling these quacks on their woo! 😀

2 Responses to “World Health Organization Slams Homeopathy”

  1. iron said

    Homeopathy is very useful for under developed & developing country for cost-effective treatment. They are depended on homeopathy system for their beneficiary. Can we request to WHO to avoid any bias study on this system? If the WHO give a opportunity to use modern medical technology to the homeopath then Homeopathy system will be more popular for everyone & health system will be benefited.

    • mattusmaximus said

      You know what homeopathy is, don’t you? It’s essentially administering water – that’s because supposedly homeopathic solutions are so heavily diluted that there is essentially ZERO active ingredients left in them. So basically when a homeopath administers a “cure”, they are administering nothing – except wishful thinking.

      This reminds me of a joke: a guy gets arrested for walking down a public street in the nude. When he’s being put into the police car, he complains to the cop, “But I was wearing my homeopathic pants, officer!” 🙂

      And, with all due respect, I think I’ll take the scientific expertise of the WHO over homeopaths who attempt to circumvent the scientific method at every opportunity.

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