The Antagonism continues……………
The emails show the health secretary asked Prof Dame Sally Davies to look at three studies funded by Laboratoires Boiron, the world’s biggest producer of homeopathic products.
When he was appointed health secretary in 2011, medics raised questions over Hunt’s previous comments about the value of homeopathy, which is considered by scientists to be medically ineffective. In a letter to a constituent in 2007, he said homeopathic care was “enormously valued by thousands of people” and suggested it should continue to be offered by England’s health service.
The emails, first reported by BuzzFeed, show Hunt wrote to Davies in December 2013 asking her to review the reports and a letter from his office to a third party said it was “important we do not discount different methods of treatment if they prove to be effective”. However, the chief medical officer replied that it was “difficult to draw useful conclusions” from two of the trials and a third had problems with its scientific method.
Sources close to the health secretary said Hunt had simply been passing on the reports to the chief medical officer after they were given to him by an MP. “He does not express an opinion on homeopathy and he is not an advocate,” one source said. “An MP gave Jeremy these reports and asked him to look into them. Because he does not have an opinion, he passed them on to the chief medical officer and asked her to look into them. He was just the conduit. He expressed the chief medical officer’s opinion when he wrote back to the MP.”
NHS trusts are free to fund homeopathic treatments if they wish, although use of the alternative medicine has been widely discredited. Last month, a study by Australian scientists concluded that homeopathy was no more effective than a placebo.
The draft paper by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council assessed research into the effectiveness of the alternative medicine on 68 health conditions and found was “no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”.
Homeopathy is claimed to “let likes cure like” by using highly diluted forms of the ailment it is treating. “No good-quality, well-designed studies with enough participants for a meaningful result reported either that homeopathy caused greater health improvements than a substance with no effect on the health condition (placebo), or that homeopathy caused health improvements equal to those of another treatment,” the report’s summary said.