/, Homeopathy/NHS Medicine, Liberty, Money and 2009

NHS Medicine, Liberty, Money and 2009

So what can we say about the year that was? There is a curse that says: ‘May you live in interesting times!’ and for those of us who support whole-person medicine, 2009 was an interesting year indeed.

For the loud and aggressive espousers of the school of fundamentalist naïve realism in medicine, 2009 started well but ended horribly. They got as far as a two day hearing (on NHS Homeopathy) of the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons but things didn’t end that happily for them. While some members of the committee (in particular Evan Harris,  a Liberal Democrat, MP) gave the reasonable and articulate advocates of  NHS homeopathy a hard time, the all important remarks were made in summation by Health Minister Mike O’Brien who said it would be illiberal (sic) and a ‘denial of personal choice’ to deny the British public homeopathic remedies prescribed by NHS homeopathic doctors.

That word, ‘illiberal’ was music to my ears as readers of this blog know I’m a strong supporter of liberal democracy in medicine, where the state should generally trust patients to choose the sort of medically-trained doctors they want to be treated by.

In 2010 my colleague, the Pie Man will remain on red alert to confuse with facts those writers who deliberately allow their readers to assume completely falsely that conventional medicine (unlike homeopathy and CAM) is fully evidence based.

And how about some ‘evidence’ for the use of Tamiflu for swine flu on the NHS? Just look at all the ‘proof’ of it’s effectiveness in swine flu  here.  Hey Evan Harris, Tracey Brown,  Edzard Ernst, Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, Michael Baum, pharmacologist David Colqhoun and the rest of the gang that says that homeopathy is a waste of NHS funds: How about commenting on the evidence base for Tamiflu (esp wrt Swine flu on which a lot of it was allegedly wasted)?  Or is evidence based medicine only a club that you use to bash homeopathy and CAM exclusively? Just compare the £500 spent by the NHS on Tamiflu to the £10 million cost of  homeopathic prescriptions  to the NHS!  Read here about value for money for homeopathy for the British public and compare it to the money spent on Tamiflu alone. If  £500 million spent on Tamiflu has really been wasted, it would be yet another sucker punch for the taxpayer, sad for the government and almost disappointing for the makers of Tamiflu.  No comment my colleauges?  Thought so.

Warm wishes and festive greetings to you all.

By | 2009-12-21T13:06:20+00:00 December 21st, 2009|Current Affairs, Homeopathy|4 Comments

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  1. paul December 21, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Season greetings. Yes it interesting to note the complete lack of any sceptical comments regarding tamiflu. Not a scientific study by any means but I only know of two people who took it. One has been away from work ever since and the other said “what the fxxxing hell have they given me, i feel dreadful”.

    Anyway look forward to your future debate with Mr Lewis and co.
    Best wishes

    • Dr. Kaplan December 21, 2009 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Paul,
      Yes indeed. But of course 500 million pounds allegedly wasted on Tamiflu for swine flu is not ‘news’ whereas 10 million on homeopathic medicines is a travesty worthy of discussing in the House of Commons! There is a limit to how much time I’m prepared to talk ‘seriously’ to people like that on the net although I’ll always accept an invitation to a live debate. As the great man Wilde said: ‘Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.’ Provocative Therapy is my first love these days and I’ll continue to use it to defend homeopathy. Have a good holiday season and thanks for your support.

  2. Samuel December 22, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Brian, A most eloquent sketch of the “elephant in the living room” of the NHS, thanks for that.
    At least we can console ourselves that the £500,000,000 on Tamiflu etc represents a well deserved economic stimulus to Big Pharma, who after all do such a wonderful job of sponsoring some very persistent and strident critics of homeopathy –of course in the name of “evidence based medicine”. It all keeps the anti-CAM meatgrinder turning nicely.
    keep up the good work
    best wishes

    • Dr. Kaplan December 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Samuel,
      It’s interesting that nobody wants to talk about this £500 million whereas the £10 million spent on homeopathy is a terrible waste that could be spent better elsewhere – for example banning NHS homeopathic prescription for a whole year could have paid for 2% of the NHS Tamiflu-for-swine flu bill. Of course this isn’t news. However I would be wary of saying that critics of homeopathy are ‘sponsored’ by Big Pharma without producing evidence. We live in an ‘evidence-based society’ I am told. In the wikipedia entrance of Sense about Science the following appears under Funding:’For the fiscal year ending 5 April 2008, the trust received £145,902 in donations.[51] Disclosed corporate donations comprised £88,000 with pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca donating £35,000.[51] Other contributing pharmaceutical companies include Dupont and Pfizer.[48]’ This looks pretty clear unless all this is made up – which seems unlikely. We must never, ever criticise anybody of being ‘funded by Big Pharma etc.’ unless we can produce evidence. Sometimes this is hard to do – in which case we must hold our fire.

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