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British scientists ask WHO to condemn homeopathy for diseases such as HIV

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 1, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICEL AT “THE GUARDIAN”

British scientists have appealed to the World Health Organisation to publicly condemn homeopathy as a treatment for serious diseases, such as HIV, TB and malaria.

The researchers, many of whom have worked in developing countries, called on the WHO to act amid fears that vulnerable patients are dying after turning to homeopathic preparations instead of effective medicines.

The WHO works with national organisations that promote homeopathy and other alternative medicines in their public health programmes.

Homeopathy practitioners have opened clinics throughout Asian and sub-Saharan Africa and offer to treat patients with HIV, malaria, influenza and childhood diarrhoea, none of which have been shown to respond to homeopathy. Many patients are told that conventional drugs work only temporarily and that homeopathic preparations are cheap and effective alternatives with fewer side effects.

“Those of us working with the most rural and impoverished people of the world already struggle to deliver the medical help that is needed. When homeopathy stands in place of effective treatment, lives are lost,” the scientists write in an open letter to the organisation.

Homeopathic medicines are made by repeatedly diluting preparations with water until there is no trace left of the original compound. The overwhelming medical opinion is that homeopathic treatments are no more effective than placebos.

“The WHO’s strategy is very unclear on homeopathy and that is shocking. They are supposed to be articulating evidence-based medicine, but their stance is very wishy-washy,” said Dr Daniella Muallem, a biophysicist at University College London, who signed the letter.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICEL AT “THE GUARDIAN”

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