The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently completed a review of the evidence for homeopathy’s effectiveness and, after analysing systematic reviews of clinical trials, concluded there was “no reliable evidence for homeopathy and that it cannot demonstrate efficacy.”
To judge the efficacy, and hence the value, of homeopathy on the basis of randomised controlled trials misses the point. Such trials are the gold standard for conventional drugs because they test a medication’s effect across a population, eliminating placebo effects and other forms of perception bias.
But – and here’s the crux – homeopathic medicines are not drugs and homeopathy involves much more than the use of a particular therapy. People don’t visit a homeopath wanting a drug, in fact they often quite deliberately don’t want one; they want individualised treatment.
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