A UN report today has condemned the promotion of homeopathic remedies to suffers of AIDS, malaria and TB. This is undoubtedly correct. There is no scientific evidence of the efficacy of these treatments as primary treatments for these conditions, and the claims made for homeopathy's methodology are unverified and illogical.
However, the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water, for this or other alternative therapies. Conventional medicine has achieved much and continues to offer the best hope for the sufferers of many diseases. There is evidence, however, that where conventional medicine has failed, and it does not work for everyone, then these therapies can be useful for some.
Scientists will assure us that this is purely a placebo effect. That may well be the case, but that misses the point. If people do believe in these treatments, as a last resort, than it doesn't actually matter if it is a placebo effect or not. What matters is that some of these people either recover, or have a better quality of life in their remaining time. Too often professionals lose sight of this.
There should be no false claims for the treatments, but as a secondary treatment option, then they certainly do no harm. By their own definition, and the analysis of scientists, they can not. Are they cost effective? In a community treatment setting, then they undoubtedly are. In hospital, that may be questionable. However, when all else has failed, can we deny people the possibility of a treatment that works for some, placebo or not?
Sometimes, in life, we lose sight of the ends, the goal, and concentrate solely on the means. If the means are harmless, and the ends are laudable, then why not?
3 days ago