I have made my views on homeopathy clear on many occasions — actually, I don’t see them as ‘views’ but as evidence-based statements. But this has never stopped the homeopathy brigade vehemently disagreeing with me. Not only that, they also claim that I cannot be trusted because I am biased, corrupt, incompetent and dishonest.
Such allegations are untrue, of course, but, in the mind of many consumers, they nevertheless create the impression that there is some sort of a legitimate debate about the value of homeopathy.
To dispel this false impression, I have collected all the ‘official verdicts’ about homeopathy that I could find, regardless of what they tell us. By ‘official verdict’ I mean recent statements from national or international organisations (rather than from single individuals) that:
- are independent
- conducted a thorough assessment of the evidence
- have a reputation of being beyond reproach
I excluded statements from organisations of homeopaths and those with an ideological or commercial interest in homeopathy. I did not exclude any verdict for not confirming my own published views. None of the statements below were developed with my involvement.
Here is the complete list of 12 verdicts that I managed to find.
(If someone does know further statements, please post them in the comments section below):
1. ‘The principles of homeopathy contradict known chemical, physical and biological laws and persuasive scientific trials proving its effectiveness are not available.’
Russian Academy of Sciences
2. ‘Homeopathy should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious. People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness.’
National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia
3. ‘These products are not supported by scientific evidence.’
4 “Homeopathic remedies don’t meet the criteria of evidence based medicine.”
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
5. ‘The incorporation of anthroposophical and homeopathic products in the Swedish directive on medicinal products would run counter to several of the fundamental principles regarding medicinal products and evidence-based medicine.’
Swedish Academy of Sciences
6. ‘We recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their healthcare professional for safe alternatives.’
US Food and Drug Administration
7. ‘There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.’
National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, US
8. ‘There is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.’
National Health Service, UK
9. ‘Homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos, and the principles on which homeopathy is based are scientifically implausible.’
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, UK
10. ‘Homeopathy has not definitively proven its efficacy in any specific indication or clinical situation.’
Ministry of Health, Spain
11. ‘There is a constant increase in the quantity of evidence and the conviction of the scientific community in medicine, that homeopathy should be treated as one of the unscientific methods of so-called “alternative medicine”, which proposes worthless products without scientifically proven efficacy.’
National Medical Council, Poland
12. ‘From a purely clinical perspective, the fact remains that there is no valid empirical proof of the efficacy of homeopathy (evidence-based medicine) beyond the placebo effect.’
Federaal Kenniscentrum voor de Gezondheidszorg, Belgium
So, don’t trust me, I’m only a doctor. But surely you must trust this multitude of judgments made by officials who have no axe to grind and merely aim at informing the public responsibly: homeopathy is neither plausible nor evidence-based.
Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor at the University of Exeter, is the author of Homeopathy: The Undiluted Facts and the awardee of the John Maddox Prize 2015 for standing up for science. He blogs at edzardernst.com.