EU researchers warn of health risks from homeopathy

The topic of homeopathy divides minds. On the one hand, there are advocates who claim that homeopathy is popular with users and is supported by studies. Opponents, on the other hand, emphasize that there is no scientifically valid evidence for the healing method and that the globules of sugar are at most only to have a placebo effect. The critical side now receives support from a working group set up by the Science Council of the European Academies (EASAC).

Violent discussion between supporters and opponents

Homeopathy - cure or humbug? This question has been controversial for a long time and there are numerous myths and facts about globules. The supporters of the healing method founded by Samuel Hahnemann are firmly convinced of the therapeutic success of the extremely diluted active ingredients that are administered via globules, pills or solutions. You speak of a holistic method without side effects, which often helps even when conventional medicine no longer has a solution. Opponents see homeopathy as a matter of belief, for which there is no scientific evidence. The contra side attributes possible successes solely to a placebo effect.

No proof of the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies

Scientists from a working group set up by the Advisory Board of the European Academies (EASAC) are now receiving sharp criticism. In a current statement, this takes a clear position against homeopathy and comes to the conclusion that there is no “scientifically based and reproducible” proof of the effectiveness of the healing method.

According to this, the researchers would recognize that a placebo effect can occur in individual cases. "But in line with previous extensive evaluations, we come to the conclusion that there are no known diseases for which there is robust, reproducible evidence that homeopathy is effective beyond the placebo effect," said the scientists.

No evidence of benefit in veterinary medicine

The researchers even warn of a possible health hazard from homeopathic remedies, for example if other necessary therapies are delayed or even not started at all. There is also a danger that the promotion of homeopathy will undermine public confidence in the nature and value of scientific evidence.

Furthermore, summarize that there is also no strong evidence to support the use of homeopathy in veterinary medicine. Therefore, it is particularly worrying if such products are used for the treatment of livestock, preferably over evidence-based drugs, the message.

For the scientists, one thing is certain: Any claimed efficacy of homeopathic products in clinical use can therefore be explained by the placebo effect or e.g. are attributed to poor study design, coincidences or a selective or missing publication of clinical studies (“publication bias”).

Statement ties in with previous work

As the EASAC explains, the current opinion has been published in order to build on the recent work of the member academies and to strengthen criticism regarding the scientific and health claims for homeopathic products. The analysis and conclusions would therefore be based on the "excellent, scientifically sound assessments" that have already been published by relevant and impartial authorities.

Assumption of costs only with demonstrable effect

Based on the results, the experts are now calling, among other things, for the creation of uniform provisions, according to which the effectiveness, safety and quality of all products for human and veterinary medicine are tested across the EU. In addition, evidence-based, public health systems should only reimburse the costs for homeopathic products and applications if, after rigorous testing, they can be classified as demonstrably effective and safe.

Advertising and marketing of homeopathic products and services must also meet the established standards in terms of correctness and clarity, the scientists claim. (No)

Author and source information

Video: Homeopathy Explained Gentle Healing or Reckless Fraud? (January 2022).