UK to license 'witches brew', sorry, I mean homoeopathic remediesWhen it comes to buying medicine in a high street pharmacy, it's always been a comfort to know that the product being purchased, actually does what it says it does. I've taken it completely for granted that pharmaceutical companies adopt a very strict regulatory Ronseal approach to their products, i.e... it 'does exactly what it says on the tin' school of medicine - but, it looks like thoughs days are well and truly over.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which licenses all pharmaceuticals in the UK is about to introduce a new regulatory scheme for witches brew, sorry, I meant to say, homoeopathic products. Well... it might as well be described as witches brew, because, manufacturers of homoeopathic products only need to show the MHRA, that the product is safe, and, has been used to treat particular conditions like minor ailments such as colds, coughs and hay fever. What the homoeopathic industry does not have to do under this scheme is to produce any evidence of efficacy from clinical trials, unlike legitimate pharmaceutical companies who have to prove their products are safe and effective.
What I'd like to know is, why is the national regulatory body giving scientific credibility to homoeopathic medicine by 'licensing them', even though it's blatantly obvious that homoeopathic remedies only have a placebo effect? Michael Baum, a cancer surgeon and former professor, argues that: 'this is like licensing a witches' brew as medicine so long as the bat wings are sterile'. A very simular conclusion is drawn over at Harry's Place where the new scheme is roundly condemed as 'yet another cow-towing to irrational superstition', and I agree.
In its defense, the MHRA argued, that their key motivation for the scheme was not about boosting the homeopathic industry, but, about 'protecting consumers and promoting choice' - now, let me see, buzzwords like 'consumers' and 'choice', where have I heard that old chestnut before? It's as if the more I hear the word 'choice' being mentioned, the less real choice I'll actually get, and in this particular case, some lives will be put at risk in the very near future - so, you have been warned, the next time you want to buy something like anti-malaria tablets, to take with you on your nice foreign holiday, you'd better make sure you make the right 'choice', and avoid any homoeopathic remedies - like it was the plague.