Carlton green wrote:As it happens I know someone who is a qualified and skilled Homeopath, they have been treating people for many years. My friend has audited the effectiveness of the treatment / consultations that they give and encouraged patients to do the same, the results are overwhelmingly positive. Compared to main-stream medicine the costs of Homeopathic treat (ie. an individual course of treatment) is small but it’s effectiveness is better, so it is very cost effective. Typical my friend sees patients with complex and long standing ailments that conventional treatment has failed to help, so rather difficult cases. Patients virtually always benefit from Homeopathic treatment and the bulk are cured - lives are literally turned around, made functional again, for relatively tiny sums of money.
And yet these effects disappear when you study them at population levels. Which is an enormous shame, because if it really were possible to get a tangible public health benefit for pennies then everyone would be queuing up to do it. Self auditing is (quite rightly) scoffed at in any sort of QA exercise because even with the best intentions the track record is it is nowhere near as objective as having disinterested third parties do it.
Carlton green wrote:Medicine is a big business enterprise, very large amounts of money are made by companies and individuals offering drugs and treatment, such people and companies also regard the NHS as a money cow to be milked. In contrast Homeopathy is dirt cheap so commercially it makes sense to discredit it - draw your own conclusions.
Working just behind the front-line in the NHS I know that Big Pharma are not Nice People and they are primarily interested in money. But I also know that lots of clinicians with a very limited supply of money go out of their way to research clinically effective ways of doing stuff that doesn't empty their meagre coffers, and there's no shortage of them that have tried homeopathy and found it wanting. And as well as the clinicians there's the management, who are constantly juggling money because we need more than we have and they need to cost-benefit everything. And yet we don't have a homeopathy department...
I'm not suggesting your pal isn't doing any good because he has a track record of pleased customers, but as the South African government found out when they decided to deal with AIDS on the cheap, side-stepping evil Big Pharma doesn't necessarily scale to the general population and it turns out that their drugs, while quite possibly over-priced, do have an epidemiologically provable track record of saving lies. As I've already noted up-thread, pleased customers who get better isn't as big an advert as you might think, with doctors historically using terrible "medicines" and bleeding patients for centuries managing to make a good living out of their quackery. No shortage of glowing endorsements for all sorts of snake oils in fairly recent times. Look up Hadacol for an interesting example. And remember for auditing purposes that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".