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NHS spends just £92,000 a year on homeopathic prescriptions—but may still ban them
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) spends just £92,000 a year on prescriptions for homeopathic remedies. Despite this very low amount—when sceptics had claimed that the therapy costs the taxpayer millions of pounds—the remedies may soon be withdrawn on the NHS.

The NHS Clinical Commissioners are recommending that doctors should stop prescribing homeopathic remedies because there was no "robust evidence" that they are effective.

The commissioners revealed, however, that the remedies cost the NHS just £92,412 a year—according to figures collated by the NHS itself—and that they do help people, but only because of the 'placebo effect', where any benefit is entirely in the mind of the patient.

It's one of a number of therapies and drugs the commissioners want the NHS to stop offering. Others include the supplements chondroitin and glucosamine, which cost the NHS £444,535 as therapies for osteoarthritis, herbal remedies (£100,009), and omega-3 fatty acids (£6.3m) because they don't help prevent a second heart attack, the commissioners claim.

The commissioners' recommendations are included in the consultative paper, Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: A consultation on guidance for CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups). People must respond to the recommendations by October 21st.

Blocking prescriptions for homeopathic and herbal remedies could be a false economy, says Mani Norland of the School of Homeopathy, a training facility. "For thousands of patients there is no alternative to herbal and homeopathic medicines. These patients will remain on the NHS and will end up costing the NHS hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more with conventional prescriptions," he said. Comments on the paper's recommendations can be left here: www.engage.england.nhs.uk and you can sign a Parliamentary petition to safeguard homeopathy and herbal medicine here: Parliamentary petition


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