Substitute “accreditation” where this article reads “homeopathy.”
Pathology leaders: understand the connection between the romantic fictions of alternative medicine and accreditation, and why unvalidated laboratory accreditation is unethical.
The discipline – which has won the backing of Prince Charles – claims to prevent and treat diseases by using dilute forms of materials that in higher concentrations could produce the symptoms of the condition.
A typical remedy could have one part of an ingredient to one trillion, trillion parts of water. Although scientists argue the potions are so dilute they are unlikely to contain any of the original substance, homeopaths claim the water retains a ‘memory’ of the active ingredient, which it passes to the body to help fight the illness.Writing in the Society of Biology’s magazine, The Biologist, he said: ‘How would this difference explain positive health benefits? The water in my kitchen sink also differs from pure water after the washing up but this does not mean it is good for my health.’
Professor Ernst, a former homeopath who researched complementary medicine at Exeter University until last year, said the treatments could be dangerous if people chose them over conventional medicines with proven benefits.Support: In the past Prince Charles has backed the disciplines of homeopathy, which has now been slammed by an expert in the subject.
However, the professor saved his most scathing criticism for the Government. He said if a homeopath doesn’t tell a patient that the treatment is worthless, he is not telling the truth. Modern medical ethics state that patients must be fully informed and telling lies to patients is not acceptable.
Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society of Biology, said: ‘The UK spends literally billions of pounds every year ensuring that the new and existing conventional medicines we take are effective, safe and fit for purpose.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘We believe in patients being able to make informed choices about their treatment, and in a clinician being able to prescribe the treatment they feel most appropriate in particular circumstances, which may include complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy.’