01 December 2005
Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(12): SR27-31 :: ID: 434225
Throughout its over 200-year history, homeopathy has been proven effectivein treating diseases for which conventional medicine has little to offer. However, given its low cost,homeopathy has always represented a serious challenge and a constant threat to the profits of drug companies.Moreover, since drug companies represent the most relevant source of funding for biomedical researchworldwide, they are in a privileged position to finance detractive campaigns against homeopathy by manipulatingthe media as well as academic institutions and the medical establishment. The basic argument againsthomeopathy is that in some controlled clinical trials (CCTs), comparison with conventional treatmentsshows that its effects are not superior to those of placebo. Against this thesis we argue that a) CCTmethodology cannot be applied to homeopathy, b) misconduct and fraud are common in CCTs, c) adverse drugreactions and side effects show that CCT methodology is deeply flawed, d) an accurate testing of homeopathicremedies requires more sophisticated techniques, e) the placebo effect is no more "plausible" than homeopathy,and its real nature is still unexplained, and f) the placebo effect is nevertheless a "cure" and, assuch, worthy of further investigation and analysis. It is concluded that no arguments presently existagainst homeopathy and that the recurrent campaigns against it represent the specific interests of thepharmaceutical industry which, in this way, strives to protect its profits from the "threat" of a safer,more effective, and much less expensive treatment modality.
Keywords: Placebo Effect, Homeopathy, Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic, Scientific Misconduct
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