A mind-meltingly stupid homeopathy policy

Martin Robbins in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_03 Jul. 28 17.26 The government has released its eagerly anticipated response to the Science and Technology Committee's Evidence Check on Homeopathy and, incredibly, it's even worse than I thought it would be. The verdict is “business as usual”, with the main recommendations of the committee ignored in a fog of confusion and double-think.

You get a sense of this confusion very early on, with lines like: “given the geographical, socioeconomic and cultural diversity in England, [policy on homeopathy] involves a whole range of considerations including, but not limited to, efficacy.” I actually have no idea what this means – do medicines work differently in Norfolk from the way they work in Hampshire? The report doesn't elaborate.

As expected, the word “choice” features heavily in the government's response:

There naturally will be an assumption that if the NHS is offering homeopathic treatments then they will be efficacious, whereas the overriding reason for NHS provision is that homeopathy is available to provide patient choice … if regulation was applied to homeopathic medicines as understood in the context of conventional pharmaceutical medicines, these products would have to be withdrawn from the market as medicines. This would constrain consumer choice and, more importantly, risk the introduction of unregulated, poor quality and potentially unsafe products on the market to satisfy consumer demand.”

So we can't regulate these products as medicines because they'd end up being banned, but we'll let them be called medicines anyway? It gives me a headache just trying to think down to the level of the person who wrote this stuff.

More here.