HOMEOPATHY EVIDENCE CHECK 2010

Here we go again. Journal arguer MADGAV writes about “Evidence Check,” the Parliament hearing held last year in the UK, condemning homeopathy:

“As the Science and Technology Committee concluded:

‘In our view, the systematic reviews and meta-analyses conclusively demonstrate that homeopathic products perform no better than placebos.’

“In response to the various submissions from homeopathic organisations they added:

‘We regret that advocates of homeopathy, including in their submissions to our inquiry, choose to rely on, and promulgate, selective approaches to the treatment of the evidence base as this risks confusing or misleading the public, the media and policymakers.’

Okay, that’s definitely a gotcha for the opponents of homeopathy, if it has any creidb ility to it. So let’s take a closer look at it.
Here is the review of the House of Commons report by Earl Baldwin of Bewdsley, of the Upper House , entitled, “Observations on the report Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee,” dated February 2010.

Lord Bewdley writes,

“2.3. The exaggeration by the Committee of Shang’s conclusions is worrying. It is difficult to see how a weakly supported positive effect, for which one explanation (possibly well-founded) is a placebo effect, can be translated into a conclusive demonstration of this effect, with a “devastatingly” negative finding. No such firm claims can be found in Shang, who writes of finding “no strong” evidence, or “little” evidence, and who ends his paper with cautions about methodology and about the difficulty of detecting bias in studies, as well as the role of possible “context effects” in homeopathy.

“2.4. The Committee’s overstatement is not helped by claiming Government support for its interpretation in paragraph 70, based on the Minister’s concession of no “credible” evidence that homeopathy works beyond placebo. If he meant persuasive evidence – and his guarded support for further research [75] supports this – that shows a confusion by the Committee between absence of evidence and evidence of absence. If however he was saying that all evidence was negative, this as Prof. Harper correctly stated [71] runs counter to the
message from most reviews up to and including Shang, which is one of primary studies of insufficient quantity, rigour, size, homogeneity and power to give clear-cut answers.”

In addition, a review of the literature in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education concurs with the Bewdley review. This review says Shang “has been highly criticized for being methodologically flawed on many levels. Of particular concern, the researchers eliminated 102 of 110 homeopathic trials and based their conclusions on only the 8 largest high-quality trials without clearly identifying the criteria by which these trials were selected or the identity of these trials. Odds ratios calculated before the exclusions (on all 110 trials) do not support their ultimate conclusion that homeopathic interventions are no better than placebo.
Google,
Am J Pharm Educ. 2007 February 15; 71(1): 07
Where Does Homeopathy Fit in Pharmacy Practice?
Teela Johnson, HonBSc and Heather Boon, BScPhm, PhD
University of Toronto, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Bewdley, supported by Johnson, raises a serious question about the bias in the House of Commons assessment that can be easily seen in unbiased reviews by truly critical reviewers of homeopathy, such as the pharmacists and Bewdley of the Upper House. Why did the Committee rely on a meta analysis known to be spurious? That’s a huge admission. Is that why Evan Harris, who led the the hatchet job, lost his seat in Parliament?
What I, John Benneth, am presenting here is leading to a criminal indictment of Harris, Goldacre, Ernst and a host of others, to be presented in my next blog.
Read on. It gets worse for the homeopathy haters. Bewdley goes on to say,

“5.2. It is not easy to see why a journalist doctor (Ben Goldacre) was invited to appear in preference to some other non-representative contributors to the inquiry. The written submission by Dr. Goldacre [Ev. 8] was notably short on supporting evidence, but contained unqualified statements on the ineffectiveness of homeopathy, forcefully expressed (“extreme quackery” was mentioned). By contrast, the submission by the Complementary Medicine Research Group from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York presented a wellargued summary with 68 references [Ev. 143]. In this appears the statement

“To date there are eight systematic reviews that provide evidence that the effects of homeopathy are beyond placebo when used as a treatment for [five childhood conditions]”. This claim from a mainstream academic centre, rated joint first nationally for health services research in the latest Research Assessment Exercise, stands in stark contradiction to Prof. Ernst’s referenced claims, noted above, and to Dr. Goldacre’s unreferenced statements. It would have been illuminating if the Committee had probed the Group about this, face to face as a witness, and attempted some resolution before agreeing in unequivocal terms with the two witnesses who were invited to appear and were quoted favourably.
“ The Committee criticised the supporters of homeopathy for their ‘selective approaches’ to evidence [73]. They could fairly be accused of the same.
Unfortunately they did not (presumably) have the scope to solicit the views of Dr. Linde from Germany, which would have differed from those of Prof. Ernst with regard to the evidence.”

Wow! This guy Bewdley paints the anti-homeopathy clowns out to be a pack of sleazy scheming liars.
Of the evidence the Committee reviewed, Bewdsley says in 7.1,

“The Committee however has been less than rigorous in its approach to this evidence. Its choice of witnesses favoured a medical media opponent of homeopathy over a research centre of excellence. It was unwise to rely heavily on the interpretations of one professor of CAM (Edzard Ernst), some of whose statements are unsound or in conflict with other statements of his, and who is not without his critics in the worlds of research and academia whose views were given less prominence. The 2005 review by Shang et al has been inaccurately represented as ruling out specific effects of homeopathy, in a summary statement by the Committee that goes beyond present evidence.

“The Committee’s own statements show confusion between unconvincing evidence of a specific effect and disproof of it. The true risk profile of homeopathy, compared with conventional treatment, was not considered.

“7.2. These limitations make the Committee’s report an unreliable source of evidence about homeopathy. The jury must still be regarded as out on its efficacy and risk/ benefit ratio. Whether more research should be done, and of what kind, is another question. But there can be no ethical objection to it since the principal questions.”
You guys are getting fined billions for the poison you’re peddling,, and you’re busy trying to make some other form of legal medicine look bad? What’s wrong with you? Are they paying you to post the crap you’re writing or are you just naturally stupid?
Madgav, why are you doing this? This is a serious matter. If you really believe in what you’re digging up and writing about, then why aren’t you using your real name in presenting it?
Is “Madgav” what he appears to be, a shill for allopathy?
The oppostion to homeopathy is not about belief. It’s about getting paid.
If “Madgav” is not as stupid as he’s making him or herself out to be, then how does he reconcile these two groups, one a recognized legal doctrine supported by tradition and law, and the other representing opposing interests that rely solely on known fabrications? Real medicine vs. the Evil Empire of racketeers, merchants of death.
Answer in the next blog . .
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