Exclusive: Homeopathy prescribing ban ‘long overdue’, RPS says


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By Léa Legraien
Reporter

07 Jun 2018

The homeopathy prescribing ban is ‘long overdue’, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

The RPS’s English board chair Sandra Gidley welcomed the High Court’s rejection of a legal challenge brought by the British Homeopathic Association (BHA) to overturn plans for the NHS to no longer routinely fund homeopathy.

Reacting to the High Court’s decision, the BHA said that patients who ‘depended’ on homeopathy would be the ‘real losers’ of the outcome of the case.

 

‘Long overdue’

 

Ms Gidley told The Pharmacist: ‘Stopping NHS funding of homeopathy, which has no scientific evidence of effectiveness, was long overdue and so I’m pleased that the original decision has been upheld.’

Echoing Ms Gidley’s comments, NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens said that there is no ‘robust evidence to support homeopathy, which is at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds’. He also welcomed the Court’s ‘clear cut decision to kick out this costly and spurious legal challenge’.

 

Legal challenge

 

The BHA sought a judicial review after NHS England published a guidance last year to no longer routinely prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, including homeopathy, for which the commissioning body said there is ‘little evidence of clinical effectiveness’.

However, the BHA argued that there were ‘serious flaws’ in the way the public was consulted on the issue.

Researchers from the University of Oxford found that more than 2,700 homeopathy prescriptions were issued by GP practices between December 2016 and May 2017 at a total cost of £36,532.

The Pharmacist reported on 1 June that a Derbyshire pharmacy-led minor ailments scheme covering 132 pharmacies will be scrapped in favour of a county-wide self-care policy.

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