Alarm as homeopathic treatments are free to make health claims without trials

Lives will be put at risk by a controversial law which allows homeopathic medicines to make unproven scientific claims, leading doctors have warned.

More than 700 medics, scientists and members of the public have signed a statement criticising a new law which they say makes a mockery out of conventional medicine.

The Government's medicines safety watchdog says the change gives patients clearer information. But critics fear that giving legitimacy to pills and potions that are based on 'magic' rather than science will cost lives.

One expert likened the change to categorising Smarties as a medicine, on the basis that chocolate makes you feel better.

Homeopathy, which has won the backing of Prince Charles, claims to prevent diseases such as malaria by using dilute forms of herbs, minerals and other materials that in higher concentrations could produce the symptoms of the condition.

Popular treatments include arnica, a plant-based remedy used to treat cuts and bruises, and malaria nosode, anti-malaria tablets made from African swamp water, rotting plants and mosquito eggs and larvae.

However, a recent study published in the Lancet suggested that the benefits of homeopathy are all in the imagination, with alternative remedies performing no better than dummy pills in clinical trials.

Until recently, homeopathic medicine manufacturers were banned from claiming new products could treat specific ailments.

But regulations introduced last month by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency allow the manufacturers to make such claims, as long as they can prove the remedy is safe.

Source - Daily Mail

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