The Society has derided the publicity stunt by the so called 'Good Thinking Society' led by Simon Singh in which they attacked public funding for homeopathy. Traipsing around the media studios on Friday morning, Singh was pressing for homeopathy to be added to the NHS blacklist - known formally as Schedule 1 - of drugs that cannot be prescribed by GPs.
It soon became clear that, after this pressure group threatened to take their case to the courts, Ministers had caved in and had decided to conduct a consultation.
Miranda Parsons, Chair of the Society of Homeopaths, was critical of the government’s capitulation. ‘It seems unfortunate the government should cave in to a very small pressure group with opaque funding, that seems to have little respect for the evidence or patient choice. 79% of the population are open to homeopathy and 15% have used it*. Any ’savings’ on homeopathic medicine are relatively small (£110,000) and would be more than eaten up by increasing the demands on the NHS for other more expensive drugs or interventions. People like Mr Singh show no interest in patient choice and have no understanding of the excellent work that medical and professional homeopaths do, day in and day out.'
Soon after the media storm the key partners in 4Homeopathy** began discussing how the sector should react and have swiftly established a fighting fund to lead the fight back on this issue all the way up to and including the consultation in 2016. The Society and others has increased their financial commitment to 4H to help put together a campaign.
Mark Taylor, Chief Executive of the Society commented: ‘ We feel it is important to question what people like Singh always assert are facts, when in fact most of what he says in the media is anecdotal and his personal opinion. We need to demolish his case bit by bit and change perceptions towards homeopathy in the media.
We are all meeting later in the week and the work starts now. The consultation is actually a good opportunity and platform to make our case.’
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*Data from an extensive piece of market research conducted by Mustard in 2015 and commissioned by 4 Homeopathy and Boiron. For a summary of the research see pages 14/15 of the autumn edition of the The Homeopath.
**4Homeopathy is a collaboration of 11 of the UK’s largest homeopathic organisations, including the Society of Homeopaths. Its main objective is to raise awareness of homeopathy through media communication, political lobbying and public engagement.