Clinical Efficacy of Homeopathy
This LMHI Research Working Group report has been requested by the LMHI's National Vice-President for Belgium, Dr. Léon Scheepers. He asked for scientific advice about an official report published by the Belgian Federal Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE - Centre fédéral d'expertise des soins de santé) on 24 May 2011 as KCE report 154B, Homeopathy: State of affairs in Belgium.
The Begian homeopathic association Unio Homeopathica Belgica expresses some doubts about the scientific relevancy of certain parts of the KCE report, especially the part evaluating clinical efficacy concluding that "no convincing proof of efficacy exists for any condition for which a systematic review was available".
The RWG agreed to scrutinize and comment on this report using the normal scientific perspective for evaluation of efficacy in medicine.
About the clinical efficacy of homeopathy the RWG concludes that:
- KCE's chosen methodology can be strongly questioned regarding a global EBM evaluation procedure.
- Very serious errors are identified regarding the application of the inclusion and exclusion procedure.
- Key message of KCE about clinical efficacy is not appropriate and would be more appropriately stated: "Even considering only the highest level of evidence, there is some proof of efficacy of homeopathic medicines for several diagnoses (page 8). Confirmation of these findings is needed. Pooling all available literature, from all levels of evidence, is recommended for further assessment."
Efficacy of homeopathy for many diagnoses has never been investigated. More research is needed and must be supported.
About the missing parts and wrong statements the RWG concludes that:
- The KCE report contains interesting sociologic surveys but terminology is not adapted to modern homeopathic practice and wording.
- Many missing parts lower the value of the recommendations of the KCE about homeopathic practice, safety and reimbursement of homeopathic practice and medicines.
- The KCE statement about efficacy of homeopathy is also questionable considering the absence of an evaluation of homeopathic veterinary practice, agro-homeopathy and fundamental research in homeopathy.