LONDON – Two new studies conclude that a review which claimed that homeopathy is just a placebo, published in The Lancet, was seriously flawed.
assumptions made about the data. This is not usual scientific practice. If we presume that homeopathy works for some conditions but not others, or change the definition of
a ‘larger trial’, the conclusions change. This indicates a fundamental weakness in theconclusions: they are NOT reliable.’
The background to the ongoing debate is as follows:
Sufficient detail to enable a reconstruction was eventually published and two recently published scientific papers based on such a reconstruction challenge the Lancet review, showing that:
The Lancet review, led by
There are a limited number of homeopathic studies so it is quite possible to interpret these data selectively and unfavorably, which is what appears to have been done in the Lancet paper. If we assume that homeopathy does not work for just one condition (Arnica for post-exercise muscle stiffness), or alter the definition of ‘larger trial’, the results are positive. The comparison with conventional medicine was meaningless: the original 110 trials were matched, but matching was lost after they were reduced to 8 and 6. But the quality of homeopathic trials was better thanconventional trials.
This reconstruction casts serious doubts on the review, showing that it was based ona series of hidden judgments unfavorable to homeopathy. An open assessment of the current evidence suggests that homeopathy is probably effective for a number of conditions including allergies, upper respiratory tract infections and ‘flu, but moreesearch is desperately needed.