Homeopathic medicines will escape an NHS prescribing ban even though the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has dismissed the treatments as ‘rubbish’ and a waste of taxpayers money.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has previously voiced his support for the controversial treatments and even asked Dame Sally to commision a review of evidence into their efficacy.
It is estimated that NHS spends around £4 million a year on homeopathic treatments, yet although the health service vowed this week to clamp down on the prescribing of ‘ineffective, unnecessary, inappropriate or unsafe’ treatments, homeopathy was not included.
Sandra Gidley, chairwoman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society , said: “We are surprised that homeopathy, which has no scientific evidence of effectiveness, is not on the list for review.
“We are in agreement with NHS England that products with low or no clinical evidence of effectiveness should be reviewed with urgency.”
Supporters claim that homeopathy can treat everything from depression to hay fever, the theory being that substances that produce the symptoms of an ailment can cure it once they have been watered down many times to reduce their strength. Advocates of the practice claim the water retains a “memory” of the original substance, yet no studies have ever proved that they work.