for proven conventional care and that any homeopathic remedies desired for use should be taken to a health care provider, who will provide information of any drug interactions and “ensure coordinated and safe care” (NCCIH, 2015). These questions of whether or not homeopathy is safe and has beneficial outcomes have been addressed in the southern hemisphere, as well. As a result of “rigorous examination of the evidence and [use] of internationally accepted methods of assessing the quality and reliability of determining
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4 Christen, Anna 11575342 whether or not a therapy is effective for treating health conditions,” the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia concluded that “there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions” (2015). The NHMRC also recognised that the studies performed did report that homeopathy was effective, but that the quality of those studies was poor: “too few participants, poor design, poor conduct and or reporting to allow reliable conclusions to be drawn on the effectiveness of homeopathy” (2015).People may put their health at risk by choosing homeopathy over treatments “for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness” (NHMRC, 2015). Clearly, homeopathy is not based on science, as it does not seem to be able to produce repeated high quality results in clinical trials and cannot claim to have beneficial outcomes on a larger than small scale. The previously mentioned concerns with homeopathy seriously call into question the ethical issues of this practice. Since homeopathy, so far, has not been able to scientifically prove that its remedies are consistently more effective than placebos, is it an ethical practice? Is it ethical to give a patient a placebo as a substitute for effective medical treatment? According to Scott Gavura, a Canadian pharmacist and writer for Science-Based Medicine, it is “ethically unacceptable” to promote homeopathy in place of a vaccination or in place of treatment for serious health conditions, such as HIV and tuberculosis (2011). Gavura believes that the best approach to avoid risks and promote patient autonomy is to provide adequate information for patients about the “lack of medical ingredients and the demonstrated lack of efficacy, beyond a placebo, in any condition,” should they wish to use homeopathy (Gavura, 2011). Another ethical issue associated with homeopathy is the cost
5 Christen, Anna 11575342 of its remedies. “Homeopathy is not cheap,” says Gavura; “its prices are comparable to conventional products with active ingredients” (2011). The present author can personally vouch for this statement. Previously, with the idea of trying to save money by self-treating with homeopathy, the comparability of cost between homeopathy and conventional products was evident upon entering the local health food store and reading the price tags of homeopathic remedies.
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