, , , UK Moves to Cripple Homeopathy & Eliminate non-Allopathic Homeopaths | HOMEOTODAY

Homeopaths are to be sidelined as the UK moves to limit availability of homeopathic medicines. This is a call to action to protect access to homeopathy!

by Heidi Stevenson

5 February 2011

At its inception shortly after World War II, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) promised that homeopathy would be available. Now, the NHS is making a lie of its promise as it does an end-run around the alternative medicine, clearly intending not only to eliminate it from the NHS, but also from the UK.

Of course, you will never hear them admit it. However, careful reading of their document, Review of Medicines Act 1968: Informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR regime and homeopathy, reveals that their goal is to eliminate most applications of homeopathy and allow its application only by allopathic practitioners.

This is a call to action for everyone who values homeopathic treatment in the UK!

Document Summary

In July 2010, a major attack was made on homeopathy by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. The government held that they would not, at that time, limit access to homeopathic remedies. That development was cheered by homeopaths and their patients. However, less well known was the decision to readdress the issue through other means, specifically the Review of Medicines Act 1968, which will happen shortly after 18 February 2001—less than two weeks away.

Careful reading of that document leaves little room to doubt that homeopathic remedies will be squeezed and their use will be limited to a small number of off-the-shelf products or by prescription from allopathic doctors—and those doctors will be required to consider all possible allopathic treatments first, before prescribing homeopathic remedies.

The document does not specifically state that professional homeopaths will be unable to practice. However, homeopaths are simply not named among the practitioners identified as able to prescribe the remedies.

Since 1968, homeopathic remedies have been licensed under the product licences of right (PLRs). All medicinal products that were on the market when the Medicines Act was implemented in 1971 were automatically granted PLR status, meaning that buying and selling them was considered a right. Allopathic drugs were reviewed by the 1990s and granted a full product license or lost their PLR. Homeopathic remedies have not been trialed in the same manner.

The EU's Directive 2001/83/EC did not state that homeopathic remedies had to meet the same regulations. However, the new plan is to toss the PLRs. Three different replacement approaches are reviewed, but only one is treated as an option. The National Rules Scheme (NRS) would allow homeopathic remedies to be indicated only for mild, self-limiting conditions.

The document issued by MHRA is written in a rather disjointed manner, making the effect on professional homeopathy difficult to interpret. However, close examination does clarify where the MHRA is headed.

The MHRA wants to force homeopathic remedies that currently have PLR status into the NRS scheme and proposes that the usual fees be waived until April 2013. This, though, would relegate homeopathic treatment to only mild conditions that are considered self-limiting. This would effectively freeze the development of new remedies. If professional homeopaths are eliminated, it would also mean that access to homeopathic remedies for serious conditions would disappear—and this appears to be the ultimate goal of the MHRA.

A significant amount of space is taken to discuss the implications to anthroposophic practitioners, with a focus on the requirement that homeopathic dosing be only oral or external, which eliminates the injection method often prescribed by anthroposophic medicine. Of particular concern to homeopaths is that the discussion moves the entire issue into the arena of who can disseminate homeopathic remedies. They state that an independent prescriber is "a doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist independent prescriber". That clearly leaves most professional homeopaths out of the picture.

Nonorthodox Practitioners

The section of the MHRA's report entitled "The Non Orthodox Practitioner scheme" is of particular concern. It defines them as holding "a manufacturer's licence authorising mix and assembly of medicinal products". Homeopaths, whom one would think are Nonorthodox Practitioners (NOP), are not what's defined here. As a rule, homeopaths prescribe homeopathic remedies. They do not manufacture them. Yet, the MHRA appears to be defining only those who manufacture homeopathic remedies as practitioners.

This concern is particularly clear where the document states that there are, at most, 220 NOP licensees. The MHRA recommends ending the NOP scheme. In reality, it is a tiny number of manufacturer-homeopaths, whose numbers are apparently significantly lower than the 200 official licenses.

So, the only group of homeopathic practitioners who will even recognized by the MHRA is to be eliminated.

The UK does not license homeopaths. The reality is that their definition of an NOP is that of a person who manufacturers and supplies homeopathic remedies, not of one who prescribes them. Yet, they discuss the issue as if they do prescribe.

Implications for Homeopathy

Where are the references to practicing homeopaths? The MHRA's document has none. With the manner in which new regulations are currently handled in the UK, the absence of authority equates with illegality. That is, if a practice or product is not specifically licensed, then it is deemed illegal. This has become the standard approach with the advent of the European Union.

Therefore, it must be assumed that the practice of homeopathy is under attack. Only certain remedies are legal, based on their prior approval and allowing claims only for mild, self-limiting symptoms. The people who are authorized to provide even these limited remedies to the public are even more limited—and professional homeopaths are not among them.

While this may not lead to immediate persecution of homeopaths, it is difficult to believe that they won't come under attack as a result of this fairly subtle redefinition of what remedies may be manufactured and who is defined as having authority to prescribe them.

Take Action!

Complacency could spell the beginning of the end for serious homeopathy in the UK. It's time to speak out. The MHRA is taking comments. They must arrive by the 18th of February, less than two weeks from now. Be aware that, unless you request otherwise, your comments may be publicly available on the MHRA's website. Responses may be by snail mail or e-mail:

Andrea Farmer
Area 5M
151 Buckingham Palace Road
Let's overwhelm them with comments! Let them know that we do not want any limitations on access to homeopathic remedies. We want them to be freely available to the general public, and we want to continue the existing system that allows homeopaths to self-regulate.

An increasing number of scientific studies has shown that homeopathy is effective and that the effect exists even in the lab. Dangers are absurdly overstated. Ultimately, though, the greatest objection to restrictions on access to homeopathy is the assumption that the government should decide how to handle our health. This is a restriction on our rights that must not be condoned. If we cannot decide for ourselves what means to use in maintaining our health, then we have been reduced to the status of helpless children

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