The question of Big Pharma has come up.
Now I am not proposing that the solution to corporatised medicine is to give everyone homoeopathy.
But one pathway to undermining the power of the pharma corporations is
(a) to understand the financial bias that is pushing medics to prescribing expensive patented medicines.
(b) to find out whether promising lines of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicines) are in fact more cost – effective.
I am thinking of
- some herbs (not “herbalism” as a whole entity),
- clinical ecology (=food intolerance, indoor air quality &c),
- acupuncture, and
- certain forms of psychotherapy, (hypnosis for PTSD, Cutting the Ties to deal with toxic relationships),
- food supplements like glucosamine, and
Before the opposition start accusing me of being anti-scientific, I am proposing that these things should be examined scientifically.
All of these lines I incorporated into my practice, and I had low prescribing costs. All of these CAMs have a poor evidence base, because of the economic problem associated with research - you cannot get a patent on a traditional medicine, therefore there is no incentive to spend £loadamoney investigating it.
It is up to the Government, through the MRC, to assess these treatment modalities.
On homoeopathy, the key point, as comedians and scientists never tire of pointing out, is that there is no *material* apart from sugar in the pills. If matter is the only effective agent, H cannot work, therefore it does not work, therefore studies that show it does work are erroneous. QED. Which is a scholastic argument, not a scientific one. Scholasticism argues from authoritative principles, science argues from observation.
As I link on an earlier blog , there is some evidence from physical experiments that ultra high dilutions, if prepared in a certain way, may retain unexpected properties. If this can be established, homoeopathy could be re-examined more objectively, with less examiner bias.
Its a small point, this Homoeopathy debate, and I think Caroline is doing the right thing, especially if she calls for an audit of homoeopathic practice in the NHS.
While on the subject of undermining the influence of Big Pharma, there is the matter of preventive health too. About 1/5th of NHS spending is down to treating ill-health caused by non-green policies – unemployment, poor housing, pollution and poverty. Maybe more if social disintegration were counted. This is in my book.
Now, let’s all get going on the Resistance to the Cuts. http://bit.ly/deApQe