Memorandum submitted by Hugh Evans HO 54

 

While looking for another programme on iPlayer, I happened upon the broadcast of your Committee's session of 25 November 2009 on homeopathy, and I hope that I am not too late in submitting some observations as an ordinary member of the public.

 

First let me declare an interest. For a miserable 18 months, my excellent GP and 3 expert hospital consultants tried hard, but failed, to cure my worsening balance problem (caused by an inner-ear condition), and a series of prescribed pharmaceutical drugs either had no effect or made me feel even worse. In desperation, having been eventually told that I "would have to live with it", I turned to a homeopath practitioner (registered by a national body). I knew nothing about this form of medicine.

 

Over the following 5 months, the homeopath worked hard to narrow down the homeopathic profile of my condition, and after monthly consultations, gave me three tablets which I took at two hourly intervals one Friday afternoon. The problem had gone by the Monday. I have been free from all the balance symptoms ever since, and that was 20 years ago.

 

My observations for the Committee are:

 

(a) The Germans and the French are not generally regarded as gullible nations, yet they embrace homeopathy in a very significant way. Their Health Insurance organisations are very supportive of homeopathic medicine, because they see good results at a fraction of the cost of the drugs supplied by pharmaceutical companies. I trust that your Committee is taking evidence from European experts and bodies from outside the UK.

 

(b) Here in the UK, I and many other, including - I dare say - members of the Royal Family, who do not regard ourselves as cranky or gullible, have benefited from homeopathic remedies, sometimes in a highly dramatic way.

(c) Homeopathic remedies are very cheap (eg I paid around 4.50 for my bottle of 60 Arnica pills which I use for bruising etc and this will last for years). In countries such as India, where money is tight for many people, homeopathy flourishes. I hope that the Committee will take evidence from poor countries such as India.

 

(d) In the discussion I saw from your Committee session, I did not hear much from the point of view of the patient. I hope, therefore, that your report will include evidence from patients, be they people who have benefited from homeopathy, been harmed by it, or found it a waste of time.

 

I hope that these observations will be of some interest to you.