What alternative health

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The MHRA has vowed to keep its controversial scheme to approve indications for the marketing of homeopathic remedies, despite criticism from a House of Commons report. The Government had consulted the public on proposals to potentially scrap the National Rules Scheme for homeopathic medicines altogether or to merge the system with other regulations to simplify the process of registering homeopathic remedies in England. The results of the consultation, which formed part of the Cabinet Office's ‘Red Tape Challenge' earlier this year, are yet to be published. But the MHRA told Pulse it is not intending to make changes to the scheme. The scheme enables manufacturers to register indications for the treatment of minor conditions if they can supply a dossier of data on quality, safety and efficacy. But since the National Rules Scheme was created in 2006, only one homeopathic treatment has been given an indication – Nelson's Arnicare Arnica 30c pillules – which was able to market itself as providing ‘symptomatic relief of sprains, muscular aches and bruising or swelling after contusions'. The scheme was heavily criticised in the House of Commons health committee's ‘evidence check' report on homeopathy in 2010, which said the same ‘rigorous scrutiny' on safety, quality and efficacy applied by the MHRA for other medicines should apply to homeopathic products…In 2010, the Department of Health decided to reject a call from the House of Commons science and technology committee for a national ban on NHS funding for homeopathic treatment. The DH said it was instead up to local commissioners to decide whether requests should be funded on a ‘case-by-case basis'. Since then, funding for homeopathic treatments has been cut by some English PCTs.” Pulse (14th August 2012)