What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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"The way in which lobby groups and powerful people can influence government has come to light after an article on homeopathy on the public information website NHS Choices was stripped of all evidence questioning its effectiveness as a result of intervention by a charity set up by the Prince of Wales...evidence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by David Colquhoun, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at University College London and a fellow of the Royal Society, indicates that the health department can edit the content if it contradicts its own policies, even if that content is based on evidence. Emails obtained from NHS Choices by Colquhoun show that even before the article on homeopathy was written the department invited the writer to a meeting with the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council to discuss the content "so we could start to piece this particular jigsaw together"...After the meeting, a representative of the Foundation wrote to the health department saying that the proposed content was "a bit horrifying" and "anti-complementary medicine"...David Mattin, who was the editor of the homeopathy article and who has now left NHS Choices, said in an email to Colquhoun, "My strong impression was of DH [Department of Health] civil servants who lacked the courage and, frankly, the energy to stand up to the criticism from special interest groups that they anticipated would arise because of the article; and that did indeed arise when a draft of the article and other draft content on complementary and alternative medicines fell into the hands of the Prince's Foundation and other CAM [complementary and alternative medicines] groups". He added, "They [the department] seemed to have no interest in making an appraisal of the evidence on homeopathy themselves to see if what we were saying was actually true or not.  "The whole episode is an insight into the way special interest groups can influence the workings of government and the public sector, simply by making a lot of noise and having a few powerful friends"."  Ingrid Torjesen, British Medical Journal (18th February 2013) [Full text pdf]