At a time where homeopathy is standing on fragile legs and at risk of being kicked out the NHS, now is not the time to make claims that homeopathy can replace vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis, or treat AIDS and cancer. The media is looking to single out and target homeopaths. Although we may disagree, every homeopath represents our entire profession. Professional organizations and councils, it is your responsibility to ensure that your members don't make claims like these. Please remind them.
Homeopaths Offering MMR Alternative Puts Patients At Risk Warn Doctors
Homeopathy uses greatly diluted forms of herbs and minerals to treat patients
Homeopaths are offering alternatives to crucial vaccinations such as MMR, which could leave patients vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases, doctors have warned.
Three alternative practitioners have admitted they gave patients a homeopathic medicine designed to replace the triple Mumps, Measles and Rubella vaccine.
Homeopathy claims to treat disease symptoms by using greatly diluted forms of herbs and minerals, but the three practitioners said they could even prevent illness.
Homeopath Katie Jarvis, who is based in Inverness, said she offered 'homeopathic prophylaxis' to patients who said they were interested, which could be given 'instead of or as well as the vaccination.'
'The alternative that I would offer would be a homeopathic remedy made from diseased tissue, that comes from someone with that disease, and then made into potentised form so that is given in a homeopathic remedy,' she said.
When asked if the remedy she offered gave the same protection as the MMR, she said: 'I'd like to say that they were safer, but I can't prove that.'
It is based on the principle that, 'like cures like' - that an illness can be treated by substances that produce similar symptoms. For example, homeopaths claim onions, which make eyes itchy and tearful, can be used to relieve the symptoms of hay fever.
But scientists point to the fact that the 'cures' are so diluted that they cannot possibly contain even a single molecule of the original substance. Instead they say the pills provide a placebo effect.
The homeopathic industry, worth £40million in the UK, does not dispute this, saying that their remedies retain a 'memory' of the original ingredient. But they are unable to say how this could happen given the laws of physics and chemistry.
Doctors said the practices, which were revealed by a BBC investigation, were 'extremely worrying'.
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the British Medical Association's director of science and ethics, said: 'It could persuade families that their children are safe and protected when they're not. And some of those children will go on to get the illness and could even die.'
The findings emerged after the BBC spoke to the six members of the Homeopathic Medical Association in Scotland, which has 300 members in the UK.
Replacing conventional vaccines with homeopathic alternatives has been condemned by the Faculty of Homeopathy, who said there was no proof the remedies could prevent disease.
Magic or Medicine - Homeopathy and the NHS, is broadcast tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One Scotland.
One homeopath was interviewed on BBC news and claimed that the homeopathic remedy changes the shape of your aura, so that the mosquitos carrying malaria won't come near.