The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has come out firmly against homeopathic remedies as alternative treatments for serious illnesses, telling its members that they should “practice evidence-based medicine.”
According to The Guardian, Dr. Frank Jones, the President of RACGP, declared that relying on such unproven methods could have harmful effects, and could delay a patient from receiving medical treatment through conventional and tested methods. This delay could result in unnecessary injury, complications, and, if the disease is serious enough, death.
Homeopathy was first created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, and posits that the symptoms of a disease found in healthy people could cure similar symptoms in sick people. To get there, homeopathy dilutes a particular substance in alcohol or water to the extent that the original substance barely or no longer exists. This system of alternative medicine has been proven to be about as effective as a placebo — you feel good immediately afterwards, but it doesn’t do anything to actually cure what’s ailing a sick person or prevent future disease.
Homeopathy has seen a revival in popularity since the 1970s that many link to the New Age movement. Modern day homeopaths prefer this alternative pseudoscience to regular medicine because of an irrational insistence on “natural” goods and fear of “Big Pharma” and the Government.
Some doctors in Australia have pushed back against the decree from RACGP, defending homeopathic remedies. Additionally, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia stated that they are not beholden to the suggestions of the RACGP and that whether or not a pharmacy continues to offer homeopathic remedies will be left up to individual pharmacists.
Because homeopathy is irrational pseudoscience, no amount of logical arguments will convince its most dedicated followers that the practice is not only ineffective but potentially harmful. Hopefully, with enough regulation, conventional and evidence-based medicine will overcome feel-good quackery. The RACGP is doing the right thing, and let’s hope more doctors around the world follow in their footsteps.
Featured image via Flickr