Source: Homeopathic remedies may only be prescribed by a qualified doctor, dentist or midwife under a new law agreed by federal ministers last week, and only by those qualified personnel with a diploma in homeopathy
Sigh. I appreciate the desire to control homeopathy, I really do. It is, pure and simple, a scam, and even by their own admission homeopaths are just selling pure bottled water. But this new law seems to completely miss the point. By restricting homeopathy to medical professionals you only cut out 20% of the market, and if anything you lend credance to their absurd claims. How is an untrained layman meant to discern real medicine from fake medicine when both are being prescribed by a qualified* doctor?
Homeopathic medicines are a real problem in Belgium, being available in many pharmacies. Lydia even accidently bought homeopathic medicine for me once when I had severe ear pain. She was looking for a particular topical corticosteroid ear-drop and the pharmacist said they don't have that one, but she can give an alternative. Lydia was livid when she got home and translated the bottle to read that it was just over-priced water sold as real medicine. As much as I despise the scam artists who profit from homeopathic medicine, I would still let them operate, but I would propose two alternative regulations:
- All medical claims need to be supported by clinical trials audited and approved by the FDA, EMA or NICE. For homeopathic medicines this means that no medical claims can currently be made.
- Homeopathic "medicines" or any medicine not supported by clinical trials should not be permitted to be sold by any medical professional, as this carries an implicit endorsement of medical efficacy.
In other words, while well-meaning, this new law is the exact opposite of what the government should have done.
* "qualified" in the legal sense. In the practical sense, any doctor who prescribes homeopathy is clearly unqualified to prescribe real medicine.