Despite considerable popularity, homoeopathy is irrelevant to medicine because its effects are not proved and it lacks a credible scientific basis, argues Balaji Ravichandran
The Smallwood Report is finally out. If anything, it will add fuel to the fiery debate surrounding the controversial issue of alternative medicine, especially homoeopathy. For the benefit of those who haven't been following the news lately, Prince Charles—a fervent enthusiast for all things alternative—commissioned a report into the possible benefits of integrating alternative therapies into mainstream medical practice.1 He chose an economist, Christopher Smallwood, to lead the study.
The full report, published in October, looks into the alleged benefits of the big five alternative therapies—acupuncture, herbal medicine, homoeopathy, chiropractice, and osteopathy.2 It seems suspiciously supportive of all these therapies, although it superficially questions the benefits of homoeopathy. This is not surprising—thanks to a leak of a draft version of the report, which was published in the Times,3 and subsequently went on to create a public outcry from a large section of the medical community. Ironically, the Times had also