The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) has called for a judicial review of what it calls the “fundamentally flawed” process that will prevent homeopathy products being prescribed on the NHS.
It said it is seeking the judicial review because it believes the consultation was carried out without input from homeopathy experts or practitioners, and it has launched a crowdfunding webpage and a parliamentary petition to support its claim.
NHS England published national guidance on a range of medicines that should no longer be routinely prescribed in primary care in November. It advised Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that prescribers in primary care should not initiate homeopathic items for any new patient and should be supported to deprescribe homeopathic items in all patients. The move was part of a package of measures intended to save the NHS £140million a year.
A BHA statement said: “This was not a genuine attempt to engage consultees and did not provide consultees with adequate information on which to provide a considered and informed response.
A letter to NHS England made public this week by BHA said: “The consultation has, among other things, not taken into proper consideration the evidence for homeopathy’s use nor considered the negative impact on patients and the NHS if it is removed from prescribing.
“No information has been provided on the impact of these proposals on patients and costs to the NHS. Given the relatively low cost of homeopathy versus traditional pharmaceutical approaches, it seems poor judgement to propose cuts when the knock on effects would be increasing costs in drug budgets and GP and secondary care services.”
The BHA letter lists a range of effectiveness studies as evidence that prescribing homeopathy could save money for the NHS and reduce adverse drug reactions.
It said it responded to the NHS England consultation at a late stage after awaiting feedback from NHS England on how the consultation would be carried out.