Homeopathy legal challenge fails

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England

A legal attempt to overturn NHS England’s decision to reduce NHS prescribing of homeopathic products has failed.

The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) had sought a judicial review of NHS England’s guidance to curb prescriptions for 18 treatments it considered to be of low clinical value.

The guidance to clinical commissioning groups, published in November 2017, ended routine prescribing of treatments including homeopathy, antioxidants and other supplements, which NHS England said would save £140m a year.

The BHA claimed that NHS England’s consultation was unfair and that a report on homeopathy used in the consultation was so complicated that it would deter people from responding. The High Court rejected the BHA’s claims in a ruling published on 5 June 2018.

BHA chair, Margaret Wyllie, said: “It appears NHS England can fail to engage with patients properly on removing services and get away with it. That is not good enough, for it is important to remember that the real losers in this case are the patients who are now being refused a treatment on which they have come to depend.”

NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, said: “There is no robust evidence to support homeopathy which is, at best, a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds. So we strongly welcome the High Court’s clear cut decision to kick out this costly and spurious legal challenge.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, June 2018, Vol 300, No 7914;300(7914):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204965

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