An online petition asking the State government to stop admitting students to homoeopathy courses on the ground that the 200-year old system of medical practice is ‘unscientific’ and a counter-initiative by a homoeopathy body alleging a bid to ‘eliminate homoeopathy competition’ in the health-care sector have triggered intense online debate on the question of scientific base or lack of it in the alternative medical system founded by Samuel Hahnemann.
The debate was triggered by an online petition started a few days ago as part of a campaign by a group of science enthusiasts and freethinkers warning students not to choose homoeopathy for their studies. The campaign is timed to coincide with the process of admitting students in professional colleges in the State. A counter-online petition has also been initiated by a homoeopathy organisation alleging that the anti-homoeopathy campaign is based on ‘baseless allegations out of sheer bias.’
Jithin Mohandas, a blogger and sceptic, who launched the online petition to the Education and Health Ministries in the State, said thousands of talented students scoring high marks in the medical entrance examination joined government-approved homoeopathy medical colleges under the expectation that homoeopathy was a scientific health-care system.
Many researches and randomised control tests had found that homoeopathy offered nothing other than placebo effect, he said. The petition cited the British Parliament science and technology select committee’s finding in 2010 and the Australian government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) report to support the campaign against homoeopathy.
The counter-petition launched by Sreevals Menon of the Global Homeopathy Foundation said the campaign against homoeopathy had been started in the wake of the Central government’s starting of a separate Ministry for Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) and the development and funding of the Ayush Department at the State level.
“The petition against homoeopathy is a deliberate attack on the homoeopathy system,” said Shybu Rajan, president of the Institution of Homoeopaths Kerala (IHK).
Alleging that some people involved in the rationalist movement were behind the campaign, he told The Hindu that it was the government’s responsibility to promote further researches on homoeopathy medicines.
Homoeopath Prashobh Kumar, who is member of the Central Council of Homeopathy, alleged some vested interest groups, including pharmaceutical companies, were behind the campaign against homoeopathy. He said there were 197 homoeopathy medical colleges all over the country. Homoeopathy as an alternative health-care system was regulated by the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, he said.
Manoj Komath, biomedical scientist and author of Vilapeshappedunna Aarogyam , a book critical of alternative medicines, said that over 170 double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies had been conducted on the efficacy of homeopathy medicines.
Except two or three, they showed no positive results to prove their efficacy, he said adding that metanalyses of these studies had also repeated the finding.