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STOP HOMEOPATHY COURSES - DO NOT RUIN STUDENTS' FUTURE

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Sir,

Numerous studies conducted around the world have shown homeopathy to be unscientific and ineffective. Thousands of students who complete their Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) degrees from government-approved medical colleges in Kerala are at risk of seeing their career paths diminish as society becomes increasingly aware that homeopathy is unscientific. Hard-working and talented students who score highly on medical entrance examinations join government-approved homeopathy medical colleges under the expectation that these courses have been reviewed and approved by the government of Kerala, and are therefore valid and legitimate. Unfortunately they soon realize that homeopathy is unscientific, and they get stuck with an invalid medical degree for no fault of theirs.

HOMEOPATHY IS UNSCIENTIFIC

Numerous studies conducted by reputed organizations around the world have conclusively proved that homeopathy is unscientific –

• In 2010, the British parliament’s (House of Commons) Science and Technology Select Committee concluded that “the systematic reviews and meta-analyses conclusively demonstrate that homeopathic products perform no better than placebos”. The parliamentary committee says – “The Government should stop allowing the funding of homeopathy … We conclude that placebos should not be routinely prescribed … The funding of homeopathic hospitals—hospitals that specialise in the administration of placebos—should not continue … doctors should not refer patients to homeopaths.” (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/4504.htm)

• In 2015, the Australian government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) concluded that – “there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective. Homeopathy should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious. People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness. People who are considering whether to use homeopathy should first get advice from a registered health practitioner. Those who use homeopathy should tell their health practitioner and should keep taking any prescribed treatments. (NHMRC Statement - Homeopathy)

• In the United States, homeopathy is not recognized as a part of regular medicine, and is treated as a form of alternative medicine. There are no homeopathy medical colleges in the US. Homeopathy medicines are not subject to OTC review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), unlike all regular medicines [Heard that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is presently re-evaluating regulation of homeopathic medicines (1). There is only an excerpt of the "testimony" provided to the FDA by Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH] The US government considers homeopathy to be part of “Complementary or Alternative Medicine” (CAM), which refers to “treatments that are either unapproved or not widely accepted … range from botanicals and animal extracts to biofeedback to visualization techniques, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and prayer.” (http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/testimony/ucm114936.htm)

Adding to this :

1. No university in the US awards degrees in homeopathy.
2. There are a few private institutions that award homeopathy certificates in the US, but none of them are affiliated to a recognized university.
3. US universities conduct approved medical courses to train doctors, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, and many other medical professions, but there is no homeopathy course in any university.
4. In the US there are Ph.D. courses for physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, and many other medical professions, but there is no Ph.D. program for homeopathy
5. In many US states, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are allowed to diagnose and treat patients in certain non-critical conditions, and registered nurses are allowed to perform certain medical functions. But homeopathy doctors are not allowed to perform any medical function that a nurse or nurse practitioner is allowed to perform.
6. The US government’s healthcare program, called Medicare, does not cover homeopathy
7. Private insurance companies (Aetna, Cigna, United) in the US do not cover homeopathy
8. Hospitals in the US employ doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and many other health-related professionals. But no hospital in the US employs homeopathy doctors.

GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT PROMOTE HOMEOPATHY

• Article 51A(h) of the Constitution Of India states that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. Clearly, it is a violation of the constitution for the government of Kerala to conduct courses in homeopathy, a field that has no scientific validity.
• It is improper for the government to provide funding for unscientific medical practices, or permit such unscientific practices to continue. If a patient with critical or life-threatening diseases chose ineffective homeopathy medicines, instead of scientifically valid medicines, the government of Kerala will be responsible for any suffering or harm they may suffer.
• It is not fair or reasonable for the government to use tax-payers' money to fund unscientific practices such as homeopathy, when the same funds could be used to promote regular medical education (MBBS), or to support government hospitals that provide free medical care.
• It hurts our nation’s credibility when the government sets up and runs homeopathy colleges, and awards homeopathy degrees through government-run universities, when advanced nations around the world have discontinued the use of homeopathy.

OUR DEMANDS

We therefore demand that the government of Kerala –

• Stop all homeopathy courses in Kerala
• Convert all homeopathy colleges into regular medical colleges (MBBS)
• Create bridge courses that train existing homeopathy degree holders to be able to practice scientific medicine (MBBS / MD)



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