its continued educational and research efforts for the advancement
of homeopathy, Boiron Laboratories disputes an editorial comment
published in The Lancet's
November 17, 2007 issue on the basis that its author has misinterpreted
results of meta-analyses on homeopathic medicines.1-5
The British medical journal features an editorial by Ben Goldacre
on the "Benefits and Risks of Homeopathy." In his commentary,
Goldacre suggests that the results from five large meta-analyses
indicate that homeopathy produces no statistically significant benefit
However, a thorough review of the studies' research evidence
indicates positive principle conclusions in favor of homeopathy
over placebo as quoted below:
- The Kleijnen et al.1 study states
that "the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not
sufficient to draw any definite conclusions."
- The Boissel et al.2 study reports that "[f]or 17 retained
comparisons, for each method used, the result is a p-value well
below .0001. This means that in at least one test, the null hypothesis
(lack of effect of homeopathy) must be rejected.… The number
of significant results is not likely due to chance alone."
- The Linde et al.3 study concludes that "[t]he results
of the available randomized trials suggest that individualized
homeopathy has an effect over placebo."
- The Cucherat et al.4 study concludes that "[t]here is
evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo."
- The Shang et al.5 study indicates that "21 (19% homeopathic
trials and nine (8%) conventional medicine tests were of higher
quality. In both groups, smaller trials and those of lower quality
showed more beneficial treatment effects than larger and higher-quality
trials. When the analysis was restricted to large trials of higher
quality, the odds ratio was 0.88 (95% CI 0.65-1.19) for homeopathy
(eight trials) and 0.58 (0.39-0.85) for conventional medicine
Additionally, there is a
sixth relevant meta-analysis6 also published in The
Lancet that supports positive results for homeopathy, but
was not mentioned in Goldacre's commentary. The study's authors
concluded that "the results of our meta-analysis are not compatible
with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are
completely due to a placebo effect."
Boiron, world leader in homeopathy, is a $500 million public company
with 3,800 employees in more than 60 countries. The company is best
known for Oscillococcinum, its top-selling flu medicine, and Arnicare,
for sore muscles and bruising. For over 70 years, Boiron has been
committed to funding scientific research and educating the public
and health care professionals on homeopathic medicines. Boiron maintains
the highest manufacturing standards, complying with US Food and
Drug Administration regulations, the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of
the United States, and drug Good Manufacturing Practices.
1. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter
Riet G. Clinical trials of homeopathy. BMJ.
1991; 302: 316-23.
2. Boissel JP, Cucherat M, Haugh M, Gauthier E. Critical literature
review on the effectiveness of homoeopathy: overview of data from
homeopathic medicine trials. Brussels, Belgium: Homoeopathic Medicine
Research Group. Report to the European Commission. 1996; 195-210.
3. Linde K, Melchart D. Randomized controlled trials of individualized
homeopathy: a state-of-the-art review. J
Alter Complement Med. 1998;
4. Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP. Evidence of clinical
efficacy of homeopathy: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Eur
JClin Pharmacol. 2000; 56:
5. Shang A, Huwiler-Müntener K, Nartey L, et al. Are the clinical
effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled
trials of homeopathy and allopathy. The
Lancet. 2005; 366: 726-32.
6. Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez H, et al. Are the clinical effects
of homeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled
trials. The Lancet.
1997; 350: 834-43.