Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy

Evidence Check inquiries

1. Since the Science and Technology Committee was reformed in October 2009, we have been running a novel programme of work that we have called "Evidence Check". The purpose of Evidence Check is to examine how the Government uses evidence to formulate and review its policies. We have focussed on narrow policy areas and asked the Government to answer two questions: (1) what is the policy? and (2) on what evidence is the policy based? In December 2009 we published our first Evidence Check on Early Literacy Interventions.

2. This is the second Evidence Check report. It examines the Government's policies on the provision of homeopathy through the National Health Service (NHS) and the licensing of homeopathic products by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We selected this topic following the Government's responses in September 2009 to questions we asked about the evidence base underpinning several different policies. The Government's response on homeopathy indicated that scientific evidence was not used to formulate the licensing regime operated by the MHRA.[2] We were surprised by this response and decided to broaden the inquiry to include consideration of the evidence base underpinning the Government's policy regarding the funding of homeopathy on the NHS.