Homeopathy 2017; 106(02): 67-68
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2017.04.002
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2017

No smoke without fire

Peter Fisher
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Publication History

Publication Date:
28 December 2017 (online)

This issue of Homeopathy highlights the worldwide distribution and steady spread of homeopathy. Clare Relton and colleagues from the University of Sheffield report their systematic review of the use of homeopathy by the general population.[ 1 ] They found a total of 36 surveys to which they applied rigorous quality assessment criteria. They divided them according to the type of use of homeopathy, into three categories: treatment by a practitioner, all use of homeopathy and undefined use of homeopathy where it was not clear whether the estimate referred to treatment by a practitioner or over-the-counter purchase. They identified surveys covering 11 different countries. The overall median worldwide annual rate of use of homeopathy purchased over the counter was 3.9% of the population with 1.5% consulting a practitioner per year. The highest use was in Switzerland, where homeopathy is included in mandatory health insurance.

Ironically no data was included from two of the highest use countries: India and France. There appears to be no reliable data for India, but high-quality data is available from the French national insurance database. This was excluded from this systematic review for technical reasons, but it showed relatively high use with 10.2% of the general population and 18% of children aged 0–4 years using homeopathy annually. This would make the French the highest users of homeopathy in Europe; the two Swiss surveys estimated use at 6.4% and 8.2%.