India needs evidence-based, ethics-driven medicine

Context: The recent push to integrate ‘AYUSH’ medicinal systems into mainstream health care to achieve universal health coverage and ‘decolonize medicine’ is a pluralistic approach that would require every participating system to meet basic safety and efficacy standards. Efficacy and safety of homoeopathy:
  • The Nuremberg Salt Test-The Nuremberg Salt Test noted that “the changes which the homeopaths claimed to observe as an effect of their medicines were the fruit of imagination, self­-deception and preconceived opinion — if not fraud.
  • Low evidence quality-homoeopathic treatments lack clinically significant effects. Reviews that somewhat support homoeopathy’s efficacy also caution over the low evidence quality.
  • Trials not registered- Recently, researchers demonstrated that more than half of the 193 homoeopathic trials in the last two decades were not registered.
Debate over standards used in evidence­ based medicine:
  • Standards set by the global community- RCTs and other methods for assessing evidence are collaboratively set by a global community pushing for evidence-based medicine that includes epidemiologists and several others, beyond clinicians.
  • Not suitable for homoeopathy- Homoeopathy’s supporters argue that the standards commonly used in evidence­ based medicine are not suitable for judging the “holistic effects” of homoeopathy.
  • No conformity on standards used- Homoeopathy advocates have failed to invent valid alternative evidence synthesis frameworks suited for testing its efficacy and safety, which are also acceptable to the critics.
Way Ahead:
  • Evidence based medicines- India’s path to universal health care must be grounded in evidence­ based and ethics­ driven medicine.
  • Reason for rejecting homoeopathy- The argument to reject homoeopathy is not just based on its coloniality, but chie?y on the lack of evidence for efficacy
  • Updation as per scientific discoveries- All medicine practices should update themselves based on growing scientific evidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *