Parlimentary : Science and Technology Commitee Report on Homeopathy
homeopathy report
backgroundkeyfindingscomplete report


In October 2009, the Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament announced an "evidence check" into homeopathy.  A general media release asked for evidence submissions limited to 3,000 words on one of three topics:

  • Government policy on licensing of homeopathic products

  • Government policy on the funding of homeopathy through the NHS

  • The evidence base on homeopathic products and services

The committee received 60 written submissions for the report. The primary oral evidence for the inquiry was conducted in front of two panels on 25th November 2009, with one panel debating government NHS policy and the other debating MHRA regulation.

The House of Commons Science & Technology Committee published its report called ‘Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy', HC 45, during its Fourth Report of Session 2009-10 on February 22nd 2010.

The Committee claimed that it did not want to question homeopathy itself or the motives of homeopathic practitioners, but instead question NHS funding and licensing via the MHRA:


“This inquiry was an examination of the evidence behind government policies on homeopathy, not an inquiry into homeopathy. We do not challenge the intentions of those homeopaths who strive to cure patients, nor do we question that many people feel they have benefited from it. Our task was to determine whether scientific evidence supports government policies that allow the funding and provision of homeopathy through the NHS and the licensing of homeopathic products by the MHRA¹.”


Individuals providing oral evidence for the report:

  • Paul Bennett, Professional Standards Director and Superintendent Pharmacist, Boots
  • Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science
  • Dr Ben Goldacre, Journalist and active anti-homeopathy campaigner
  • Professor Jayne Lawrence, Chief Scientific Adviser, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
  • Robert Wilson, Chairman, British Association of Homeopathic Manufacturers
  • Professor Edzard Ernst, Director, Complementary Medicine Group, Peninsula Medical School
  • Dr Peter Fisher, Director of Research, Royal London Homeopathic Hospital
  • Dr Robert Mathie, Research Development Adviser, British Homeopathic Association
  • Dr James Thallon, Medical Director, NHS West Kent
  • Professor David Harper CBE, Director General, Health Improvement and Protection, and Chief Scientist, Department of Health
  • Mr Mike O'Brien QC, MP, Minister for Health Services, Department of Health
  • Professor Kent Woods, Chief Executive, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Science & Technology Committee MPs 2009-2010:

  • Mr Phil Willis (Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
  • Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour, City of Durham)
  • Mr Tim Boswell (Conservative, Daventry)
  • Mr Ian Cawsey (Labour, Brigg & Goole)
  • Mrs Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire)
  • Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)
  • Dr Brian Iddon (Labour, Bolton South East)
  • Mr Gordon Marsden (Labour, Blackpool South)

Science and Technology Committee ‘Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy' HC 45, during its Fourth Report of Session 2009-10; Section 1 Introduction


  • Dr Doug Naysmith (Labour, Bristol North West)
  • Dr Bob Spink (Independent, Castle Point)
  • Ian Stewart (Labour, Eccles)
  • Graham Stringer (Labour, Manchester, Blackley)
  • Dr Desmond Turner (Labour, Brighton Kemptown)
  • Mr Rob Wilson (Conservative, Reading East)


The MPs present at the first Evidence meeting on Wednesday 25th November 2009 were:


  • Mr Phil Willis
  • Mr Tim Boswell
  • Dr Evan Harris
  • Dr Brian Iddon
  • Ian Stewart
  • Graham Stringer


The MPs present at the second Evidence meeting on Monday 30th November 2009 were:


  • Mr Phil Willis
  • Dr Evan Harris
  • Dr Brian Iddon
  • Ian Stewart
  • Graham Stringer


The final meeting of the Evidence Check report on the 8th February 2010 was only attended by the follow six out of the fourteen MPs on the Science & Technology Committee:


  • Mr Phil Willis
  • Mr Tim Boswell
  • Mr Ian Cawsey
  • Dr Evan Harris
  • Dr Doug Naysmith
  • Ian Stewart


Out of the whole committee, only three MPs voted in favour of the key findings of the report:


  • Mr Ian Cawsey
  • Dr Evan Harris
  • Dr Doug Naysmith


The full text of the report can be found online here:


¹ Science and Technology Committee ‘Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy' HC 45, during its Fourth Report of Session 2009-10; Section 1 Introduction

A biased hearing

Of notable concern to critics of the report was bias in the choice of witnesses; these included known anti-homeopathy campaigner Ben Goldacre (who has no expertise in homeopathy) and Sense about Science (a campaign group publicly opposed to homeopathy), yet excluded more appropriate witnesses such as an independent research centre of excellence at York University, and the Society of Homeopaths (representing the majority of the UK’s professional homeopaths)

Stakeholders whose representatives were denied the opportunity to give oral evidence included:

Patients who use homeopathy

Professional homeopaths (the majority of practitioners in the UK)

Any of 4 primary care trusts who continue to provide homeopathy services (evidence was heard from the NHS West Kent – the only PCT which has decommissioned homeopathy)

How well was the evidence heard?

Only 3 of the 14 members of the committee attended all hearings (Mr Phil Willis, Dr Evan Harris & Ian Stewart) and of those 3, only 1 of them voted for the report.