The Swiss report on homeopathy - a case study of research misconduct

Shaw, D.M. (2012) The Swiss report on homeopathy - a case study of research misconduct. Swiss Medical Weekly, 142(w13594), (doi:10.4414/smw.2012.13594)

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Abstract

In 2011 the Swiss government published a report on homeopathy [1]. The report was commissioned following a 2009 referendum in which the Swiss electorate decided that homeopathy and other alternative therapies should be covered by private medical insurance. Before implementing this decision, the government wished to establish whether homeopathy actually works. In February 2012 the report was published in English and was immediately proclaimed by proponents of homeopathy to offer conclusive proof that homeopathy is effective. This paper analyses the report and concludes that it is scientifically, logically and ethically flawed. Specifically, it contains no new evidence and misinterprets studies previously exposed as weak; creates a new standard of evidence designed to make homeopathy appear effective; and attempts to discredit randomised controlled trials as the gold standard of evidence. Most importantly, almost all the authors have conflicts of interest, despite their claim that none exist. If anything, the report proves that homeopaths are willing to distort evidence in order to support their beliefs, and its authors appear to have breached Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences principles governing scientific integrity.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shaw, Dr David
Authors: Shaw, D.M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:Swiss Medical Weekly
ISSN:1424-7860

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