This is reposted from the old IMPROBABLE SCIENCE page
The British Medical Journal (2007, 337, 508 – 509) held a debate on whether or not CAM should be referred for evaluation to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) [see it here]. Two of the comments that followed the debate were as follows
John R King, Consultant Psychiatrist
David Colquhoun (“NICE should not have to evaluate alternative medicine”) makes a better case than Linda Franck et al. Space researchers do not, after all, waste time trying to disprove the beliefs of flat- earthists. Neither would it be helpful for a Nobel prizewinning chemist to stride into a church and denounce the holy water there as nothing more than H2O. There is a very large and ever expanding array of alternative treatments, some more bizarre than others, which could tie up the resources of NICE for an indefinite period. But if people want to believe in them – or in fairies or leprechauns – they should be left in peace to do so. It is no concern of scientific medicine.
David Colquhoun, UCL
Nobody is proposing to ban fairies or leprechauns. It would be both undesirable and impossible.
There does seem to be a case, though, for not providing leprechauns at the tax payers’ expense. And really all leprechauns that are sold to the public should have labels that don’t make false claims for their powers. Unfortunately the MLRA (Medicines and Leprechauns Regulatory Agency) has let us down in the matter of labelling. I suspect infiltration of the Department of Health by little green men
[…] for Clinical Excellence (NICE). If homeopathy and herbalism are not good ways to spend NHS money, why has NICE not said so? The answer to that is simple. NICE has not been asked. It can consider only those questions […]