Natural Foods Merchandiser

Lancet study biased

To the Editor:
The October 2005 issue of NFM reported on a ?meta-analysis? that compared homeopathic clinical trials with a ?similarly matched? group of conventional clinical trials [?Homeopathy suffers bad vibes?]. NFM quoted Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine in England, as saying that this study was well-conducted and ?performed by a group with a high reputation with no ax to grind.?

Sadly (and predictably), Ernst has his own ax to grind, as did the lead author of The Lancet?s study. Even The Lancet?s senior editor, Zoë Mullan, admits an inherent conflict on the part of the authors: ?Professor [Matthias] Egger [lead author of the meta-analysis] stated at the outset that he expected to find that homeopathy had no effect other than that of placebo.? In fact, Egger is widely known in Switzerland, where he lives, to frequently speak out against homeopathy.

Because Professor Egger and his team selectively chose which conventional medical trials were ?matched? to the 100-plus homeopathic clinical trials, Professor Egger?s bias is important to mention.

The Lancet?s own biases are long-standing and were further verified when its senior editor also asserted, ?His [Egger?s] ?conflict? was therefore transparent. We saw this as sufficient.? One must, therefore, understand that The Lancet allows bias when it is acknowledged to the editors (but not to the readers).

If readers want to know the wide body of 200-plus clinical trials primarily published in peer-reviewed journals, I encourage you to access my e-book, Homeopathic Family Medicine: Evidence Based Homeopathy. I update this e-book every three months, usually with five to 10 new studies.


Dana Ullman, MPH
Berkeley, Calif.
[email protected]

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 12/p. 11

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