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Therapies: Homeopathy

Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

This section should be read in conjunction with the entry on ‘Therapies, General’.

This discipline works on the principle of treating like with like, with the active ingredient diluted heavily in water. Despite its popularity, CAP understands that no scientific rationale exists for assuming that remedies lacking in pharmacologically active molecules can produce clinical effects and is unaware of robust evidence that proves it does.

Some homeopaths seem to be medically qualified and therefore regulated by the General Medical Council. Those who are medically qualified may make claims about treating conditions but only if it is clear that the efficacy is due to conventional treatments. Those practitioners who are not medically qualified should not make claims about the efficacy of their treatments and should not refer to serious medical conditions (Steve Scrutton Homeopathy, 18 September 2013; Society of Homeopaths, 3 July 2013; Dr Batras Positive Health Clinic (UK) Ltd, 27 April 2011).

Claims describing a therapy session such as “Homeopathy is a holistic approach” and “practitioners work closely with their clients” are likely to be acceptable, as are more general statements that some clients consider homeopathy to be comforting, calming or soothing. Claims describing the popularity of homeopathy are also likely to be acceptable so long as they can be supported by evidence (Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, 3 July 2013).

In July 2007 the General Media Panel considered the application of rule 12.3. It concluded that complementary and alternative therapy practitioners offering significant or invasive treatments should encourage consumers to take independent medical advice before committing themselves to the treatment.

Rule 12.20 requires homeopathic medicinal products to be registered in the UK. Marcoms should refer consumers to a doctor if their symptoms persist and should not make medicinal or therapeutic claims for unauthorised products.

See ‘Medicines: Homeopathic Medicines’.

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