Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Is Homeopathy Just an Expensive Placebo?
or maybe an inexpensive placebo?

Quite possibly homeopathy is no more effective for many complaints than a placebo. From Lancet, courtesy of J:

Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.

I realize that traditional physician/practitioners have a strong incentive to find that homeopathy is no (or not much) more effective than a placebo, but suppose they're right.... Suppose homeopathy is just a different form of placebo.

If that is the case, which is more efficient? Expensive placebo-like drugs or homeopathy?

Reminds me of the time BenS and I were in a large, discount drug store, and he asked the pharmacist, very loudly, "Where is your selection of placebos?"
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